By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Both Spencer Pigot and Takuma Sato came to the Honda Indy Toronto looking to extend their top-10 streaks after scoring podiums at Iowa Speedway, but neither completed the 85-lap battle after being victims of the Turn 11 wall during Sunday’s race at Exhibition Place in Canada.
Takmua Sato, who was running in fifth, went wide in Turn 11 and hit the wall on Lap 66. His No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda sustained a broken right rear suspension and fell off the pace, forcing him to take the escape route in Turn 11 to prevent a full course caution.
Despite an end to a frustrating weekend, highlighted by weather impacting his qualifying run, he remained optimistic of how his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team gave him a competitive car in Toronto.
“All weekend we were competitive,” Sato said. “Obviously, the weather situation for qualifying was tough for us, but still, we were competitive again in the warmup before the race.
“Then, in the race we had some issues, but the car was fast all day. I feel sorry for the boys who gave me a great car the whole weekend. I think we have great momentum. I’m looking forward to going to Mid-Ohio.”
The incident knocked him down to a gut-wrenching 22nd place result. It marked Sato’s first retirement since the Indianapolis 500 in May, and ended his streak of top-10 runs at three.
Spencer Pigot appeared to be on his way for his third straight top-10 finish, but 10 laps following Sato’s incident had a similar one of his own. He went wide in Turn 11 and made contact towards the wall. Pigot brought his No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet into the pits, but the damage was terminal and finished 20th.
After scoring back-to-back top-10s, Toronto marked the 24-year-old’s first retirement since the second dual race at Belle Isle in June.
“I got a lot of marbles on my right front tire and it just took off on me,” Pigot said. “I was along for the ride. It is a shame, we had moved up quite a lot. The Preferred Freezer Services car was handling pretty well, so it’s frustrating because we threw away a lot of points.
“It is what it is, but it’s really frustrating. I feel bad for my guys.”