Takuma Sato dominated proceedings in the third IndyCar race of 2019 at Barber Motorsport Park but almost threw victory away a few laps from home.
Second-placed Scott Dixon was chased home by Sebastien Bourdais. The Coyne driver had looked in good shape while the race stayed green as he eked out his tyres on a two-stop strategy. However the sole caution period of the day, triggered when Max Chilton slithered into the barrier approaching the pit lane, ensured Sato was able to preserve his advantage.
Honda-powered cars filled the top three and seven of the top eight places. Josef Newgarden was the first Penske driver home, a forceful move on Alexander Rossi securing fourth place for the driver who’d started 16th.
It was an unusually poor weekend for the all-conquering outfit. Simon Pagenaud took ninth and Will Power, who started the first two races of the year from pole position, limped in a distant 11th and stopped on the victory lap with a fuel shortage.
Schmidt Peterson drivers James Hinchcliffe and Marcus Ericsson took sixth and seventh, the latter despite dropping towards the rear of the field following an early first pit stop. Ryan Hunter-Reay took eighth ahead of Pagenaud and Felix Rosenqvist.
Colton Herta, the surprise winner at the Circuit of the Americas, droped out early on with engine problems. Sato’s team mate Graham Rahal, who started on him on the front row, was also sidelined with technical trouble.
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