INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Takuma Sato snatched a second Indianapolis 500 victory at empty Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday as the Japanese racer held off Scott Dixon and ultimately won under caution.
IndyCar officials declined to throw a red flag after a violent crash by Spencer Pigot with just a handful of laps remaining. Pigot needed medical attention on the track, the crash scene was a debris field and there was no way the race could resume without a stoppage.
Dixon, the five-time IndyCar champion who had dominated the race, asked on his radio if IndyCar was going to give the drivers a final shootout to the checkered flag, NASCAR style.
“Are they going red?” Dixon asked. “They’ve got to go red. There’s no way they can clean that up.”
IndyCar never threw the flag and Sato led Dixon across the finish line under yellow.
Sato became the first Japanese winner of the Indy 500 in 2017. Dixon was second and Graham Rahal, Sato’s teammate at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, was third.
It was Pigot, the third Rahal driver, who crashed for the controversial finish.