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Takuma Sato wins 101st Indianapolis 500

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Takuma Sato dumps milk on himself as he celebrates after winning the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Takuma Sato won the 101st Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, holding off three-time winner Helio Castroneves and denying him a shot at history.

Sato follows Alexander Rossi, the rookie who won last year for Andretti Autosport, to earn the traditional milk bath in victory circle.

Sato, from Tokyo, and Castroneves had a battle for the last 10 laps of the race, exchanging the lead in a white-knuckle finish. Sato had won one other time in his 124 starts in the series.

“I’m shocked,” team owner Michael Andretti said.

Sato is the first Japanese driver to win the race. His only other win came at Long Beach, 73 races ago. This is his first win on an oval and gives Andretti Autosport three of the past four Indy 500s, following Rossi in 2016 and Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2014.

Sato screamed into the team radio after he crossed the yard of bricks and punched the air with his fist over and over.

Castroneves also won here in 2001, 2002 and 2009. He was trying to join elite company as the only drivers to win here four times. A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears, who was inducted into the Team Penske Hall of Fame on Thursday, are the only drivers to do so.

PHOTOS: HISTORY OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500

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Castroneves has finished runner-up three times.

“I have to say one thing, I want to thank Shell and Team Penske for giving me a competitive car. What a race, man. This place is incredible. It’s a mixed feeling, yes, I’m upset. Going to the back, getting a penalty. Ugh,” Castroneves said after climbing from his car.

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 car that he may not have the opportunity to vie for the victory.

“Well, when I saw the 77 went into the wall, I knew it would bounce back. When I saw Dixon flipping, I didn’t think it would be so fast.”

Ed Jones, Max Chilton, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Rossi, Marco Andretti, Gabby Chaves and Carlos Munoz rounded out the top 10.

MORE INDY 500:

Fernando Alonso, the two-time Formula One champion who was attempting his first Indianapolis 500, finished 24th after starting fifth and leading the race several times, the first on lap 37.

His Honda engine expired as he came down the frontstretch after 179 laps. There has been talk all month about the unreliability of the Honda program, which has seen several failures here.

“I felt the noise and then I saw the smoke. It’s a shame. Who knows what it could be?” Alonso said. “I mean the whole day has been a very good experience, from the

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