Monday, May 29, 2017

TAKU Outwits, Outlasts, Outplays To Win INDY500

TAKU Outwits, Outlasts, Outplays To Win INDY500 - His Second Verizon IndyCar Race

Andretti Autosport may actually be doing more for the Andretti name in racing than any single family-named driver can do. Talk about a legacy!

After winning the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, Andretti Autosport follows up this performance with Honda and former F1 driver Takuma Sato.

From L to R - JR Hildebrand, Fernando Alonso, and Takuma Sato in driver introductions for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in front of instantly recognizable The Panasonic Pagoda. Takuma Sato, who was also sponsored by Panasonic, won one other race in addition to this great event that is starting its second millennia of history ... as stated by writer, photographer, and custom guitar creator Timo Hulett - the other race has often been described as "the INDY500 of street courses" and that race is the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach. If one is going to win just two races in an IndyCar career, why not make them the two most famed race events in American motor culture! Image Credit: Joe Skibinski via IndyCar (2017)

This excerpted and edited from Andretti Autosport -

Tokyo-native Captures Second Career IndyCar Win at Indianapolis 500

Japanese driver Takuma Sato scored his second career Verizon IndyCar Series victory today when he saw the double checkers wave through the Indiana sky. 

Marking his 123nd career IndyCar start, the 40-year-old began today’s Indianapolis 500 from the 4th position and battled through 200 laps before driving his No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda to victory lane. Today’s win is Sato’s first with Andretti Autosport after joining the team for the 2017 season. Sato earned his first victory on the Streets of Long Beach, Calif., in 2013

This [win] is the 56th Verizon IndyCar Series victory for Andretti Autosport. Since 2003, Andretti Autosport has scored four series titles (‘04/Kanaan, ‘05/Wheldon, ‘07/Franchitti and ‘12/Hunter-Reay) and five Indianapolis 500 wins (‘05/Wheldon, ‘07/Franchitti, ‘14/Hunter-Reay, ‘16/Rossi, and '17/Sato). 
It wasn't cool enough to have a California born and raised American rookie with European F1 racing experience win the "Greatest Spectacle In Racing" virtually his first time in the cockpit of an IndyCar Dallara ... let's follow this up with fielding enough cars to own the field.
Andretti Autosport has four full-time entries in the Verizon IndyCar Series, with Soto, [last year's winner] Alexander Rossi  (No. 98 NAPA AUTO PARTS / Curb  Honda), [third-generation Andretti] Marco Andretti (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda) and [2012 winner] Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda) and two  Indy 500-only drivers, [2-time F1 Champion] Fernando Alonso (No. 29 McLaren Honda Andretti) and [former member of McLaren-Honda's young driver program] Jack Harvey (No. 50 Michael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport Honda).
[ht: Andretti Autosport]

Andretti Autosport's Suvivor program with four of the six cars fielded pictured here at IMS. Eventual winner Takuma Sato, followed closely by  eventual P8 finisher Marco Andretti. In the background are the two early strong running cars of two-time F1 Champion and INDY rookie Fernando Alonso and IndyCar Champion and past INDY500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay - both cars expired with blown engines. Before Fernando Alonso's Honda engine blew up, he held the fastest average lap times of all drivers on the track. Image Credit: Mike Harding via IndyCar (2017)

Let's be clear, "The Greatest Spectacle In Racing" is the motorsports equivalent to the American television's reality series Survivor. This long-running and popular television episode contest pits people with all different backgrounds and experience out in a remote location and have them fend for themselves for food and compete for immunity in made-up games of skill and endurance.

Outwit, Outlast, Outplay!

This last season of Survivor that just finished was titled "Game Changers," and with the fact that Andretti Autosport has won the INDY500 three out of the last four years, one may say that this Verizon IndyCar Series team, when it comes to the Indianapolis 500, are the game changers.

Andretti Autosport has found a way to stack the deck, or flood the zone ... as it were, in its focus to create interest and plan to win the Indianapolis 500. As 54 year-old team-owner, and second-generation Andretti family race car driver, Michael Andretti said in a recent pre-race interview with Paul Reinhard, we are going to field "six really good bullets in the gun" for the Memorial Day Classic.

Game Changer Survivor Michael Andretti shares the common winning moment in victory lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with his surviving winning driver Takuma Sato. Image Credit: Chris Owens via IndyCar (2017)

This excerpted and edited from Associated Press via Orange County Register -

Michael Andretti hoping his Indy 500 six-pack leads to victory lane
AP - OC Register - May 24, 2017

Michael Andretti’s busiest month could turn into his best Indianapolis show.

He has four cars in the front three rows of Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

Two of those drivers – the defending race champion, Alexander Rossi, and this year’s highest-profile rookie, Fernando Alonso – avoided getting sidetracked by sideshows.

Andretti’s son, Marco, thrived despite taking on extra coaching duties this May. Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 Indy 500 champion, posted the fastest qualifying average outside the nine-car pole shootout, and Japan’s Takuma Sato proved he could be a contender. On Monday, rookie Jack Harvey moved up the speed chart, too.

If these guys produce all the right numbers this weekend, Andretti Autosport will have the best six-pack of racers in 500 history.

“It’s been good because of the data we’ve been able to share and pass on, not only for someone like Marco or Ryan, but it’s been good for all the guys,” Michael Andretti said.

The six Andretti cars in the 33-car starting grid are the most by one team since Andy Evans started seven in 1996 with Team Scandia. 
“People are a huge problem because everyone in Indianapolis has a job right now,” said Michael Shank, co-owner of Harvey’s No. 50 car. “I have 22 to 25 guys in my shop, so it was only natural we could do it.”
Andretti, with an assist from Shank and Bryan Herta, the co-owner of Alexander Rossi’s No. 98 car, didn’t have to be too patient: From the moment the cars rolled onto the 2.5-mile oval, they were already fast.

Marco Andretti finished the first day atop the speed chart. He’ll start eighth Sunday, the middle of Row 3.

Hunter-Reay produced top-five laps in practice each of the first four days he turned laps and qualified 10th, the inside of Row 4.

Rossi and Sato, both former Formula One drivers, helped the two-time F1 champ make a quick transition from the familiar high-tech, road-course cars to the even faster cars on unfamiliar ovals. Rossi is starting from the third spot on the front row. Sato and Alonso qualified in the second row and will start fourth and fifth.

“From all the comments that arrived to me, the comments from them are very, very useful because they know how one car behaves and how the other car behaves and what they needed when they came here,” said Alonso, the Spaniard whose 500 debut has attracted wide attention. “I probably experienced more or less the same journey as them.”
For now, though, Andretti and his six drivers are focused on one goal: Topping Sunday afternoon with a drive through victory lane.

“It is a big challenge for our team,” Andretti said. “There’s a lot, a lot of hours that go into organizing something like this and making it all happen and we’ve got to get it right.”
[Reference Here]

The finishing order of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil as shown on the iconic front straight information and scoring pylon. The championship points race heated up a bit with this double-points paying event as Helio Castroneves took over the season points lead by finishing in P2, Takuma Sato moved into third  by winning, and Ed Jones who as a rookie at the INDY500 moved to ninth in Verizon IndyCar Series 2017 season championship points. Image Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher via IndyCar (2017)

As we all witnessed in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, Andretti Autosport had all of the right moves, even when two of his pack-leading six Honda cars expired with engine issues, Michael Andretti's team Outwited, Outlasted, Outplayed all 33 cars entered in the field when TAKU crossed the "yard of bricks" finish line first ahead of Penske Racing's 3-time INDY500 winner Helio Castroneves by .2011 seconds to win this annual endurance game of motorsports Survivor!

101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil: SURVIVOR BOX SCORE

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Takuma Sato, 101st Indianapolis 500, Outwit, Outlast, Outplay, Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport, endurance, entries, experience, honda, racing, Alonso, Rossi, Verizon IndyCar Series, Survivor, winner, The EDJE

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