Takuma Sato has been placed on probation for the next five IZOD IndyCar Series events after slamming into the back of Ryan Hunter-Reay in a pit road incident last weekend at Pocono Raceway.
At Lap 61 of the Pocono IndyCar 400, Sato locked up the tires on his No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Honda while trying to slow down on his way to pit road. As a result, the Japanese pilot slid into Hunter-Reay’s No. 1 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet as the American was also heading down for service.
Hunter-Reay, a contender for this year’s series championship, would eventually return to the track but finished 20th and lost ground in the title fight against points leader Helio Castroneves. RHR sits 23 points behind Castroneves going into today’s first race of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader (3 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network).
Sato took full blame for the incident last Sunday, but that did little to alleviate the anger of Hunter-Reay, who said that the former Formula One driver “unplugged his brain entirely.”
Per the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook, Sato violated Rule 126.96.36.199, which states that “a driver must not engage in reckless, careless and/or overly aggressive actions or unsportsmanlike behavior toward other participants.” His probation period will end following the Grand Prix of Baltimore on Sept. 1.
Sato will start 11th in today’s race.