Despite his speed, Sato was a dark horse to win the race. It was easy to count him out early. He would crash or make a mistake, and that would be it. The dropped wheel nut in the first pit stop would easily have been enough to send him to the back for the rest of the race. But a controlled, yet aggressive drive, brought Sato to the front and gave him the victory to prove his doubters wrong. With a good car, and an experienced team, Sato is finally getting the chance to prove his worth.
One thing American fans don’t really grasp is how much of a hero Sato is in Japan. There is a reason Honda keeps him around: the Japanese fans absolutely adore him. Just like our own Dai Yoshihara, Takuma Sato continues to help with the 2011 Fukushima Earthquake relief. Sato made sure to mention that a quarter million Japanese people STILL live in temporary housing, six full years after the earthquake struck. Sato ensures that his sponsors help donate to the cause of helping all of these people. He is a man well aware of his roots and well aware of the fans who have supported him for so long.
This was one of the wildest 500s we’ve seen in years. It had everything: From huge crashes, to four wide battles, mechanical intrigue, big name rookies and veterans, and a deserving dark horse winning in a shootout. Racing really doesn’t get much better than it did at the 2017 Indianapolis 500. It’s a great reminder, that there really is no place like Indy.