Sunday, August 23rd, 2020


“This is unbelievable, thank you so much. I can’t find the words.” – Takuma Sato

“He is the ‘Wild Thing’ no more. He was ‘Super-Cool Sato’ today.” – Paul Tracy

“Takuma was meant to be one who was to run with the Olympic flame. That of course didn’t happen, so in replacement of that, if he wins his second Indy 500 – that will be quite the buzz.” – Leigh Diffey

“We miss you. I wish you guys were here because the energy that you bring makes this day so memorable.” – Danica Patrick on the Indy 500 Fans

STAMFORD, Conn. – Aug. 23, 2020 – NBC Sports presented exclusive coverage of the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 this afternoon on NBC from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as Takuma Sato won “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” for the second time in his career, outdueling five-time Series champion Scott Dixon. Graham Rahal, Sato’s Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate, finished in third place to round out the podium.

NBC Sports’ Indianapolis 500 commentary team of Leigh Diffey (play-by-play) and analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy called NBC Sports’ broadcast of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on NBC, alongside pit reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, and Kevin Lee.

Mike Tirico anchored coverage alongside guest analyst and former INDYCAR driver Danica Patrick. NBC Sports’ Rutledge Wood also contributed to the network’s Indy 500 presentation by reporting on-site at IMS.


Sato to Snider following the win: “This is unbelievable, thank you so much. I can’t find the words.”

Sato on impact on his win in his native country of Japan: “Especially for Japan, sacrificing a lot after the earthquake in 2011. I hope this gives a little boost for the energy and thank you for a lot of support.”

Diffey on Sato winning the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500: “I can tell you that this race will not be red-flagged, it will finish under yellow with Takuma Sato winning his second Indianapolis 500 for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. His other win was for Michael Andretti, this one for Bobby Rahal, Mike Lanigan and David Letterman…Takuma has done it for a second time in three years.”

Tracy on Sato: “He is the ‘Wild Thing’ no more. He was ‘Super-Cool Sato’ today. We have to come up with a new nickname because he played his cards perfect today.”

Bell on Sato: “It was the defensive driving that Sato displayed. The things he learned from watching (Simon) Pagenaud do the same thing last year. He did that for a few laps and that took the advantage off Dixon’s tires to respond.”

Dixon to Stavast following his second-place finish: “It’s definitely a hard one to swallow for sure. We had such a great day. With fuel mileage, I really can’t see how they were going to make it…first time I’ve seen (the race officials) let it run out like that. I thought they were definitely going to throw a red flag, which would have been exciting for the last four or five laps…it’s hard when it slips away like that.”

Patrick, who won an INDYCAR race in Japan, on Sato’s win and the Japanese INDYCAR fans: “Japanese fans get coined ‘superfans’ because they are that passionate about their athletes and about sports. I have no doubt that when he arrives back in Japan, whenever he does, they should have a camera at the airport for everyone there that will be greeting him.”

Patrick on race finishing under a yellow flag: “I think it was a stretch to call a red flag. I think there was probably grounds for it, but it would have been pushing it, and it was fair to do it the way it was done.”

Patrick on 2021 Indy 500: “I have a feeling that the 2021 Indy 500 is going to be perhaps the biggest one yet.”

Tracy on the finish: “No shortage of drama even though we didn’t have fans. What a race today.”

Tracy on Sato’s win: “When it came down to the final 10 laps, Sato had the final car and started to pull away.”

Race on NBC (2:30 p.m. ET)

Tracy on Spencer Pigot wreck with 4 laps to go: “That is why we have the safer aeroscreen, I really believe that saved his life…the new aeroscreen has just done unbelievable things for the safety of these drivers.”

Diffey on Sato: “Takuma was meant to be one who was to run with the Olympic flame. That of course didn’t happen, so in replacement of that he wins his second Indy 500 – that will be quite the buzz.”

Patrick on how hard it is to get the perfect car setup following Rossi’s crash on Lap 143: “What I heard from Ed Carpenter the other day when I was talking to him was that the cars are even more difficult than in any other year to really get right. The window is even smaller. From my experience, the window felt small a couple years ago, and so I said, ‘Smaller than that?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, much smaller than that.’ So, I think that’s why you hear so many drivers saying, ‘I don’t know what happened, it just went on me.’”

Tracy on Alexander Rossi’s pit road penalty on Lap 124: “You think he was angry after last year’s Indy 500? He’s going to be furious…he’s had such a tough start to the year, and it just continues. He’s geared his whole season around trying to win this race.”

Bell on Dixon and Rossi swapping the lead at Lap 106: “Nobody wants this lead right now. This is all about the cat-and-mouse of fuel mileage.”

Tracy on strategy during the caution on Lap 88: “This puts everyone back on the same strategy. Everything is back to square one.”

Bell on the Team Penske exit from pit road: “That’s like flying in sequence like The Air Force that flew over the track in the pre-race.”

Patrick on pit stops: “There’s a lot to think about and a lot of pressure. You know that there’s football fields of lengths on the line if you come in a little slow or out a little slow. We’ve seen a lot of mistakes…. it will be interesting to see how this shakes out.”

Pre-Race on NBC (1 p.m. ET)

Patrick on race without fans: “We miss you. I wish you guys were here because the energy that you bring makes this day so memorable.”

Mario Andretti on the past week since Marco Andretti won the pole: “I’ve been on ‘Cloud 98’ for the whole week. Being on the pole at Indianapolis, you get to savor it for an entire week…we’re all-in. He’s (Marco) going to have a lot of energy coming from us, but he doesn’t need it. He knows what he’s doing, he’s proven that.”

Andretti on what it’s like to have three generations of Andretti’s (Mario, Michael and Mario) on-site today at IMS: “Precious, just precious moments. This is something that we’ll savor for the rest of our lives…we’re blessed to have this opportunity. Three generations, who would have known…this place has given us so much, but we want some more.”

Bell on the walk down gasoline alley with no fans: “In this moment, the shock will be for the veteran drivers.”

Tracy on Marco Andretti: “He’s got impossible shoes to fill with Mario and his dad. They won so much throughout their career that it’s an impossible goal to find. I’ve gotten to know Marco a lot better over the past couple of years and I can tell you, he has been concerned with what people think on the outside…right now, he has found another gear and I think he is going to take his career to the next level today.”

Tirico on Scott Dixon: “He reminds me of Tim Duncan. He’s phenomenal, but it’s not flamboyant. In the racing world, it’s like Jimmie Johnson.”

Patrick on Dixon: “I can tell you from the inside looking out, you never overlook Jimmie Johnson or Scott Dixon. They’re incredible drivers. Now, maybe their personality doesn’t drive as much media attention. Maybe they don’t put their foot in their mouth as often as some other people. Their driving on track and record book is completely different.”

Pre-race coverage included:

  • Simon Pagenaud – NBC Sports profiled defending Indy 500 champion Simon Pagenaud and what it meant for one of INDYCAR’s most accomplished drivers to win the 500 for the first time in 2019;
  • Mario Andretti – Danica Patrick and Mike Tirico sat down with Andretti on the pagoda to talk about his family’s legacy and how much it means that his grandson, Marco, is sitting on the pole this year;
  • Marco Andretti – Leigh Diffey spoke with Andretti about what the family names means when headed into a race like the Indianapolis 500;
  • Alexander Rossi – Marty Snider spoke with Rossi about his gut-wrenching loss to Pagenaud last year, what kind of passion it takes to come back and his win of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500;
  • “Message In A Milk Bottle” – NBC’s Rutledge Wood highlighted the new fan and driver time capsule installation that will be opened next year;
  • The “Wreath Lady” – Rutledge Wood visited Julie Vance who has created the Indianapolis 500 wreath for the last 28 years;
  • The Fastest Seat in Sport with Mario and Michael Andretti having three Andretti’s on the track at once;

Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgery residents Dr. Elvis Francois and Dr. William Robinson, the “Singing Surgeons”, performed the National Anthem ahead of the race with for the first time ever, a flyover by The US Airforce Thunderbirds. “Back Home Again in Indiana” was sang by Chicago Blackhawks anthem singer Jim Cornelison.