“He drove unbelieveable,” Andretti said of Sato’s performance in an eventful race that saw pole-sitter Scott Dixon of New Zealand escape serious injury in a spectacular crash and Formula One star Fernando Alonso’s race ended by engine failure.
Sato, who started from the second row, beat Catroneves by two-tenths of a second.
“I couldn’t do what he was doing (on the closing laps),” said the Brazilian, who improved 17 places from his starting position.
Rookie Ed Jones was third, followed by Britain’s Max Chilton, Brazil’s Tony Kanaan, Colombia’s Juan Pablo Montoya and 2016 winner Alexander Rossi.
The hectic race featured 35 lead changes among a race-record 15 drivers.
That included Spain’s Alonso, who rocked racing when he opted to play hooky from Formula One’s Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday to tackle the 2.5 mile (4 km) Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
Despite his Formula One pedigree, Alonso faced a welter of new challenges. He had never raced before on an oval, never driven and IndyCar and hadn’t done a rolling start since his karting days.
But he challenged for the lead much of the day, leading 27 laps before his Honda engine blew after 179 of 200 laps.
Source: News on Japan