Takuma Sato wins Alabama Indycar race

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Takuma Sato had one “little second” when his automotive went into the grass late within the race.

Aside from that, the Japanese driver did not have too many worrisome moments at Sunday’s Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on his option to a fourth profession IndyCar victory.

Sato, the 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner, turned the fifth driver to win after beginning on the pole at Barber Motorsports Park. He was in management a lot of the approach, main 74 of the 90 laps on the street course.

“Clearly, we are available right here with the hopes, all the time,” Sato mentioned. “(However we) actually bodily by no means actually, actually anticipated to be this a lot of a domination”

Scott Dixon earned his sixth runner-up end within the race’s 10-year historical past.

Sato had a late subject when he went into the grass and misplaced a few second off his lead. He shortly gained it again over the ultimate laps to win by 2.four seconds and referred to as it “most likely the cleanest race I ever received.”

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He mentioned he “had just a little second into the Flip eight” after going sideways there Friday.

“I made a decision nope, this time I will go straight as a result of I knew I needed to come again,” Sato mentioned. He added, “Anyway, it was not vital to provide the little bit kind of coronary heart assault to the physique.”

Dixon held off Sebastien Bourdais for second.

Sato reclaimed the highest spot on lap 58 of the 90-lap race after popping out of pit street. It was the 11th lead change, a file for the race. Sato did not give it up once more regardless of his precarious second when he managed to maneuver the No. 30 Honda via the grass and again onto the observe.

18-YEAR-OLD COLTON HERTA BECOMES YOUNGEST INDYCAR WINNER:

“I noticed it and I hoped he went just a little farther off,” Dixon mentioned. “It was his race. He deserved it. That was the one factor he did incorrect and he caught it. We tried to place strain on him. It was truly fairly robust to get shut this yr and I believe that is as a result of the grip degree was fairly low.”

An ex-Components 1 racer, Sato had develop into the primary Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race in 2013 and the primary to win the Indy 500 4 years later.

He had by no means completed higher than eighth at Barber.

Sato’s Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate, Graham Rahal, began second however bumped into mechanical troubles. His automotive misplaced energy on a straightaway to finish his day after 55 laps, however the day was nonetheless a giant success for the group. Sato received at Portland final yr, his first with the group.

Two-time defending champion Josef Newgarden labored his approach as much as fourth after beginning 16th. Newgarden, the sequence factors chief, had received three of the final 4 Alabama races.

Bourdais navigated the 90-lap race with solely two pit stops, not stopping till lap 28 — one shy of the group’s aim.

“That was the gameplan,” he mentioned. “However by like lap 15-16, I used to be like, ‘Guys, I am not so certain I can dangle on for one more 10 laps.'”

WHO’S HOT

Newgarden, regardless of a rocky weekend. He rebounded strongly from struggles in apply periods Friday and Saturday in addition to qualifying. He has began the yr with three Prime-5 finishes and held onto his factors lead. Dixon moved as much as second and Sato to 3rd.

WHO’S NOT

Early throttle points dropped Rahal again to 15th. Then his automotive misplaced energy and stopped on a straightaway to finish his race after 55 laps.

“I assumed it was our day, man,” Rahal mentioned. “I assumed it was our weekend. Right here and St. Pete getting the flat tire, man, come on. In some unspecified time in the future it is acquired to vary.”

Rookie Colton Herta solely made it 51 laps earlier than parking with mechanical issues two weeks after turning into IndyCar’s youngest winner in Texas. He turned 19 on March 30.

OLD GUARD

The elder statesmen dominated after the teen’s win. Sato is 42, Dixon 38 and Bourdais 40.

“I used to be joking it was the geriatric podium,” Dixon mentioned.

UP NEXT

Streets of Lengthy Seaside on Saturday, the place Alexander Rossi received final yr.

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