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Memorializing The Better Side Of Our Nature

Takuma Sato poses with the Borg-Warner Trophy after winning the Indianapolis 500. [Russ Lake Photo]

Takuma Sato poses with the Borg-Warner Trophy after winning the Indianapolis 500.  [Russ Lake Photo]

 

by Allan Brewer

On Sunday afternoon a truly deserving, long-respected IndyCar driver won the 101st Indianapolis 500-mile race.

Shortly afterwards, a reporter for the Denver Post tweeted this: “Nothing specifically personal, but I am very uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend.” The tweet has since been removed.

The reporter later released a long letter outlining his reasons for making the remarks, but the only words that matter are “I apologize to Takumo Sato.” Today the writer was dismissed from the newspaper. “We apologize for the disrespectful and unacceptable tweet that was sent by one of our reporters,” said the Denver Post.

Why on earth would a reporter for a major newspaper publicly go on record with such a careless and disrespectful remark about someone who has just fulfilled a lifelong dream?

Without wrapping ourselves too tightly in the flag, let’s remember that Japanese-Americans have fought and died for the United States Armed Forces with the same selfless courage and patriotism as other men and women.

Roger Yasakawa, an American citizen, drove in the Indy 500 on several occasions. Hideki Mutoh, a Japanese citizen, drove as well. Both men had their own measure of success in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Both men demonstrated the same fearless command of speed and the risks of racing as every other competitor in the 33-car field.

No one better represents the spirit of American competitiveness at Indianapolis than Takumo Sato. In 2012 he attempted a dare-devil pass on the outside of Dario Franchitti in Turn 1 that put him into the wall. In 2017 he executed the same maneuver perfectly to push past Helio Castroneves and win the race.

Sato just spent the better part of four years driving for AJ Foyt and told a tale of his assimilation into A.J.’s world and A.J. into his own. On Sunday he had these words about Indianapolis: “”I love this place and not just because of winning,” said Sato, who was on the F1 podium here in 2004. “The fans are so appreciative and I respect them.”

When we come together to celebrate the men and women who have and still do protect and serve America we don’t come together to celebrate just a few specific kinds of veterans. We celebrate ALL of the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, past and present, black and white, regardless of religion or creed.

It’s not any different when we celebrate our heroes at the Brickyard.

 

 

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Allan Brewer covers IndyCar and other racing series for RacingNation.com. Allan is a fixture at the race track, armed with keyboard and camera, eager to take you inside open-wheel sport where the news is being made. He comes to RacingNation.com with multiple professional awards from the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AWWRBA). He began his motorsports writing career at FastMachines.com; and solely published IndyProRacer.com and A1GP.com, two award-winning websites for open-wheel racing’s junior leagues, prior to becoming IndyCar correspondent at Motorsport.com. He has also covered Formula 1, NASCAR, Formula E, the Indy Lights Series and its predecessor Indy Pro Series, NHRA events and major auto shows. His major interest outside of competition is automotive technology and its application to the cars we drive every day on the public highways.