LONG BEACH It was an unlikely pairing that no one was certain would work when A.J. Foyt hired Takuma Sato to drive for him this year.
Foyt, the hot-tempered Texan with little patience for errors, had just hired a talented Japanese driver with a penchant of letting his aggression take him out of races.
Sato's most spectacular gaffe came on the last lap of last year's Indianapolis 500, when he wrecked while racing for the win.
Foyt made it clear early he wanted his new driver to bring a 10th-place car home in 10th, to avoid pushing past the limit and settle for what the car would give him.
On Sunday, the car gave owner and driver a victory. Sato became the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race, taking the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in his third race with his new team.
The win came in Sato's 52nd career start but was the first for A.J. Foyt Racing since Airton Dare won Kansas in 2002. Even more impressive? It was the first on a road or street course since 1978 when Foyt was behind the wheel for a win at Silverstone.
"We've had a lot of drivers but none of them wanted to win," Foyt said. "This boy wants to win."
Foyt, 78, watched the race on television at home because of a sciatic nerve that needs surgery. He missed out on making his first trip to Long Beach's Victory Lane Foyt had not won on the street course as a driver or an owner and said via telephone "the last five laps were the longest five laps of anything."
Not so for Sato.
"I was really enjoying driving," he smiled. "I didn't want to finish the race because it felt so good."
Formula One in Sakhir, Bahrain Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel won his second straight Bahrain Grand Prix, easily beating Lotus drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean to bolster his chances of winning a fourth straight championship. Vettel extended his lead in the championship standings to 10 points ahead of Raikkonen after four of 19 races.
NHRA in Concord, N.C. Matt Hagan ended a 17-month winless drought by racing to the Funny Car victory in the Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in the only NHRA event that features competition in four lanes.
Truck Series Inspectors confiscated the fuel cell from points leader Johnny Sauter at Kansas Speedway and will review it early this week.