Rahal Finished Fifth in the Toyota GP of Long Beach After an Early Penalty; Sato Was Sixth When Contact with Hunter-Reay Damaged His Car and Limited His Result

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Verizon IndyCar Series
NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, April 15, 2018




GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Total Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I’m sorry about what happened to Simon. That’s not how I like to do things. It’s just like St. Pete, the rears (tires) locked up and I barely made the corner. I think Dixon bailed out because he thought I wasn’t going to make it.  It hurt my race too obviously with getting the penalty, having to go to the back and battle our way through. I think we had a car that could have had a shot at Rossi today. We made some changes for the race and the Total car was fantastic. I’m really disappointed in myself and disappointed in the way that it all began but I’m proud of the Total team for the way that it finished. We made a lot of passes today.  I passed more cars here today that I have passed in a long time.  We had a lot of fun but we want to win. Yes, it’s a good start to the year and with our United Rentals Turns for Troops program, we raised a lot more money. To be third and finish all the laps so far and finish in the top-five a couple of times and get a podium so far is good but this was our best weekend yet.  We deserved to be there this weekend and that’s why it’s a little bittersweet.”


  • FAST FACTS: After starting in fifth place, he passed fourth place Dixon but slid into the back of third place Pagenaud, who hit the wall in Turn 1. He was given a drive through penalty and dropped to 22nd. Due to being in the back of the field, the team opted for a three-stop strategy and he made his first stop for fuel and tires on Lap 12/85. As many in the field began to make their first stop, he climbed to 12th by Lap 30 before he made his second stop on Lap 33.  He was forced to use much of his 200 seconds of Push to Pass to get by cars.  He made another stop under caution for Kaiser on Lap 44 and was 13th when Claman de Melo brought out a caution on Lap 60.  Bourdais and Dixon entered a closed pit and once the pits opened most made a stop which cycled Rahal up to seventh.  Once Dixon served a drive through penalty, Rahal moved to sixth on Lap 68. He passed Andretti for fifth and held the position for 15 laps until the checkered flag… Was 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 moved from fourth to third in 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series standings with 93 points.



TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a tough race but it was an exciting one. After the warm-up we made the decision that strategy is one thing but you have to overtake a lot so we changed the setup and it worked really well.  I was able to overtake one by one. It was a strong car. In the end we came back and got to sixth just by fighting without anybody’s help so that was a strong result for us.  Unfortunately after the restart Hunter-Reay got a huge slide in Turn 5 and got grip back and came back towards me and I tried to avoid him.  It was really light contact but unfortunately that damaged our suspension so we had to pit to replace it. It’s a big shame. It could have been a podium finish with the position we were in but we take some positives away.”


  • FAST FACTS: He started 22nd in the 85-lap race and had climbed to 13th by Lap 15/85 and was sixth when he made his first stop on Lap 27. He returned to the track in 14th place and continued to pass cars. He had climbed back into sixth when contact with Hunter-Reay on Lap 46 forced a pit stop to repair damage.  When he returned to the track, he was 11 laps down and ultimately finished in 21st place in his ninth 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 dropped from 12th to 14th in series point standings with 46 points.


NEXT UP:  The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will take place next weekend at Barber Motorsports Park and the 90-lap race will be televised live beginning at 3 p.m. ET.  Timing and Scoring information and live streaming video is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com