Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Sports

Sato wins Long Beach IndyCar race

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Takuma Sato became the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race on Sunday in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The win came in Sato's 52nd career start and was the first for A.J. Foyt Racing since Airton Dare won at Kansas in 2002. Foyt wasn't on hand to make his first trip to Long Beach's Victory Lane; a sciatic nerve that will require surgery forced him to watch on TV at home in Texas.

The win on the street course in Long Beach, where Foyt never won as a driver and had not won as an owner, was a huge accomplishment for the team. A.J. Foyt Racing's last win on a street or road course was with Foyt driving at Silverstone in 1978.

"It was an easy win," Sato said. "It was just a perfect weekend, to be honest. The team did a tremendous job — pit stops, right calls, the power was great, and I was comfortable in the car and able to push everything."

Foyt said via telephone the "last five laps were the longest five laps of anything."

The win pushed Sato to second in the IndyCar standings and was redemption for the Honda driver, who is probably best known for crashing on the final lap of last year's Indy 500.

Formula One: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel won his second straight Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir, beating Lotus drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

"Fantastic race. It was seamless from start to finish," said Vettel, who started second and grabbed the lead for good on the 17th lap. He beat Raikkonen by 9 seconds.

Vettel extended his lead in the championship standings to 10 points ahead of Raikkonen after four of 19 races. Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton moved up to third after finishing fifth.

NHRA: Matt Hagan ended a 17-month win drought by scoring the Funny Car victory at the Four-Wide Nationals at Concord, N.C. Hagan's Dodge Charger covered the distance in 4.071 seconds at 315.34 mph to beat Blake Alexander, Tim Wilkerson and Chad Head. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners in the only NHRA event that features competition in four lanes.

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