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BC-CAR--IndyCar-Alabama

April 7, 2019
AP Sports Writer

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Takuma Sato starts on the pole at Barber Motorsports Park seeking his fourth IndyCar win.

The 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate Graham Rahal qualified 1-2 heading into Sunday’s Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. It’s the first time the team has had two drivers start up front since 2005 at Chicagoland.

Sato, who is from Japan, won at Portland in 2018, his first year with the team.

Team Penske will have some work to do to keep up its dominance at the picturesque 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course.

Two-time Barber winner Will Power has the highest starting spot of Team Penske, at seventh. Two-time defending champion Josef Newgarden is seeking his fourth Alabama win in five years but must overcome a 16th-place starting spot.

Simon Pagenaud, the 2016 winner, qualified 14th. Team Penske has won six of the first nine years at Barber.

The pole sitter has won four times, including Newgarden in last year’s rain-delayed race.

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