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Takuma Sato makes history in winning Long Beach Grand Prix

April 21, 2013|By Jim Peltz
  • Takuma Sato won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday.
Takuma Sato won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday. (Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated…)

Takuma Sato won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, becoming the first Japanese driver in history to win an IndyCar series race.

Sato, 36, drives for the team of legendary racer A.J. Foyt, and this was the team's first victory in more than a decade.

"This is just amazing," Sato told a television audience after he climbed atop his car — which carries No. 14, the number Foyt used during his career — and waved a Japanese flag.

PHOTOS: Highlights from the 2013 Long Beach Grand Prix

"The car was great, pit stops were perfect," said Sato, who started fourth. "Just an incredible feeling."

Graham Rahal finished second after fruitlessly trying to chase down Sato over the last 30 laps of the 80-lap race. Justin Wilson was third, and Dario Franchitti finished fourth.

Sato spent several years as a driver in the Formula One series, then moved to the Izod IndyCar Series in 2010.

The Long Beach race, run on an 11-turn, 1.97-mile course on the city's coastal streets, was Sato's 52nd IndyCar start.

Sato nearly won his first IndyCar race at last year's Indianapolis 500 when he tried to pass Franchitti on the final lap. But Sato spun out, and Franchitti went on to win.

ALSO:

Dario Franchitti wins pole position for Long Beach Grand Prix

Long Beach has special meaning for Ryan Hunter-Reay

IndyCar driver Helio Castronves hopes this is his year

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