MADISON, Ill – The average age of the podium for Saturday night’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 was 41. That’s because another veteran in Sebastien Bourdais crashed in Turn 4 on Lap 189 bringing out the fifth and final caution of the evening.
At the time, Takuma Sato, Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter were running 1-2-3. They’d yet to pit. Factor in Josef Newgarden in fourth, they were the only ones on the lead lap. That was the turning point of the race.
Prior to that yellow, it was still going to be a fuel save race but not among these three. But, the yellow brought them to the front and the clean air helped them stay there as Sato won for the second time of the season, Kanaan earned his first podium in two years and Carpenter earned his best finish since the 2018 Indy 500.
For Sato, it was redemption for a week of criticism against him in wake of last Sunday’s first lap accident at the Pocono Raceway. It was also his third trip to victory lane since he joined Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing as three of his five wins have come with this organization.
In terms of Carpenter, he backed up his sixth place run last week with a second this one. This was his final race of the season as he moves back into an owners role for the final two weeks. In three of his five races this year, he’s finished sixth or better.
Kanaan, got his first podium since Texas in 2017. He too has been strong on ovals this season as all four of his top 10 finishes in 2019 were on ovals.