Takuma Sato remains adamant that Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti did not give him enough space when the Japanese driver tried to pass him for the lead on the final lap of the race.
The former Formula 1 racer charged up from 19th place on the grid to emerge as a solid contender for the win, leading on three occasions for a total of 31 laps.
After the final restart, Sato moved into second position and dived inside Franchitti at Turn 1 on the final lap. He lost control of his car, however, and crashed into the wall, finishing in 17th place.
The Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver said Franchitti had pushed him too hard when he tried to pass.
"On the last restart, we jumped from seventh to fifth, then taking fourth, third, second. I kept pushing and overtaking. I went for the win on the very last lap," said Sato. "I saw a good opportunity coming out of Turn 4, getting a good tow from Dario and I was already down the inside before Turn 1. We were side by side and into Turn 1 he didn't really give me enough space."
"I was pushed down below the white line, way below the white line, so there is no grip, and started sliding and lost control."
Team boss Bobby Rahal hailed Sato's drive in only his second Indy 500 appearance, and he defended the Japanese's attempt to go for the win.
"It's a shame because Takuma drove a fantastic race and the crew did a great job," said Rahal. "What I am most pleased about is that we are not the most well-funded team out there and yet we are going head to head with the most well-funded team out there, so we are getting a lot of bang for our buck.
"I feel for Takuma because he did a super job. I don't blame him at all. When you see the opportunity you've got to go for it – especially with one lap to go in the Indy 500. I'm proud of the job he did and proud of the job the guys did, and I feel bad for them because they deserved a little bit better."