Motor racing-Japan's Sato wins Indy 500 as race ends under caution
Already first from Japan to win Indy 500
Crash denies dramatic finish
No fans at the Brickyard
Aug 23 (Reuters) - Japan's Takuma Sato won the Indianapolis 500 for the second time in four years on Sunday after a late crash saw the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" end under caution.
Sato, who had been locked in a ferocious battle with Scott Dixon, cruised across the finish line unchallenged after Spencer Pigot crashed into the wall with five laps to run, bringing out the yellow caution flag.
The 43-year-old driver was already the first from Japan to win the Indy 500 after putting his car on Victory Lane at the famed Brickyard in 2017.
Billed as the world's biggest single day sporting event, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would normally be packed with 300,000 fans. But with no spectators allowed into the sprawling facility because of COVID-19 safety protocols, Sato was denied the thundering ovation that usually goes with victory.
He was, however, able to chug from the traditional quart of milk as members of his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team celebrated around him across from the empty grandstands.
After 190 laps around the 2.5-mile (4 km) oval the race had come down to a two way battle between Sato and IndyCar five-time drivers champion Scott Dixon, who had spent much of the afternoon out front leading 111 laps.
But with Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 winner, stalking Sato and poised to make a move the race was denied a dramatic conclusion when Pigot lost control coming out of Turn Four, slammed the outside wall and spun across the track into the barrier lining the pit lane.
With parts of Pigot's demolished car spread across the track the yellow flag was waved leaving Sato to cruise home to a relaxed win.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris and Daniel Wallis)
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