There was a meeting of champions as Takuma Sato was about to leave New York City late Monday night after completing the first leg of his Indianapolis 500 winner’s tour.
Following a full day of activities in Manhattan that including ringing the Nasdaq opening bell and heading to the top of the Empire State Building, Sato was about to board a private jet when he spotted a familiar face. The first Japanese driver to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” rushed over to say hello to NASCAR team owner Richard Childress and his driver Austin Dillon, fresh off their victory Sunday night in the Coca-Cola 600.
It completed a hectic yet rewarding day for Sato, who won Sunday’s 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, following a thrilling duel down the stretch with three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves. Sato left Indianapolis for NYC immediately after pocketing $2.4 million at the Victory Celebration on Monday night.
The first stops Tuesday were appearances on WNYW’s “Good Day NY” and CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” before Sato rang the bell to start activity on the Nasdaq market.
After that it was on to the viewing deck of the iconic Empire State Building for a media and photo opportunity.
Additional media stops throughout the day included The Player’s Tribune, SI.com, ABC News One and NBCSN’s “NASCAR America.” Then it was time to honor the Indianapolis 500 champion with a “Toast on Top” for media and VIPs at swanky Ink48’s rooftop bar.
Sato won Sunday's race by 0.2011 of a second over Castroneves in the sixth-closest finish in Indianapolis 500 history. Sato made the decisive pass for the lead on the 195th of 200 laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval and held on from there. The victory marked the fifth for Andretti Autosport in the great race and its third in the past four years. Ryan Hunter-Reay accomplished the feat for Andretti Autosport in 2014 and Alexander Rossi did so last year.
Sato is in the Lone Star State today for the traditional Indy 500 winner’s visit ahead of the June 10 race at Texas Motor Speedway. He will travel to Detroit on Thursday for final media activities ahead of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix in the Motor City this weekend.
Practice begins Friday for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, with 70-lap races set for Saturday and Sunday in the only doubleheader event on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule in 2017. Both races air at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
Sato recapped his day in this video: