Takuma Sato wins Indy 500 2017 – as it happened

Last modified: 08: 09 PM GMT+0

Takuma Sato clinched his first Indy 500 victory ahead of Hélio Castroneves while Fernando Alonso’s impressive race ended with engine failure

So Takuma Sato wins the Indy 500, while Fernando Alonso’s hopes were dashed by engine failure. A fine race too by young British drivers with Ed Jones finishing third and Max Chilton fourth. That’s all from me, thanks for reading.


Takuma Sato speaks! “Unbelievable feeling. It was a tough tough race. Hopefully the crowd enjoyed it. I can’t thank enough for everyone’s support.”

It was a former team-mate of Jenson Button who won this race, but not the one many expected. Sato is a worthy winner though. He jumps on top of his car and points to the sky with a big grin. He takes a swig of milk as is traditional, and then covers himself with the stuff. That cap is going to smell just awful later.

What a race by Sato. Around halfway his team dropped a wheel nut during a tyre change which sent him most of the way back down the field, but he battled his way back into contention and sealed it in style with Castroneves on his back.

Three-time winner Hélio Castroneves finishes second with British 22-year-old Ed Jones, I believe, clinching third.

Takuma Sato wins the 101st Indy 500!

Sato holds off Castroneves one last time and wins the Indy 500, sparking bedlam in the pit lane. He screams nonsensically into his team radio before shouting: “Awesome!”

Lap 199/200 Takuma Sato is on the verge of winning his first Indy 500, with one lap to go!

Lap 198/200 Ed Jones closes on Castroneves and that distraction could help Sato get clear...


Lap 197/200 Sato is around Hélio Castroneves! But the latter is perfectly positioned in his slipstream. Can he make one last move?

Lap 195/200 Sato completes the deal on Chilton, who is then passed by Ed Jones, and it will be Sato and Castroneves surely to battle for the win. The Brazilian leads with five to go.

Lap 194/200 Finally Castroneves makes it stick around the outside of turn two and he leads the Indy 500! Chilton has Sato on his tail...

Lap 192/200 Chilton is being hounded by Castroneves, three times a champions here, but the British driver keeps rebuffing the attacks.

Lap 191/200 Castroneves brings huge cheers from the crowd as he takes Sato around the outside!

Green flag

Lap 190/200 Hélio Castroneves immediately jumps rookie Ed Jones and he’s up to third! He has Takuma Sato ahead and Max Chilton still leads this race. Sato tries around the outside of the Briton but Chilton holds his line and keeps first place!

Fernando Alonso speaks! “I felt the noise, the engine friction, I backed off and saw the smoke. It’s a shame, I thought we deserved to finish the race and experience the end. Who knows which position we could be. I mean the whole day has been a very nice experience. The racing was fun, it was nice. I think the performance was good, we were leading the race. It was a nice surprise to be with the best in oval racing and be competitive. Obviously I feel competitive, If I come back, it will be easier the second time. One of the best experiences of my career.”

This next restart is about is big as it gets for Max Chilton, Takuma Sato, Ed Jones, and the other drivers on the front.

It’s some clean up job and it will be several minutes before we are back racing the conclusion of this Indy 500. It seems those five drivers listed below were the only ones involved – none seem to be seriously injured in the incident but their races are all over.

A real mess in turns one and two. It started from contact between Oriol Servia and James Davison which sent both spinning along the wall, and they took out Josef Newgarden, James Hinchcliffe and Will Power.


Red flag

A huge crash on the restart! Several drivers involved and the race is suspended for the moment.

Green flag

Message to Max Chilton over radio: “Go as fast as you can, there’s 17 laps to go, it’s the Indy 500.”


Fernando Alonso’s day coming to an end:

REPLAY: @alo_oficial has smoke coming from the 29 car #Indy500 #INDYCAR https://t.co/1I2Xejdij6 pic.twitter.com/mIuA4rMG38

— IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) May 28, 2017

Lap 181/200 Will Alonso be back for another shot? For now Max Chilton leads the way, under caution, with Sato and three-time winner Castroneves in close attendance.

That is just about the story of Alonso’s last few years in F1, being constantly let down by his engine, and the problem comes back to haunt him again. He had the fastest average lap time of the race up to this point and has put on a brilliant display, but he would have desperately wanted to finish. He takes a standing ovation from the crowd around him and waves back.

Fernando Alonso retires!

Yellow flags as Fernando Alonso’s engine blows. “I’m so sorry man,” he’s told over team radio.

Lap 178/200 Max Chilton – yes, the British former F1 driver who only watched an IndyCar race for the first time last year – is leading this race. Behind him Takuma Sato takes Castroneves bravely and now he has Chilton in his sights...

Lap 175/200 Fernando Alonso must make his move very soon if he is to have a chance of winning this race – and he takes Kanaan round the outside of turn one brilliantly! Takuma Sato meanwhile has hauled himself right back into the mix and is on the back of Castroneves.

Green flag

Lap 173/200 It’s all changing. Here’s the top ten:

  1. Chilton
  2. Castroneves
  3. Jones
  4. Sato
  5. Servia
  6. Hildebrand
  7. Kanaan
  8. Alonso
  9. Davison
  10. Pagenaud

The yellow flag was for the retirement of Charlie Kimball, with the American’s Honda engine conking out. His car has been removed and they should be back racing shortly.

Lap 170/200 It seems like just about everyone out there is going to try and go to the end from here. A top ten update coming shortly. Still under caution, for now.

Yellow flag

Lap 168/200 Another brief stop and a flurry of pit stops to come with it. Davison, Hildebrand, Alonso, Sato and Castroneves are all in there and the latter is the man to come out with the lead!


“Decided to tune in and follow the last quarter of the race,” emails Rob Marriott. “Max Chilton?!?!?!” Not the F1 name you were expecting.

Lap 165/200 British former F1 driver Max Chilton continues to lead this race with 35 laps to go. He comes in for what he will hope is his final stop – it will be a big ask.

Lap 160/200 The leaders like Max Chilton and James Davison are going to need an awful lot of yellow flag action from here on in if they are to reach the finish with only one more stop. The highest placed driver who made a stop under the most recent yellow flag is Hélio Castroneves, which makes him a very marginal favourite right now. Fernando Alonso skips around Kanaan with the apparent ease of a veteran of the oval circuit, and he is only three spots behind Castroneves.

Green flag

Lap 155/200 They’re back racing and that series of cautions and pit stops has shuffled the pack.

  1. Chilton
  2. Kimball
  3. Davison
  4. Castroneves
  5. Hildebrand
  6. Jones
  7. Servia
  8. Kanaan
  9. Alonso
  10. Sato

The cars continues to snake around the circuit under caution. Alexander Rossi is told over radio that he will be going to the end with only one more stop.

An update on Buddy Lazier, who slammed into the wall around 15 laps ago:

MEDICAL UPDATE: @Buddy500Lazier is being transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital due to complaints of chest discomfort #Indy500 #INDYCAR

— IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) May 28, 2017

Several drivers are in fuel-save mode and elect not to pit. It leaves Max Chilton leading the race, whihc is still under yellow. Meanwhile last year’s rookie winner Alexander Rossi has a disastrous stop, almost exiting the box with the fuel pump still attached. It costs him several seconds.

Yellow flag

The race is back under caution while Hunter-Reay’s Andretti is lifted away. Fernando Alonso, the race leader, takes the opportunity to pit and so do most of the rest.

Lap 140/200 Ryan Hunter-Reay’s Honda engine puffs out smoke and his race is over! He pulls over and the 2014 winner, who was so well placed throughout the day, is done.

Green flag

Lap 135/200 Back on the gas and Ryan Hunter-Reay powers past Fernando Alonso to take the lead. But Alonso hits back a lap later! Nicely done, too, up the inside of turn one.

Yellow flag

Yet another caution, this time for a piece of debris in the middle of the track. It shouldn’t be a long stop, this.

Green flag

Lap 130/200 Ryan Hunter-Reay leads them down to turn one and we are back racing. Alonso immediately takes the opportunity to jump up to second – and he’s soon round Hunter-Reay for the lead.

“The incomparable motorsports photographer, Mark J. Rebilas, has a nice sequence of still images of the Scott Dixon crash just up now on the USA Today Sports Images gallery. You should use one,” recommends Dan Hamilton on email. We are doing just that. “And any updates forthcoming about another photographer, the one seated just behind the catch fence that was torn apart by Dixon’s car? Last we saw he was waving from a stretcher.” He was unhurt in the incident and was spotted on his phone on the stretcher too, which was used as an unnecessary precaution.

The remaining racers are cruising behind the safety car, weaving in between workers clearing up the track. Several are taking the opportunity to pit.

Yellow flag

Buddy Lazier, the 1996 winner of this race, skids into the wall coming out of turn two. It’s a big impact with debris scattering across the track and that will pause racing.


Lap 120/200 Hunter-Reay has made huge ground from that series of pit stops, moving more than three seconds clear of Rossi and his nearest chasers. But with no one to draft, he is quickly being reeled in. Alonso is back into third place – and soon takes second from Rossi – with Castroneves fourth.

Lap 115/200 A flurry of stops up front now, including Fernando Alonso whose visit to the pits is few seconds longer than his closest rivals.

Lap 110/200 A lull as things settle into a rhythm. Rossi comes into the pits for a stop and it’s a slightly scrappy one.

Lap 105/200 It’s still closely bunched at the front with only three seconds separating the top ten. Hunter-Reay, the 2014 winner from Texas, is the new leader.

Lap 100/200 Alonso does eventually find a way past a stubborn Chilton. Rossi and Hunter-Reay continue to swap positions and while they do so Hélio Castroneves takes the opportunity to swoop through and into the lead. The top ten after the second quarter:

  1. Castroneves
  2. Hunter-Reay
  3. Rossi
  4. Alonso
  5. Kanaan
  6. Rahal
  7. Newgarden
  8. Chilton
  9. Power
  10. Montoya

Lap 95/200 Fernando Alonso is well positioned in fourth, biding his time in the slipstream of Max Chilton. He attempts a pass on turn one but can’t make it stick with the Briton digging in and refusing to budge. Up ahead, Rossi slides by Hunter-Reay to retake the race lead from his team-mate. Bad news for Takuma Sato however, whose team lost a wheel nut during a pit stop leaving him back in 17th. Still plenty of time for the Japanese driver to return to the business end.

Green flag

Lap 90/200 A familiar face to British F1 fans now leads the race following the resumption – Max Chilton. He soon moves aside however for Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Rossi goes through too in second. There’s a gap of more than a second between the leading two, the biggest gap between 1-2 in the race so far.

Yellow flag

Lap 85/200 There are several Andretti cars up front including Rossi and Hunter-Reay. The former allows the latter through to lead the race and team radio reveals they are hoping to find out more about the how his car performs in the lead – all useful information later on. But Andretti aren’t going to learn a whole lot this time because a piece of Takuma Sato’s car flies off and bounces down the circuit causing another yellow flag. Cue a raft of pit stops.

Lap 80/200 Ryan Hunter-Reay passes Sato, as does Alonso, and a moment later Tony Kanaan completes a bold move down the inside to leave Sato back in sixth.

Green flag

Alexander Rossi catches out Takuma Sato on the restart and steams around the outside to lead the race once again.


Conor Daly speaks after crashing out: “I don’t know what happened. Everyone was spread out down the back straight so I had to pop wide. You never want to be that wide on turn three and I just lost it.”

Still a long way to go as they near another return to racing – they remain running around the circuit under caution. Sato leads the long snake behind the safety car with Alonso well placed in fourth.

Another is out of this race – it’s British rookie Jack Harvey, whose right-rear caught some debris from Daly’s crash and spun to a stop.

Yellow flag

Lap 65/100 Conor Daly runs wide after touching wheels with Charlie Kimball and he can’t regain control. He hits the outside wall to bring his race to an end, and that was an unnecessary risk to take.

Green flag

They are back under way with a rolling restart. Fernando Alonso leads them down to turn one with Alexander Rossi on his tail. It’s a tight bunch in the middle of the pack but they navigate the scramble into the first few corners safely. Tony Kanaan jumps Ed Carpenter to climb up to sixth. Up ahead Alonso has lost ground and is struggling a little. He has been passed by Hunter-Reay, Sato and the new race leader, Rossi.


This race is about to get back under way. Here’s the incident that stopped it:

REPLAY: @scottdixon9 checked, cleared, and released after this turn 1 incident during the #Indy500 at @IMS. #INDYCAR pic.twitter.com/gaD950M27F

— IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) May 28, 2017

Scott Dixon speaks: “I’m OK, I was just a little beaten up there. I’m bummed for the team, man. We were starting to make some progress, we were a little light on the downforce. I’m just glad everybody is OK.” And on the crash itself: “It’s just a wild ride and you have to hold on and believe in the safety progress that we’ve made over the last many years.”


Scott Dixon has also been given the all-clear by medical staff.

The remaining cars in this race are lined up in the pit lane ready for the restart, but first several people are busy at work putting a piece of wire fencing back into place.

Jay Howard has been given the all-clear by medics. Another replay of the incident shows two breathtaking near-misses. The first was a man standing trackside who managed to duck out of the way of Dixon’s car which slammed into the barrier next to him, and the second was Hélio Castroneves skilfully weaving under Dixon’s airborne car at 200mph.

A thoroughly miffed Howard blames Ryan Hunter-Reay for the incident, who “pushed me out on to the marbles” as Howard tried to let the faster car through. “I’m fine. I’m really glad Scott’s OK. It sucks,” adds the British driver.


Scott Dixon’s crushed car is lifted on to the back of a truck. It’s fair to say he was both very unlucky to be in Howard’s path there but also incredibly lucky to have walked away from the crash. The delay will be several minutes, before the drivers leave the pit stop for a warm-up lap and a rolling restart in position.

Red flag

Lap 55/200 The first crash of this race, and it’s a big one. Scott Dixon’s Chip Ganassi has been sawn in half in an incident which has also ended Briton Jay Howard’s race. The replay shows Howard lose the racing line and slide up the track and into the top wall. He deflects back across the track, just missing Kanaan but wiping out Dixon whose car goes flying through the air before landing and spinning with flames bursting from underneath before coming to a stop. Both of them are done in this race but fortunately both drivers climb out of their cars and walk away, seemingly unhurt.

Lap 50/200 After slipping back at the start, Fernando Alonso has made impressive progress and a smooth pit stop to be up amongst the leaders, and he’s now on the front again with Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato just behind him. All three are driving Andretti cars with Honda engines. Behind them, three-time winner Hélio Costroneves has just worked his way into the top ten for the first time. Here are the leaders after the first quarter:

  1. Rossi
  2. Alonso
  3. Sato
  4. Carpenter
  5. Kanaan
  6. Dixon
  7. Hunter-Reay
  8. Hildebrand
  9. Dixon
  10. Castroneves


Lap 45/500 Rossi re-passes his team-mate Alonso for the lead. They will likely try to share the load here and swap positions, because the car on the front tends to burn more fuel than the car in tow. This has been pretty much the perfect start for Fernando Alonso.

Lap 40/200 Juan Pablo Montoya momentarily had the lead having lasted longer than anyone before his first stop to hint at potential for a good race for the Colombian. But his stop is terrible, stalling and sitting for a 17sec stop. Meanwhile Alonso lines up Rossi into turn one and makes the move stick – he leads the Indy 500!

Here’s Alonso gliding by Scott Dixon to move up to fourth, a few laps before his stop:

REPLAY: @alo_oficial gets around @ScottDixon9. #INDYCAR #Indy500 https://t.co/1I2XeiVHry pic.twitter.com/0gLWyP1VXS

— IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) May 28, 2017

Lap 30/200 Pit stop time. Kanaan comes in for a 7.9sec change, handing Alexander Rossi the lead – but it’s barely a lap until he too comes in. Alonso’s first pit stop in an Indy car is a smooth one.

Lap 25/200 Will Power slips back another place to 11th, while last year’s rookie winner Alexander Rossi gets around the outside of Scott Dixon on turn one to move second behind Tony Kanaan. Fernando Alonso meanwhile makes two fine passes to climb to fourth. It’s been a good start by the F1 driver.

Lap 15/200 Not much in the way of aggression at this early stage. Here’s the top 10:

  1. Kanaan
  2. Dixon
  3. Carpenter
  4. Hildebrand
  5. Rossi
  6. Andretti
  7. Alonso
  8. Sato
  9. Hunter-Reay
  10. Power


Lap 10/200 Scott Dixon’s Chip Ganassi team-mate Tony Kanaan makes a couple of moves to take over the lead. These two can now start working together to establish some early control. It’s all been pretty calm, thus far. Alonso looks eager and he skips around the outside of Will Power to move eighth.


Lap 5/200 Alonso dropped back to ninth, not surprising as he has not made a rolling start to a race since his karting days. But he seems to have settled in and remains in that spot.

Lap 1/200 The opening corners are negotiated safely with Scott Dixon holding off Ed Carpenter on the front. Fernando Alonso has slipped back a couple of places.

Green flags!

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal and Boston bombing victim Jeff Bauman have the honour of waving the green flags ... and they’re away!

A final pre-race line from Alonso this week: When was he last this uncertain heading into the start of a race? “Probably Formula 3000 where you have the same cars, more or less. While in Formula 1, you always have your strengths and your weaknesses, you know what is the best place to attack, what is your moment of the race. Maybe it’s the start, maybe it’s later in the race, maybe it’s the tyre degradation, but you always have different performance compared to the teams around you.

“Here, more or less, the performance is the same so that creates some good prospects for everyone on the grid and makes the fans happy and excited about the race. So that’s the biggest thing and that last time probably was 16 or 17 years ago.”

The parade lap is under way in front of packed stands and banks either side of this monstrous oval track. A reminder of the grid, headed by four-time IndyCar champion and the 2008 Indy 500 winner, Scott Dixon:

The grid

Row 1 Scott Dixon, Ed Carpenter, Alexander Rossi
Row 2 Takuma Sato, Fernando Alonso, JR Hildebrand
Row 3 Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti, Will Power
Row 4 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ed Jones, Oriol Servia
Row 5 Mikhail Aleshin, Graham Rahal, Max Chilton
Row 6 Charlie Kimball, James Hinchcliffe, Juan Pablo Montoya
Row 7 Helio Castroneves, Jay Howard, Sage Karam
Row 8 Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Carlos Munoz
Row 9 Gabby Chaves, Conor Daly, Jack Harvey
Row 10 Pippa Mann, Simon Pigot, Buddy Lazier
Row 11 Sebastian Saavedra, Zach Veach, James Davison

Jenson Button is on BT Sport with a video message for Fernando Alonso. He wishes his former team-mate luck and gives some pretty simple advice: stay safe and win.

Anthem time. Vice-president Mike Pence is among the circa 250,000 spectators.

.@BebeRexha sings a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem before the #101stRunning of the #Indy500. pic.twitter.com/LH7CEt7Lrs

— Ind. Motor Speedway (@IMS) May 28, 2017

Alonso is not the only rookie on the grid. For a bit of pre-race reading, here’s Giles Richards on 24-year-old Briton Jack Harvey, who said of the Indy 500 in the buildup: “What I didn’t understand was what it represented to people in America, the history, the prestige. It gave me goosebumps, it’s extra special. When they say it’s the greatest spectacle in racing I feel like it is. If you win the race, you’re part of history; its significance is contagious. You want to be part of it.”

The eyes of the motor racing world will be on this chap when racing gets under way in around 15 minutes...

Fernando Alonso straps in.
Fernando Alonso straps in. Photograph: Chris Graythen/Getty Images


Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this puts it's size into perspective. The worlds largest sporting arena, a 2.5 mile oval we lap in 40 seconds. pic.twitter.com/0lBuf1EtyJ

— M A X Chilton (@maxchilton) May 25, 2017


It’s the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil! Hereby known as the Indy 500. Participating in one of motor sport’s iconic races is one of Formula One’s great champions, Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard hasn’t had a whole lot of fun over the past couple of years, chugging to a halt at various F1 circuits around the world in his McLaren Honda. Faced with the familiar scrap for minor points in Monaco this weekend or taking on an entirely new challenge, Alonso elected the latter, and here he is.

He has made a promising start to life in an Indy car, qualifying fifth for the race and generally carrying the aura of a man with little to lose and everything to gain, and why not: he has the opportunity to join an elite list of F1 champions to have tasted Indy 500 success and an even smaller group who have done it as a rookie.

“I don’t have a plan for the beginning of the race,” said Alonso this week. “In Formula One we are used to playing all of our cards in the first couple of corners because the positions are defined after that, but here it is very different. But I cannot say that I will play it safe at the beginning of the race because everyone else will take advantage of that. So I need to keep very open to what is going to happen and if I can run in a comfortable group, I will be happy.”

Alonso’s buildup has drawn huge attention in America but his has been relatively uneventful in comparison to some of his rivals. The week started with two former winners, Scotland’s Dario Franchitti and New Zealander Scott Dixon, being robbed at gunpoint at a Taco Bell drive-thru a mile from the circuit, hours after the latter had secured pole position for the race. Two teenagers were arrested and no one was hurt in the incident.

Then the French driver Sébastien Bourdais, a four-time Champ Car champion and former F1 driver, was taken to hospital after a fiery crash during practice when he lost control on turn 2. He was released on Wednesday following surgery on a fractured pelvis, and has been replaced in the race by the Australian James Davison.

I walked out of the hospital today. On to rehab now! pic.twitter.com/bwTOsBNDaD

— Sébastien Bourdais (@BourdaisOnTrack) May 24, 2017

There are plenty of names on the start list well known by F1 fans, including two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, Britain’s Max Chilton who finished 15th last year, and Takuma Sato, best known in Indy 500 folklore for this wild manoeuvre later described by the optimistic Japanese driver as “a good side-by-side battle”:

The teams’ focus has largely been on race setup rather than qualifying and it’s true that most recent success has come from the middle of the pack, with the past five winners starting from lower than 10th on the grid. But almost half of all Indy 500 victories have come from a car on the front row. Fernando Alonso secured fifth in his Andretti one place behind Sato while last year’s rookie champion, the American Alexander Rossi, starts third.

The grid

Row 1 Scott Dixon, Ed Carpenter, Alexander Rossi
Row 2 Takuma Sato, Fernando Alonso, JR Hildebrand
Row 3 Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti, Will Power
Row 4 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ed Jones, Oriol Servia
Row 5 Mikhail Aleshin, Graham Rahal, Max Chilton
Row 6 Charlie Kimball, James Hinchcliffe, Juan Pablo Montoya
Row 7 Helio Castroneves, Jay Howard, Sage Karam
Row 8 Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Carlos Munoz
Row 9 Gabby Chaves, Conor Daly, Jack Harvey
Row 10 Pippa Mann, Simon Pigot, Buddy Lazier
Row 11 Sebastian Saavedra, Zach Veach, James Davison

Race start 5.19pm BST, 12.19pm Indy time



Lawrence Ostlere

The GuardianTramp

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