Takuma Sato converted his pole position into a win in Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst – the Japanese driver putting in a dominant performance to take his fourth victory in the NTT Data IndyCar Series.
Sato led 74 of 90 laps in his No. 30 Honda-powered Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan entry, although the victory didn’t come easy. Reigning series champion Scott Dixon, driving the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Honda, was lurking in Sato’s shadow all day and even reeled him in with a just a handful laps remaining after Sato had a minor off into the grass. Even after sustaining minor aero damage, though, the Japanese driver managed to put some space between him and Dixon in the closing laps and took victory by 2.3874 seconds over the Kiwi.
Dixon then began to face pressure from Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais in the closing laps, who used a two-stop strategy and characteristically smart driving to put the No. 18 Honda Dale Coyne Racing up front for the final sprint to the finish. Dixon held off Bourdais, though, with the two keeping their noses clean to help Honda achieve an impressive a 1-2-3 result.
The top-finishing Chevrolet driver was Josef Newgarden, who clawed his way into the top five after a dismal qualifying session for the Team Penske crew that saw the young American driver start 16th on the grid in his No. 2 entry. The only other Chevrolet in the top 10 was his Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud, who also overcame a difficult qualifying session to finish ninth in his No. 22 car.
The race ran green for almost its entire duration, with a single yellow coming out for two separate incidents that happened at almost the same time. Sato’s RLL teammate Graham Rahal, who started second on the grid, broke down and stopped on track on Lap 57. Meanwhile, at the other end of the track, AJ Foyt’s Tony Kanaan cut off Carlin’s Max Chilton after making a late dip into the pits, putting the British driver in the barrier.
— NTT IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) April 7, 2019
Also of note – one of the track sweepers went into a corner a little too hot at one point during the weekend and flipped on its side. IndyCar’s twitter account tweeted a video of the rather hilarious incident, which you can view above.
Click here for full results from the 2019 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.