Takuma Sato dominates Barber IndyCar race for first 2019 win

Jake Nichol
Autosport
Dominant Sato controls Barber IndyCar race
Dominant Sato controls Barber IndyCar race

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Takuma Sato picked up his first victory of the 2019 IndyCar season with a dominant display at Barber Motorsports Park.

Sato employed a three-stop strategy - the approach used by the bulk of the field - from pole position, pitting on lap 17 and 37 of the 90-lap race.

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Taking on Firestone's Black tyres on each occasion, the 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner had cycled back to the lead of the field when the caution flag flew for the first, and only time, on Lap 57.

That came following contact between Tony Kanaan and Max Chilton, ending with the Carlin driver nosed into the pit-entry barrier, while further around the track erstwhile front-row starter Graham Rahal came to a halt as race-long engine problems reached a terminal stage.

The entire field then pitted, with racing resuming seven laps later. Sato, who survived a late track excursion, eased away from reigning champion Scott Dixon to take victory by two seconds.

Sebastien Bourdais, from fifth on the grid, was the sole front-runner to employ a two-stop strategy, which allowed the Dale Coyne Racing man to take a podium finish in third.

Bourdais, who made his second scheduled stop in the caution period, put pressure on Chip Ganassi Racing's Dixon for position on the restart, but was not able to find a way past the five-time champion.

After a troubled weekend, Team Penske, which had won six of the last nine races at Barber, rescued fourth courtesy of Josef Newgarden, who forced his way through the field from 16th on the grid.

Newgarden ran the harder tyres during his middle stint and forcibly passed James Hinchcliffe during the final stages.

Newgarden was the lead Chevrolet-powered driver in a race dominated by Honda, with ninth-placed Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud the only other of its representatives in the top 10.

Dominant Sato controls Barber IndyCar race
Dominant Sato controls Barber IndyCar race

Hinchcliffe ultimately came home in sixth as Andretti Autosport's Alexander Rossi also found his way past the Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports machine.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson brilliantly executed his own three-stop strategy, rising from 20th on the starting grid to claim a season-best finish of seventh place.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was eighth, ahead of the aforementioned Pagenaud, while Dixon's Ganassi team-mate Felix Rosenqvist capped the top 10.

Will Power endured a tricky race as worsening tyre wear contributed to a lap 28 spin that forced the 2014 champion into a four-stop strategy, classifying 11th.

Austin winner Colton Herta's Honda-powered Harding Steinbrenner Racing machine developed a fuel pick-up problem in the first half of the race, leading to his retirement around mid-distance.

Race result

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

Laps

Gap

1

Takuma Sato

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Dallara/Honda

90

1h55m46.8076s

2

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Honda

90

2.3874s

3

Sebastien Bourdais

Dale Coyne Racing

Dallara/Honda

90

2.7933s

4

Josef Newgarden

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

90

7.9721s

5

Alexander Rossi

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

90

8.8518s

6

James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Dallara/Honda

90

9.4356s

7

Marcus Ericsson

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Dallara/Honda

90

13.7580s

8

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

90

15.2506s

9

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

90

22.7848s

10

Felix Rosenqvist

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Honda

90

26.2450s

11

Will Power

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

90

31.8178s

12

Zach Veach

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

90

33.9035s

13

Jack Harvey

Meyer Shank Racing

Dallara/Honda

90

34.9655s

14

Marco Andretti

Andretti Herta

Dallara/Honda

90

39.3119s

15

Santino Ferrucci

Dale Coyne Racing

Dallara/Honda

90

40.0094s

16

Patricio O'Ward

Carlin

Dallara/Chevrolet

90

40.6728s

17

Spencer Pigot

Ed Carpenter Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

90

42.5718s

18

Tony Kanaan

AJ Foyt Enterprises

Dallara/Chevrolet

89

1 Lap

19

Ed Jones

Ed Carpenter Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

89

1 Lap

20

Matheus Leist

AJ Foyt Enterprises

Dallara/Chevrolet

89

1 Lap

21

Ben Hanley

DragonSpeed

Dallara/Chevrolet

88

2 Laps

22

Max Chilton

Carlin

Dallara/Chevrolet

88

2 Laps

23

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Dallara/Honda

55

Spun off

24

Colton Herta

Harding Racing

Dallara/Honda

51

39 Laps


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