Sato caught Foyt's eye with aggressive style
Sometimes, words don't come out right. So A.J. Foyt and Takuma Sato, racers from different generations and countries, have something in common.
"He grew up in Texico, uh, Texas," Sato said of his team boss, the famous four-time Indianapolis 500 winner.
"He speaks a lot better English than I do Japan," Foyt said of Sato.
"I don't speak one word of it," Foyt said.
Sato actually speaks excellent English and is quick to correct himself when he realizes the words aren't uttered properly. But he and Foyt don't talk much about racing. It's always about something else because one racer realizes when another "gets it."
"When there's a chance, I never back off," Sato said before today's practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
That's how Sato caught Foyt's attention at last year's Indy 500, when the 36-year-old driver from Tokyo pulled inside of Dario Franchitti for the lead on the final lap. Sato's Rahal Letterman Lanigan machine and Franchitti's Ganassi Racing car were side by side in the first turn. Something had to give.
Sato spun out. Franchitti won his third Indy 500. Sato finished 17th but earned respect from competitors and fans for his daring maneuver. That's what drivers are supposed to do at Indy – even if it's not the ideal place to pass, you go for it.
At the awards ceremony, the 5-foot-4 driver teased Franchitti: "I might be small, but I need more room." USA Today