Photo: Walter G. Arce/ASP, Inc.

Sato Crashes Indy 500 Ride at Texas

By Phillip Schmitz, Staff Writer

FORT WORTH, Tex. — For the first time since 2009, Takuma Sato isn’t a full time driver in the NTT IndyCar Series, racing just the oval portion of the 2023 schedule for Chip Ganassi Racing in the No. 11 Niterra Honda entry.

Sunday marked Sato’s first race of the season at Texas Motor Speedway — a weekend that started out strong for him. He was eighth fastest in morning practice and qualified sixth for the PPG 375.

However, once the race began, so did Sato’s problems. After slipping back through the field from the start, he was just outside of the Top 10 when trouble struck.

Running on the outside of Team Penske driver Will Power in turns 1 and 2 on lap 48, Sato was then suddenly on the top of three wide when Andretti Autosport driver Devlin DeFrancesco went under both Power and Sato. DeFranchesco’s move caused Sato to react and move higher up in Turn 2, which caused him to hit the outside wall and then ricochet back across the track and hit the inside backstretch wall.

Just like that, Sato’s promising weekend to start his 2023 season at Texas Motor Speedway was over.

“Will was a little bit too strong, and he got thrown outside,” said Sato. “So, I went wide but I think somebody went to the inside, too. So, I effectively was three-wide, and then Will came up to me a little bit high and then I could only go to the gray area, and then that was it.”

The crash in the PPG 375 was unfortunate for Sato and his No. 11 Chip Ganassi Racing team. It’s even more unfortunate when it was discovered that Sato just didn’t crash a regular car. Sato crashed the very car that was also built for the upcoming Indianapolis 500. A race that he’s won twice with Andretti Autosport in 2017, and with Rahal Letterman Lanigan in 2020.

“I really feel sorry for the boys. The team did fantastic in preparations. It’s really a pity,” Sato added.

Sato and his No. 11 Chip Ganassi Racing team will look to repair to the car that was crashed on Sunday, or build a new car for him for the Indianapolis 500 so that Sato will be able to drive the car before the Month of May.

The NTT IndyCar Series is holding an open two day test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this month on April 20th, and 21st. The two day testing event will be streamed on Peacock.

Tags : , , , , , , ,