“Sato, Rahal and Dave…What they had to say”

© [Andy Clary/ Spacesuit Media]

© [Andy Clary/ Spacesuit Media]

Indianapolis 500 Post-game

by Paul Gohde

After a race is over and the tire smoke has cleared, participants, especially the winning team, have time to talk a bit more at length about their day at the track. Here are some post-race thoughts on winning Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

Car owner Bobby Rahal: “Takuma, hey, two-time winner at the Indy 500. There’s not many of those guys out there. I don’t care what you say, in 2017 when he won, I don’t think anyone can say that he won by a fluke or anything. He drove around a Penske car and won the race…I’m pleased he won a 500 with us. His previous (winning) team was Andretti. I can’t imagine what they’re doing in Japan right now. He’s a rock star there…Having a restart at the end of the race (if it had been red flagged), who knows who has the advantage; second place guy, fourth place, third place guy? I think it’s silly to sit around and predict what might have happened. The reality is Takuma won. This isn’t the first 500 flagged under yellow. It was a mess out there (due to Rahal teammate Spencer Pigot’s crash).”

Car Owner and TV host David Letterman: “ If somebody had said to me this morning that at the end of the 500, Takuma Sato, Scott Dixon and Graham Rahal would be racing for the lead, I would have said, ‘Well, that’s a dream, that’s a dream come true’. I woke up and it turned out we won the Indianapolis 500…To be here, to be in the field, to be in the pits, to be part of this activity, anybody who grew up in Indianapolis, this is some DNA we’re talking about. We were always as kids looking outside in. Now inside enjoying it; winning the race, for me it’s a thrill…I said to my son last night, when he was going to bed, that when I see you tomorrow, we may be Indy 500 champs. He kind of went to bed and rolled his eyes. So now I have a little leverage.”

Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato: “Indy 500? You never know until the last lap, the last corner. When you feel the acceleration coming out of turn four, that’s the time you realize you’re going to go for the win. Today, of course, it was a different circumstance. Once again, the guy who listens to my radio make sure the oil temperature, the oil pressure, gearbox temperature was okay. I just telling myself to calm down, do what I have to do. I know fans wanted to see the checkered flag battling for the win. Something happen. I feel glad my teammate Spencer (Pigot) got out of the car. Looked like a really bad angle. I was really worried about it. Once again improvements by INDYCAR did a phenomenal job. Aeroscreen are now so much protection” …And what did he feel about no spectators in the stands? “It’s tough on everyone, not only us. Yes, if you go through Gasoline Alley each morning, there’s no energy in it. It was a little sad, but we all understood. Like at driver introductions, go to the walk, with 300,000 people. The energy, the power, the voice, that’s amazing which we don’t nave today. When you’re driving, too, obviously we’re concentrating on the track, but we see the grandstands all the time. Every driver, every single lap, every corner we watch a flag because of wind direction. Every time we watch the flag (we see) just the gray grandstand. That’s a little sad…It’s the best racing when you turn 40. I don’t know why. Look, Helio (Castroneves) is still on his game. Tony (Kanaan) is still on his game. I think this sport, just the name of the sport says it. Olympic athletes have to be premium ages, 20’s, 30’s, but in motor racing, as long as you’re fit enough to drive the car, why not? My boss (Bobby Rahal) was driving in his 50’s. Mario was driving at that age, too. I know the car is different today, but 43 (years old) is just a number.”

And so is two wins at the Indianapolis 500!



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