Takuma Sato flies at ISM Raceway
Takuma Sato led three of the four open test sessions at ISM Raceway, helping Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sweep the weekend. | Photo: Chris Jones / INDYCAR

Takuma Sato delivered a sweep of all four sessions for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at the Verizon IndyCar Series open test at ISM Raceway with the fastest lap in the final session.

Sato completed a field-high 158 laps, topping out at 189.855 mph on his 123rd circuit of the 1.022-mile oval to lead both the Session 5 timesheet and the combined results of the two-day open test.

Team Penske’s Will Power turned in a strong lap in the No. 12 Chevrolet to land second on the speed chart, just 0.086 mph slower than Sato.

Tony Kanaan put his new No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing machine in the top five for the third time in four sessions. His 189.632 mph lap came on just the fourth of 65 laps turned and was the third fastest of the weekend.

Reigning series champion Josef Newgarden gave Penske the fourth-fastest speed of the weekend with the No. 1 Chevrolet circling ISM Raceway at 189.399 mph. Marco Andretti was just behind in fifth with his No. 98 Honda being the final car above the 189 mph threshold.

Although the session had a slow start, track activity increased as the conditions got closer to what drivers will experience when they return for the Phoenix Grand Prix in April.

Foyt’s Matheus Leist was the first to bring out a yellow flag when his No. 4 Chevrolet made light contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2. The caution period prompted series officials to sweep the track leading to a 15-minute pause in green-flag running.

Scott Dixon sails into Turn 1 at ISM Raceway
Scott Dixon was ninth fastest in his No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing machine. | Photo: Chris Owens / INDYCAR

Scott Dixon brought out another yellow flag for contact when the back end of the PNC Bank-liveried No. 9 Honda stepped out in Turn 2 while in traffic with 31 minutes remaining in the three-hour session. Dixon was later checked, cleared and released by INDYCAR’s medical director.

Leist found himself against the wall for a second time with 19 minutes left on the clock. After light right-side contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 4, the 19-year-old was able to drive back to pit lane. Eleven minutes later, Leist brushed the wall in the same corner, causing another brief caution.

Graham Rahal brought out the session’s final caution when he lightly touched the wall in Turn 4 with two minutes remaining, bringing the session to an early end. Although Rahal ended Session 5 with the 11th-fastest lap, his 189.090 mph speed from Session 3 placed him fifth on the combined timesheet.

While team testing will continue, the full field will not be back together until the season-opening race on the streets of St. Petersburg on March 11.

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