Takuma Sato wins 2017 Indianapolis 500, late failure for Alonso

Takuma Sato claimed a dramatic victory in the 2017 Indianapolis 500, while Fernando Alonso retired with an apparent engine problem while in contention to win with 21 laps remaining

Takuma Sato wins 2017 Indianapolis 500, late failure for Alonso

IndyCar's premier race boiled down to an 11-lap dash to the flag after an incident-packed event that featured 11 caution periods.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Max Chilton, who started 15th, had moved into contention among the leaders by staying out when the third caution of the race was thrown on lap 81 of the 200 because of debris shed by Marco Andretti's car.

Chilton then got on level terms with the leaders strategically when he made a green-flag pitstop at the end of lap 166, moments before team-mate Charlie Kimball's Honda engine let go.

At the final restart, which followed a caution for a five-car crash triggered by Oriol Servia spinning into James Davison after being squeezed by the Dale Coyne Racing driver and led to Will Power, James Hinchcliffe and Josef Newgarden getting caught up in a chain reaction, Chilton led from Sato, Ed Jones and Helio Castroneves.

Castroneves was the man on the move, going around the outside of Jones at Turn 3 on lap 190 and then, with nine laps remaining, performing another high pass on Sato to take second.

With seven laps to go, Castroneves went around the outside of Chilton at Turn 3 to take the lead and looked set to claim a record-equalling fourth Indy 500 win.

But Sato followed Castroneves past Chilton on the main straight to run second and closed on the leading Penske driver.

The key move happened with five laps remaining, as Sato drafted past on the main straight to take a lead he would never lose despite Castroneves having a look around the outside of Turn 1 on the penultimate lap.

After that, Sato was clear and took victory in his Andretti Autosport Dallara-Honda by 0.2011 seconds from Castroneves.

The result made Sato the first Japanese driver to win the Indy 500.

Dale Coyne Racing rookie Ed Jones was third after passing Chilton late on, with Tony Kanaan, who led the race early on, fifth ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya.

Several of Sato's Andretti Autosport team-mates were also strong victory contenders, with Alonso having just taken seventh place from Kanaan when his Honda engine let him down as he completed his 179th lap.

Alonso had several stints in the lead of the race, and at the time of the failure was working his way through several drivers who had moved ahead thanks to strategy and looked a serious threat to win.

Alexander Rossi had also spent much of the race up front, only to drop to the back of the cars on the lead lap when he had a slow pitstop under the caution shortly before three-quarters distance as a result of a struggle to connect the refuelling hose.

The other leading Andretti car of Ryan Hunter-Reay was also looking a strong victory contender when he suffered an engine failure, which triggered the caution under which Rossi pitted.

Scott Dixon led early on but lost ground towards the end of the first stint, complaining of his car getting loose.

His race came to a spectacular end on lap 53 when Jay Howard crashed his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports machine in Turn 3 just after being lapped by Hunter-Reay.

Dixon went low to avoid him in anticipation of Howard staying on the wall, only for the crashed car to drift down the track in front of him.

This launched Dixon into a dramatic airborne accident, hitting the fence on the inside of the track hard and ripping the rear end from the monocoque - narrowly avoiding landing on Castroneves's car in the process.

Dixon and Howard were uninjured in the accident, but the race was red-flagged to allow barrier repairs after the Ganassi car ripped a hole in the fence.

Ed Carpenter and JR Hildebrand also ran strongly, with Carpenter's race coming unstuck after he half-spun into the side of Mikhail Aleshin at a restart. He ended up 11th. Hildebrand was delayed by a late penalty for passing under caution.

The race was punctuated by several other crashes, including one for 1996 Indy 500 winner Buddy Lazier, who was taken to hospital complaining of chest discomfort.

RESULTS - 200 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Takuma Sato Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 3h13m03.3584s
2 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 0.2011s
3 Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 0.5278s
4 Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1.1365s
5 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1.6472s
6 Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1.7154s
7 Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 2.4222s
8 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 2.5410s
9 Gabby Chaves Harding Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 3.8311s
10 Carlos Munoz A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 4.5319s
11 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 4.6228s
12 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 5.0310s
13 Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 5.6993s
14 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 6.0513s
15 Sebastian Saavedra Juncos Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 12.6668s
16 J.R. Hildebrand Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 33.2191s
17 Pippa Mann Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1 Lap
18 Spencer Pigot Juncos Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 6 Laps
19 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 14 Laps
20 James Davison Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda Contact
21 Oriol Servia Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda Contact
22 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda Contact
23 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet Contact
24 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda-Andretti Dallara/Honda Mechanical
25 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda Mechanical
26 Zach Veach A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet Mechanical
27 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda Mechanical
28 Sage Karam Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Chevrolet Mechanical
29 Buddy Lazier Lazier Racing Dallara/Chevrolet Contact
30 Conor Daly A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet Contact
31 Jack Harvey Michael Shank Racing Dallara/Honda Contact
32 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda Contact
33 Jay Howard Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda Contact
- Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda Withdrawn

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Helio Castroneves 245
2 Simon Pagenaud 234
3 Takuma Sato 234
4 Scott Dixon 234
5 Alexander Rossi 190
6 Tony Kanaan 188
7 Will Power 186
8 Josef Newgarden 186
9 Ed Jones 185
10 James Hinchcliffe 170
11 Max Chilton 170
12 Ryan Hunter-Reay 152
13 J.R. Hildebrand 148
14 Marco Andretti 147
15 Graham Rahal 144
16 Sebastien Bourdais 136
17 Mikhail Aleshin 134
18 Carlos Munoz 133
19 Ed Carpenter 105
20 Charlie Kimball 99
21 Spencer Pigot 95
22 Juan Pablo Montoya 93
23 Conor Daly 88
24 Gabby Chaves 53
25 Fernando Alonso 47
26 Oriol Servia 40
27 Sebastian Saavedra 33
28 Pippa Mann 32
29 Jay Howard 24
30 Zach Veach 23
31 Sage Karam 23
32 James Davison 21
33 Jack Harvey 17
34 Buddy Lazier 14


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