Milwaukee Update: Takuma Sato leads at halfway mark

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Takuma Sato is back to the front of the field for the first time since Sao Paulo, coming from 15th starting position to lead the Milwaukee IndyFest at the halfway point.

Sato, along with multiple others, took advantage of an early caution involving a spinning Simona de Silvestro to pit off strategy. Since that point, he’s managed to make his way through the grid as the strategy has played out.

Helio Castroneves, last week’s winner at Texas, also pitted early along with Sato and was running second at Lap 125 of 250. Meanwhile, Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won last year at Milwaukee, has been solid again so far and is currently third after pitting on a normal strategy at Lap 68. Andretti Autosport compatriots E.J. Viso and James Hinchcliffe are fourth and fifth.

Pole sitter Marco Andretti, who came into today’s race 22 points behind Helio Castroneves in the championship, led from pole until Hunter-Reay was able to get by him on Lap 62. Then on a pit stop at Lap 68, his day got worse when his fuel line was momentarily unable to disengage from his car, adding several seconds to his pit stop and costing him track position.

Finally, at Lap 97, Andretti began to slow on the race track, pulling down on the apron between Turns 1 and 2 before coming to rest on the backstretch.

“Either the alternator – or, I don’t know, another part,” a frustrated Andretti told NBC Sports Network, confirming an electrical issue on his No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet. “I guess we’re gonna try to get it fixed.”

Shortly after the halfway mark, Andretti was found strapping back into his car and will presumably return to the race in an attempt to salvage some points for the championship.

Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool