Takuma Sato is the first Japanese driver to win 2017 Indianapolis 500

The Denver Post on Monday said a sportswriter was no longer an employee of the paper after he tweeted his discomfort with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend. "When he came up beside me with three laps to go to take the lead from me, I decided this was my moment, to win or lose the race". "He went", team owner Michael Andretti said. It looked for a moment early in the race during the first crash - between Jay Howard and Scott Dixon - when Castroneves actually drove under Dixon's flipping vehicle that he may not have the opportunity to vie for the victory.

This time around Sato made very calculated moves, going from third to first in a span of two laps, passing Heilo Castroneves on the frontstretch with six laps remaining.

"I do respect The Denver Post decision", Sato said.

Rookie Ed Jones was third, followed by Britain's Max Chilton, Brazil's Tony Kanaan, Colombia's Juan Pablo Montoya and 2016 victor Alexander Rossi. "I'm really happy for them, that we were able to give them a win with our Japanese driver here".

Alonso announced last month he would take a break from a subpar F1 season and skip the Monaco Grand Prix to race in the Indy 500 for Andretti Autosport.

Despite his Formula One pedigree, Alonso faced a welter of new challenges. He had never raced before on an oval, never driven and IndyCar and hadn't done a rolling start since his karting days.

And finally the most wonderful crash in a race with 11 caution flags and a record 15 race leaders (four of the top six racing for Andretti), ends with no drivers seriously injured.

The team's Honda engines showed superior speed throughout practice and qualifying, but they also showed a maddening propensity to fail. "But we saw the same big puff of smoke come out the back".

Later, another caution period would again spoil Alonso's chance to get away from the pack, and later still the yellow flags and safety vehicle allowed several cars to skip a pit stop, putting them between Alonso and a chance at the win with just a quarter of the race to go.

However, what's been most unfortunate has been McLaren's weekend that ended with DNFs.

Howard's auto had gone into the wall and rebounded into Dixon's path and when the two collided the latter's vehicle flipped into the air and into the wall.

"I had to make a decision on which way to go, " said Dixon, who admitted he was a little banged up. Other shunts included a crash on lap 122 that had doctors checking out 1996 victor Buddy Lazier for chest pain, and a five-car crash on a restart from a caution period 17 laps from the finish.

"There are still 250,000 people living in temporary housing, so this is definitely a great acceleration to support them", said Sato, who normally has worn a special helmet for the Indy 500 that he would later auction to raise money for the relief funds in Japan.

  • Julie Sanders