Long-form: Indy 500 champ Takuma Sato comes to Japan GP (VIDEO)

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In the first five minutes of Part 2 of the post-Japanese Grand Prix edition of Paddock Pass, NBCSN Formula 1 pit reporter and insider Will Buxton had the opportunity to catch up with Takuma Sato, who competed in F1 from 2002 to 2008 with BAR, Honda and Super Aguri.

Sato captured this year’s 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in a thrilling duel with Helio Castroneves, with Ed Jones and Max Chilton also figuring into the race’s outcome before Sato beat them all.

He also conducted the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, race winner Lewis Hamilton even trying on his Indianapolis 500 winner’s ring.

The ‘500 champion will have his likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy revealed next Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. But Sato reflected a bit on what he accomplished when chatting with Buxton.

“It’s an incredible moment in my life. Winning the Indy 500 is so special,” Sato told NBCSN.

“It was fun. It was good to see Fernando smiling every single day. Fernando coming on board was a significant moment.

“Five years ago it was so close. It didn’t happen in our favor, but I learned so much. Now this has been a dream come true.”

“I can’t thank the Andretti Autosport team enough, but now in 2018 I’ll be back home with Bobby Rahal. Working with Graham as a teammate will be incredible. We’ll have a new challenge and it’s a great challenge.”

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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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)