A.J. Foyt Racing’s Takuma Sato led the final warmup session before today’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (4 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network), topping the 30-minute block with a lap of 1 minute, 8.5388 seconds around the 1.97-mile street circuit.
Sato, who will start on the outside of Row 2 for the 80-lap race later this afternoon, was one of three Honda-powered drivers in the Top 5 for the session; the others being Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s Josef Newgarden in second (1 minute, 8.5409 seconds) and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal in fifth (1 minute, 8.7616 seconds).
E.J. Viso and Ryan Hunter-Reay, both from Andretti Autosport and Chevrolet-powered, were third and fourth-quickest respectively. As for pole sitter Dario Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, he was eighth-fastest in the warmup with a time of 1 minute, 8.8859 seconds.
The session featured a brief red flag period involving Simon Pagenaud (starting 17th), who spun his No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports Honda between Turns 7 and 8 in the opening moments. The Frenchman had one more spin in the warmup before coming away 20th on the time sheets.
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.
Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.
It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.
Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)