Sato continues to drive in elite INDYCAR company

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PORTLAND, Ore. -- Takuma Sato did more than win the NTT IndyCar Series’ most recent race, at World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis, he achieved what could be called the INDYCAR Slam. The short-track victory gave him a trophy from each of the sport’s four different types of tracks.

Sato is now part of an elite group of active drivers to have won INDYCAR races on a permanent road course, a temporary street circuit, a short oval track and a superspeedway.

Few might have noticed, but Sato did.

“For sure, I did,” the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver (No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda) said. “I think it’s certainly a great achievement for myself to win all different types of race tracks where INDYCAR is all about. This is one of the reasons the series is so attractive, the variety of the tracks. Now, it proves we can win, when possible.”

Sato’s first road course win came here at Portland International Raceway last year (he added another at Barber Motorsports Park earlier this season). He won his street circuit race at Long Beach in 2013, and he won the 2017 Indianapolis 500.

Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud are the other active INDYCAR drivers to have won at all four types of tracks. Officially, Graham Rahal doesn’t have a short track win, but a win at Texas Motor Speedway arguably checks that box. Josef Newgarden doesn’t have a superspeedway win, but again, winning at Texas is a noteworthy substitute.

Sato’s recent win also gives him three race victories over this calendar year: Portland, Barber and Gateway. Only Newgarden (four) and Pagenaud (three) have won as many.

Sato stands sixth in the championship standings. He has never finished higher than eighth in a season (that was in 2017).

The weekend's third practice is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. local). NTT P1 Award qualifying is at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. local) on NBCSN. Sunday's action includes live race coverage on NBC begins at 3 p.m. ET (noon PT local) with the green flag at approximately 3:45 p.m. Live radio broadcasts will be available on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (XM 205, Sirius 98, Internet/App 970).

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