The Latest: Japan’s Sato wins Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on Indy Grand Prix of Alabama (all times local):
Takuma Sato of Japan has won the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama for his fourth career IndyCar victory.
Sato, the 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner, became the fifth driver to win after starting on the pole at Barber Motorsports Park and was in control most of the way. Scott Dixon earned his sixth runner-up finish in the race’s 10-year history.
Sato had a late issue when he went into the grass and lost about a second off his lead at the road course. He quickly gained it back over the final laps while Dixon held off Sebastien Bourdais for second.
Sato reclaimed the top spot on lap 58 of the 90-lap race after coming out of pit road. It was the 11th lead change, a record for the race. Sato didn’t give it up again.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate Graham Rahal started second but ran into mechanical troubles. His car lost power on a straightaway to end his day after 55 laps, but the day was a success for the team.
Two-time defending champion Josef Newgarden worked his way up to fourth after starting 16th. Newgarden, the series points leader, had won three of the last four Alabama races.
Takuma Sato holds the lead halfway through the 90-lap Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
The Japanese driver reclaimed the top spot on lap 41 after his second pit stop. He was followed by Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon at the midpoint.
Two-time defending champion Josef Newgarden had moved up to eighth after starting 16th following struggles in both practice and qualifying.
Graham Rahal, who started second, dropped back to 15th after an early throttle issue.
Sato is seeking his second win since joining Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing last year.
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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