Takuma Sato dominated today’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver starting from the pole and leading 74 of 90 laps at Barber Motorsports Park to claim his fourth career IndyCar Series Victory. The win is the second for Honda in the opening three races of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series championship, and vaults Sato to third in the drivers’ championship standings.
What started as a contest of strategy – with several teams electing to complete the race on just two pit stops versus the usual three – became a more straightforward race to the finish following a caution flag on Lap 60, when Max Chiltonwent off course at the pit entrance and made contact with the safety barrier.
But no matter the strategy, Sato was in command through most of the day after starting from the pole for the eighth time in his career. At 42, Sato is the second-oldest series regular competing in the 2019 season, and his win comes just two weeks after fellow Honda driver Colton Herta became the youngest winner in series history (aged 18), at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX.
Behind the leader, Sebastien Bourdais – the quickest of the two-stoppers – battled Scott Dixon for second, with the duel becoming particularly intense in the final 10 laps. At the checkers, it was Dixon finishing second at Barber for the sixth time in 10 races here, and moving up to second in the drivers’ title chase. Bourdais, meanwhile, completed a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium for Honda drivers and teams.
Running well in the closing laps, Alexander Rossi edged fellow Honda driver James Hinchcliffe for fifth at the checkers. Hinchcliffe’s Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate, Marcus Ericsson, claimed seventh just ahead of Rossi’s Andretti Autosport teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay. Felix Rosenqvist rounded out the top 10 in his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, giving the manufacturer eight of the top 10 finishing positions.