Sato Sixth Fastest Overall in Practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach; Rahal 11th

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Verizon IndyCar Series
NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, April 13, 2018


1) Scott Dixon 1:08.4112 / 103.562 mph (Time from Practice 1; 5th in Practice 2)
6) Takuma Sato 1:08.9295 / 102.783 mph (Time from Practice 1; 4th in Practice 2)
11) Graham Rahal 1:09.2349 / 102.330 mph (Time from Practice 1; 8th in Practice 2)

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Total Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was an okay day. I think the Total Honda was good right off the bat on blacks (Firestone primary tires) comparatively. When we went to reds I think we lost the handling a little bit. We also had a really poor out lap. We were trying to get a big gap (on track ahead). We went out too early and I didn’t even get to get any temperature in them and I think the reds are only spectacular on one lap and we just missed it. Unfortunately that was that. Saturday is a new day so hopefully we can improve the Total Honda slightly and go from there. We have some work to do to catch some of the guys up front but overall it was a good day. The car is not bad, but it’s not quite good enough but we will keep working away to try our best to get a car capable of winning here. It was a textbook Long Beach Grand Prix day; great weather and a great crowd.”

· FAST FACTS: Will be his 12th Champ or Indy car race here and 13th overall … His top finish is second place in 2013 with RLL after starting 11th and top start is fifth in 2007 with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and he finished eighth after slow fuel flow pit strategy… A recap of results is available upon request… In the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Series race here he started seventh and finished fifth… Has SIX IndyCar Series wins (2008 – St. Pete street course; 2015 – Fontana Super Speedway, Mid-Ohio road course; 2016 – Texas Super Speedway; 2017 Detroit Race 1, Detroit Race 2) and THREE poles (2009 – St. Pete street course, Kansas oval; 2017 – Detroit Race 1 street) and his highest series season-ending standing is fourth place in 2015. He is currently ranked fourth in 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series standings with 63 points.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We made good progress today. It was productive day until the end of the session. We have more work to do because the lap time is not representative of what we feel we can get out of it. We made good progress from the first session and hopefully we will continue that tomorrow.”

· FAST FACTS: He made contact in Turn 1 at the end of Practice 2 and the session ended under a red flag. The race car sustained damage to the right side… Will be his 9th race here… His highest start and finish here came in 2013 with A.J. Foyt Enterprises when he led 50 laps and won from a fourth place start. The race prior to that was with RLL in 2012 and he led 16 laps and was third when he was hit by Hunter-Reay on the final lap and finished eighth after starting eighth. His other top-10 start came in 2016 with Foyt (8th) and other top-10 finish was fifth in 2016, also with Foyt… Has TWO IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval) and SEVEN poles (2011 Iowa oval, Edmonton street; 2013 Houston Race 1 street; 2014 St. Pete street, Detroit Race 2 street; 2017 Detroit Race 2, Pocono oval). He is currently ranked 12th in series point standings with 37 points.

3 POLES, 6 PODIUMS FOR RLL IN 18 INDY CAR RACES AT LONG BEACH: This marks the 19th time for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) to compete in the main event. In total, the team has won three poles (Herta 1998, Vasser 2002, Jourdain, Jr. 2003); made five front row starts including an all-Team Rahal front row in 1998 (2nd – Rahal 1998, Brack 2001); earned their best finish of second place four times (Rahal 1992-1993, Vasser 2002, G. Rahal 2013) and earned six podiums here (2nd – Rahal 1992-1993, Vasser 2002 & G. Rahal 2013; 3rd – Herta 1998-1999). Although the team didn’t compete in Indy car races here from 2004-2011 while they fielded a fulltime entry in the Indy Racing League (2004-2008), they did compete in the 2003 and 2004 Atlantic races with Danica Patrick and in the 2007 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race. In 2009, the team returned to the streets of Long Beach in the GTLM class of the ALMS with BMW Team RLL and has finished on the podium each year but 2016 and 2017 although they started from pole in 2016 and led in 2017 before an electrical issue forced them to fall back. Despite not finishing on the podium the past two years, Long Beach is the most successful venue for the team on the current IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule. The team has won the race three times (2011, 2013 and 2015), has eight podium finishes and started from pole five out of nine years.

NEXT UP: Practice will take place Saturday morning from 10:45-11:30 a.m. PT and qualifying will take place from 3:30-4:45 PM PT. NBCSN will begin coverage of qualifying at 6:30 p.m. ET Saturday. Timing and Scoring information and live streaming video is available for all sessions from The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be televised live on NBCSN beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET Sunday, April 15.