Takuma Sato shocked the field by winning the Bommarito Automotive Group 500, his 5th career win, 2nd win this year.
“Incredible win,” said Sato. “So happy to be racing for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing”
Last week Sato received some criticism last week for being involved in an accident that took out season championship contender Alexander Rossi out of the race. One week later he is on top of the IndyCar racing.
“Its like that, one week your a zero, the next week you are hero,” said Josef Newgarden describing Sato’s week. “In professional sports you lived day by day.”
For his part Sato in the post race press conference, he was very complimentary of the fans in attendance at World Wide Technology Raceway.
“This year the cheering, (the fans) screaming my name so much.” said Sato. “I just can’t find the words to thank you for all the support.”
The race start did not go well at first for Sato as he found himself in last place during the first part of the race.
“A difficult start” said Sato. “I was sandwiched, then go backwards. It was difficult to get away the first stint.”
But he and his team stayed the course and they made several adjustments during early and frequent pit stops. But it was eventually great fuel mileage and a perfectly timed yellow that allowed him get to front. From there he held on especially in the final laps as part-time IndyCar driver and race team owner Ed Carptenter made a hard charge to the finish line but was unable to pass Sato.
“Even just another straightaway,” said Carpenter. “I maybe could have gotten Takuma! We were really good on the long runs tonight.”
Carpenter who only races on oval tracks in the IndyCar season and this is the last oval race for 2019. The remaining races are road courses.
“This was a great way to finish the year.” said Carpenter. “It would have been a little better if we could have gotten a win, I definitely gave it all I had. It was fun to be back up at the front again.”
Polesitter and 2017 Bommarito 500 winner, Josef Newgarden took the early lead dominated the early parts of the race.
“I think if we were a little bit better in traffic we could have made something happen,” said Newgarden. “Now we’ve just got to try and have a couple of better rounds here to finish the season off.”
He was racing in 5th place coming into the last turn when Santino Ferrucci who was in fourth, slid down the track, nearly colliding with Newgarden, but Newgarden was able to avoid contact by going in the grass and then his car spun down the front stretch towards the finish line. He finally got straighten out to finish in 7th place.
“I was so happy that I wasn’t in the fence,” said Newgarden.
Newgarden had words with Ferrucci who is a rookie drive in the series.
“Santino needs to learn from this,” said Newgarden
Santino Ferrucci driving for the Dale Coyne Racing dominated large stretches of the race. He led the race 3 different times for 97 laps. He has never won in Indy Car. He started the race from the 6th position, which is his highest qualifying position in IndyCar racing. Ferruci has driven for the Haas F1 development driver for the last three seasons. Was the youngest winner of a British Formula 3 race at age 16. Has also raced in GP3 Series (Now FIA Formula 3) and FIA Formula 2.
Last year’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 winner, Will Power, was out early in this year’s race and finished in last place.
“I came out on cold tires and just got a little bit out of the groove,” said Power. “And man, it’s like ice. There are so many marbles because they brought the new tire that really sheds the rubber.”
Scott Dixon car’s radiator was damaged in the first lap and his team had trouble repairing and was out of race for long stretches while the team tried to repair it. Dixon did return to race but retired again and finished in 20th place greatly impacting his goal for winning the season championship.
But the night belonged to Takuma Sato who after a rough race last week and very difficult star to the 2019 Bommarito Automotive Group 500, he was able to prevail providing an exciting finish to the large crowd in the stands.
“Besides winning Indy 500, this is the most gratifying win,” said Sato. “So special, so unbelievable”
Story by: Kevin Proot – St. Louis Motor Racing News/www.stlracing.com
Photos by: Larry Vancil – St. Louis Motor Racing News/www.stlracing.com
1. (5) Takuma Sato, Honda, 248, Running
2. (17) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 248, Running
3. (20) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 248, Running
4. (6) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 248, Running
5. (4) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 248, Running
6. (18) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 248, Running
7. (1) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 248, Running
8. (9) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 248, Running
9. (12) Colton Herta, Honda, 248, Running
10. (22) Marco Andretti, Honda, 248, Running
11. (10) Felix Rosenqvist, Honda, 248, Running
12. (7) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 247, Running
13. (11) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 247, Running
14. (15) Zach Veach, Honda, 247, Running
15. (19) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 247, Running
16. (14) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 247, Running
17. (21) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 246, Running
18. (16) Graham Rahal, Honda, 226, Mechanical
19. (2) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 189, Contact
20. (8) Scott Dixon, Honda, 136, Mechanical
21. (13) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 131, Contact
22. (3) Will Power, Chevrolet, 52, Contact
Winner’s average speed: 136.874 mph
Time of Race: 2:15:53.4687
Margin of victory: 0.0399 of a second
Cautions: 5 for 49 laps
Lead changes: 13 among 11 drivers