An Unbelievable Feeling

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Andretti Autosport’s Takuma Sato driving the No.26 Rouff Home Mortgages Honda described winning his first Indianapolis 500 as ‘an unbelievable feeling’. Sato become the first Japanese driver to win the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

The former Formula One driver led 17 laps of the race beating three time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves to the win and speaking following the race, Sato San commented by saying:

“Unbelievable feeling. I cannot thank this whole team (enough). Look at these guys. Fantastic. It was obviously a tough, tough race. But Helio really drives fair. I can trust him. I can really (trust him) coming from the outside. It was fantastic race. What a race. Hopefully the crowd enjoyed it. It’s beautiful. I dreamed of something like this since I was 12. I can’t thank everyone enough for their support.

Last year’s winner Alexander Rossi started the race from third place and finished in seventh leading a total of 23 laps but dropped out of the top five following a pre-longed pit stop. Speaking following the race he commented by saying:

Congratulations to Takuma. It’s a tough pill to swallow because we had, without a doubt, a car that was good enough to win today. We didn’t have the downforce to be that far back in the pack, nor the gearing, so we should’ve never been that far back in the first place. We didn’t have much fuel left in the car, and though it worked for us last year, we can’t rely on that.

Marco Andretti in the No.27 United Fiber & Data Honda started the race in eighth place and finished in eight following light contact with the wall on lap 81 and speaking following the race, he commented by saying:

Today just wasn’t our day. We were on our own setup island compared to the rest of the team. Something that was really good last Monday, we weren’t able to replicate it today. We had issues on the restart. The car wasn’t spooling up and then had the rear winglet break, so a lot of unfortunate things happened but I got through a lot of huge wrecks as well. It just wasn’t our day. We salvaged  an eight-place finish.

McLaren Honda Andretti driver Fernando Alonso started the race in fifth place and had a fantastic day running up front all day, leading 27 laps but was forced to retire from the race with an engine failure.

Speaking following the race, the double Formula One world champion stated:

Obviously disappointed not to finish the race because obviously every race you compete, you want to be at the checkered flag. Today was not possible. Anyway, was a great experience, the last two weeks. I came here basically to prove myself, to challenge myself. I know that I can be as quick as anyone in an F1 car. I didn’t know if I can be as quick as anyone in an IndyCar.

“It was nice to have this competitive feeling, even leading the Indy 500, you know. One lap you put on the lead there, it was already a nice feeling. I was passing, watching the tower, saw the 29 on top of it. I was thinking at that moment if Zak or someone from the team was taking a picture, because I want that picture at home.

“Thanks to IndyCar, amazing experience. Thanks to Indianapolis. Thanks to the fans. I felt at home. I’m not American, but I felt really proud to race here.

“Congratulations to Sato San, to Andretti. We have been sharing the last two weeks all the meetings in the morning, the meetings in the afternoon. Takuma was a lot of help, coming from F1. The last two laps I was on my knees really pushing Sato. Extremely happy for the final result.

Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda started the race from 10th place on the grid and was forced to retire from the race on lap 137 with an engine failure while challenging for the lead of the race.

Speaking following the race, Hunter Reay commented by saying:

Today was disappointing. You know the luck continues for us. It’s unfortunate. We had a rocket ship. We would’ve been right there at the end for the win, but what can you do? It’s just really bad luck, it’s unfortunate. This team has worked so hard. I had a fast car all month and coming from 10th just kind of took my time getting back up there up to the lead. Had a huge lead at one point. Between the lappers and everything I was really happy about that. And then the yellows came out and it’s just been a funky race that way, but you know I just feel for everyone that put so much work into this. DHL certainly deserved to win today… And the whole Andretti Autosport team and AutoNation they’ve been behind us. You just have to chalk it up to bad luck I guess. We have Detroit next week and have to get back to work.

Jack Harvey in the No.50 Michael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport started the race from 27th place but hit a piece of debris from another car and hit the wall and was forced to retire from the race and as a result was classified in 32nd place.

Speaking following the race, he commented by saying:

There was a whole bunch of debris on the track – I hit some of it and the car spun. It’s a super disappointing day because we worked so hard to get here so to have the day end like this is heartbreaking. Everyone is trying to slow down so quickly and trying to then dodge the debris. I was slowing down and trying to avoid everything so I don’t know what else I could have done at that point. This was still the best experience I’ve ever had. The Indianapolis 500 represents so much in the state of Indiana and to the racing world, but it just didn’t go the right way for us today. Thank you to my family and friends who supported me on this journey and especially to my partners who came onboard to make this race happen for me. Thank you SiriusXM, AutoNation, Gap Guard and so many others for making this dream come true for not only me but the entire Michael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport team.

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