Skip to content

Takuma Sato scores first IndyCar win at Long Beach

Apr 21, 2013, 6:58 PM EDT

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Ex-Formula One standout Takuma Sato has become a winner in the IZOD IndyCar Series, taking the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach by 5.36 seconds over Graham Rahal and becoming the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race.

The win also shatters a long drought for A.J. Foyt Racing, which hadn’t won in the series since Airton Dare won at Kansas Speedway in July of 2002. The team’s namesake, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, was not in attendance at Long Beach as he prepares for surgery next week, but that didn’t stop an exuberant celebration from breaking out amongst the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda crew.

Upon coming to Victory Lane, Sato himself leaped into the arms of a crewman and then waved the Japanese flag as the confetti flew all around him.

“I can’t find the words,” said Sato to NBC Sports Network. “The boys have done a tremendous job. The car was great, pit stops were perfect, great calls — just an incredible feeling…This is just amazing. I’m really happy with the team. Thank you to all our sponsors and A.J. for such a fantastic opportunity.”

“Those laps seemed to take forever, but I’m just so happy for this group,” said team director Larry Foyt. “We worked so hard. I hate that Dad’s not here…But this is his team and he’s helped us build it. Our sponsor has stuck with us for so many years, and I’m so glad it’s all come together.”

Rahal was unable to hang with Sato in the late stages of the race, but still managed to jump nine spots to claim the runner-up position — his best result since going P2 last season at Texas Motor Speedway.

“To be honest, it just feels phenomenal to get this result,” said the Ohio native. “It felt so good to be on the podium at Long Beach, so much history here. The only problem is I think this is the sixth time a Rahal’s finished second here, so we’re gonna have to break the curse eventually.”

The last spot on the podium went to Justin Wilson, who charged all the way from the 24th starting position to come away third and secure a 1-2-3 finish for Honda.

“A little bit of luck and circumstances, and the team did a great job with the strategy,” Wilson said. “We pitted on think, like [Lap 5 or 6], came in and put the reds on — we had plenty of reds, since we didn’t qualify! So we just went out there and pushed hard the entire race. I think that helped, having the extra set and being able to pick people off.”

Dario Franchitti converted his pole into a desperately needed fourth-place result for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, while Panther Racing’s J.R. Hildebrand raced into the fifth position in the final laps to lead the Chevrolet camp.

Latest Posts
  1. NASCAR AMERICA: Team Penske pushing for incredible season (VIDEO)

    Sep 22, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano AP

    They’ve already got the IndyCar title. But can Team Penske claim the Sprint Cup as well this season?

  2. NASCAR AMERICA: The evolution of Joey Logano (VIDEO)

    Sep 22, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    Sylvania 300 Getty Images

    It hasn’t always been easy for Logano since he broke into the Sprint Cup Series in 2009. But there’s no disputing that the kid once known as “Sliced Bread” (as in, greatest thing since) has grown up.

  3. NASCAR: Penske, Roush Fenway squads test at Texas Motor Speedway

    Sep 22, 2014, 6:45 PM EDT

    Credit: Texas Motor Speedway Credit: Texas Motor Speedway

    Two teams on the opposite ends of the Chase spectrum head for the Lone Star State.

  4. Red Bull GRC: Ken Block, Joni Wiman now the ones to beat in title race

    Sep 22, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    A wild doubleheader in Los Angeles has left Block with an 18-point edge over Wiman as the series heads for Seattle.

  5. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA recaps day of survival in N.H. at 4:30 p.m. ET

    Sep 22, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

    Sylvania 300 Getty Images

    Coming up today: Highlights and analysis from Joey Logano’s Chase win at Loudon; an interview with Penske president Tim Cindric; Kevin Harvick’s Chase progress; Denny Hamlin’s nightmarish day; 16-year-old Cole Custer’s historic Truck win.

  6. Alex Zanardi inspires once again in “Touch The Sky” clip (VIDEO)

    Sep 22, 2014, 3:55 PM EDT

    Indianapolis 500 Getty Images

    The former CART and F1 driver’s incredible story is spotlighted in a special clip that previews a new film regarding BMW’s legacy in touring car racing.

  7. Wally Dallenbach Jr. is coming back to Trans-Am

    Sep 22, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    DallenbachHeadshot

    Wally Dallenbach Jr. to make competitive return to driving in Trans-Am, starting next month.

  8. McLaren principal says Red Bull used coded messages in Singapore GP

    Sep 22, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Eric Boullier indicates that he feels Red Bull breached the FIA’s new radio ban with its messages to Daniel Ricciardo during Sunday’s race.

  9. Mark Webber refreshed, relaxed in Austin return

    Sep 22, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    WebberCOTA Getty Images

    Mark Webber enjoys his return to Austin in FIA WEC, even if the result in his No. 20 Porsche goes begging.

  10. Team Penske has early Chase edge, but Hendrick camp can strike at Dover

    Sep 22, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Chase for the sprint cup logo

    The clash of the titans has gone Team Penske’s way so far. But next weekend’s race at Dover could see the tide turn in favor of Hendrick Motorsports.

  11. Lotterer: “F1 (racing) isn’t what it used to be anymore”

    Sep 22, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    LottererCaterham Getty Images

    Andre Lotterer reflects on the openness of FIA WEC and Super Formula compared to his one-off Grand Prix appearance in Belgium.

  12. COTA weekend thoughts and observations: FIA WEC

    Sep 22, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    GDriveSMPCOTA AP

    The FIA WEC headed to Texas this weekend. Here are some thoughts on how it went down.

  13. COTA weekend thoughts and observations: IMSA

    Sep 22, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    IMSACota Getty Images

    Both the TUDOR Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge put on a show in Austin this weekend.

  14. FIA WEC: Another Audi win at COTA

    Sep 22, 2014, 10:21 AM EDT

    Le Mans 24h Race Getty Images

    Audi 1-2 leads FIA WEC winners at COTA.

  15. Can Hamilton take this momentum all the way to Abu Dhabi?

    Sep 22, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Reliability woes have left Nico Rosberg reeling. If he doesn’t respond at Suzuka, it could be game over.

  16. Rosberg: I felt helpless in Singapore (VIDEO)

    Sep 22, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    German driver does well to keep his anger in check in his post-race video blog.

  17. Force India owner heaps praise on Sergio Perez after Singapore fightback

    Sep 22, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Vijay Mallya delighted as Force India makes 2014 its most successful season since entering F1 back in 2008.

  18. Singapore GP Weekend: All Posts, One Place

    Sep 22, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore Getty Images

    Lewis Hamilton has put himself back in control of the 2014 F1 world championship after a great win in Singapore as teammate Nico Rosberg retired.

  19. Red Bull GRC: Rhys Millen wins Race 2 in L.A.; Ken Block takes championship lead

    Sep 21, 2014, 8:43 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    Millen scores his second win of 2014, while YouTube icon Block takes an 18-point lead in the championship with two races left in the season.

  20. Schumacher (TF), C. Force (FC), Connolly (PS), Hines (PSM) are NHRA winners at Texas

    Sep 21, 2014, 7:51 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy NHRA) (Photo courtesy NHRA)

    Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car), Dave Connolly (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were the winners in Sunday’s final rounds of the NHRA FallNationals in Ennis, Texas.

Video from NASCAR America

Which longshot will advance in Chase?
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Keselowski (1720)
  2. J. Gordon (1176)
  3. K. Harvick (1094)
  4. C. Custer (1021)
  5. B. Myers (906)