BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Takuma Sato delivered a maestro performance in driving to victory Sunday in the 10th annual Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst, the third race of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season.
Starting from pole position after winning the NTT P1 Award the day before, Sato led 74 of 90 laps on the Barber Motorsports Park permanent road course to capture his fourth series win in his 10th season. Sato guided the No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing to victory by 2.3874 seconds over reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA: Unofficial race results
Sebastien Bourdais successfully employed a two-pit-stop strategy to finish third in the No. 18 SealMaster Honda for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan.
Sato had never finished better than eighth in nine previous races on the 17-turn, 2.3-mile rolling and technical road course, but became the fifth driver to convert the pole position at Barber into victory and the third different driver to win in as many NTT IndyCar Series races this season. It was his first triumph since winning at Portland International Raceway in September 2018 and the 27th Indy car win for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
The win also catapulted Sato to third in the unofficial points standings following the third of 17 races this season. Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden, who climbed from 16th starting position to finish fourth in the No. 2 Fitzgerald USA Team Penske Chevrolet, retained the unofficial points lead by 27 points over Dixon, who finished second at Barber for a sixth time with no wins at the track.
The race saw just one full-course caution when Sato’s teammate, Graham Rahal, stopped on course on Lap 57 and Carlin’s Max Chilton slid into a tire barrier shortly after.
Barber Motorsports Park officials announced a three-day attendance of 82,889. An encore telecast of Sunday's race airs at noon ET Monday on NBCSN.
(An in-depth story including driver and team official reaction from the race, will follow.)