Honda Racing–Sato Shines Mid-Race at Milwaukee

Takuma Sato played a starring role Saturday at the Milwaukee IndyFest, leading a race-high total of 109laps in search of his second IZOD IndyCar Series victory of 2013.  But a yellow flag late in the race – just after his final pit stop of the day – dropped Sato to an unrepresentative seventh-place finish as Ryan Hunter-Reay was able to pit during the final caution and race on to his second consecutive victory at The Milwaukee Mile.

Sato took the lead for the first time on Lap 75 of the 250-lap contest, and was in clear command of the field in the middle stages of the race, extending his lead to as much as five seconds when running in the clear.  But struggles with lapped traffic late in his third run led Sato’s A.J. Foyt Racing team to call him in for his final pit stop early in his pit “window” on Lap 200.  Just 12 laps later, a spin by Ana Beatriz brought out the fourth and final yellow flag of the day and resulted in Sato falling to seventh place as other lead-lap cars were able to make their final stop during the caution and rejoin the field without losing track position.

Scott Dixon was one of those benefiting from pitting during the final yellow flag, and finished sixth for Honda and Target Chip Ganassi Racing.  He briefly ran fourth following the last restart on Lap 220, but was forced out of the racing line and lost two positions as a result.  Teammate Dario Franchitti made gains in the race after a troubled qualifying to finish eighth; while Justin Wilson also made up ground in the final 50 laps to finish ninth for Dale Coyne Racing.