Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Takuma Sato fended off Scott Dixon at an empty Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday to earn his second win at the Indianapolis 500.
With his victory, Sato -- who became the first Japanese driver to win the race in 2017 -- is the 20th two-time winner of the Indy 500. It was his second win in the last four tries at the iconic track.
"The Indy 500, you never really know until the last corner," Sato said. "This is unbelievable. Thank you so much. I can't find the words, can't find the words. This is unbelievable."
Sato won under caution after teammate Spencer Pigot was involved in a violent crash with only a few laps remaining in the race, which was held without fans for the first time in 104 runnings due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pigot required medical attention and debris was scattered everywhere, meaning the race couldn't resume without a stoppage.
Dixon, the five-time IndyCar champion who led 111 laps in Sunday's race, asked on his radio whether officials were going to give the drivers a NASCAR-style shootout to the checkered flag. But IndyCar officials declined to throw a red flag, and Sato led Dixon across the finish line under yellow.
"Definitely a hard one to swallow, for sure. We had such a great day," Dixon said. "First time I've seen them let it run out like that. I thought they'd throw a red."
Graham Rahal finished third behind Dixon, and Santino Ferrucci came in fourth. Reigning series champion Josef Newgarden was fifth.
Helio Castroneves finished 11th, while pole-sitter Marco Andretti -- who was seeking to end the 51-year losing streak for his iconic racing family -- ended in 13th. Fernando Alonso, attempting to win the final leg of motorsports' version of the Triple Crown, crossed the finish line in 21st and never contended in the race.