Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500
Verizon IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING DAY 1 NOTES/QUOTES – May 19, 2018
A CHALLENGING DAY ENDS WITH SATO, RAHAL AND SERVIA LOCKED IN THE FIELD FOR THE 102ND RUNNING OF THE INDY 500 BETWEEN POSITIONS 10 AND 33; FINAL ORDER SET SUNDAY
1st: Helio Castroneves 4-lap avg. speed of 228.919 mph (L1: 228.740, L2: 229.108, L3: 229.080, L4: 228.749)
29th: Takuma Sato 4-lap avg. speed of 225.513 mph (L1: 226.371, L2: 225.786, L3: 224.135, L4: 225.771)
30th: Graham Rahal 4-lap avg. speed of 225.407 mph (L1: 225.337, L2: 225.399, L3: 225.372, L4: 225.518)
31st: Oriol Servia 4-lap avg. speed of 225.007 mph (L1: 225.442, L2: 225.236, L3: 225.440, L4: 223.916)
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We’re in the show and that’s probably as much as I can ask for. We get to go racing. Obviously we have our work cut out for us back where we are but it’s a long race and anything can happen. We will finish it up tomorrow to get our final starting position. Most of all I can’t thank these guys enough. The 15 car, the 30 car and the 64 car guys stayed so late last night to help get everything swapped over. We changed cars, changed engines, gearboxes, uprights and literally built a new car start to finish. They were here until 3:30 AM and were back here at 5:30. The work and effort that was put in is pretty much appreciated and I am honored to work with them. These United Rentals guys have no quit in them. Sure we’d like to qualify 10th tomorrow but, realistically, if we can sneak up to 20th and just hit everything just right that would be ideal. Race day is the important one for the United Rentals team. I’m just happy to be in the show right now!”
- FAST FACTS: He made two qualifying attempts with the first one being the fastest. The second one was approx. 15 minutes before the end of the session. Will be his 11th Indy 500. His best qualifying position in the Indy 500 is fourth in 2009 with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and best finish is third with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 after he led six laps. He ran in the top-five in six of his nine previous races here. Detailed Indy 500 information available upon request. 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 dropped from being tied for third in the standings to sixth with 142 points, only 10 out of third place.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “First of all, I’m glad that Oriol made it after a great save. It was a tough day for all of us. Obviously we are not satisfied at all with where we are. I particularly couldn’t enjoy the lap which was disappointing. (On the problem with his third lap:) I had a little moment, so I had to really lift. It’s tough. The track conditions were not necessarily good, but we are lacking speed, for sure. I ended up lifting off the throttle because I simply couldn’t make the corner. We have a lot of work to be done. We gathered a lot of data over three cars and it’s going to be a long night. Our engineers are working so hard. Hopefully we can put up good lap times tomorrow.”
- FAST FACTS: Reigning winner of the 2017 Indy 500. The 2018 race will be his ninth Indy 500 and second with RLL. In 2012 with RLL, he was alongside eventual winner Franchitti in Turn 1 on the final lap but his race ended due to contact after he was squeezed down on the apron and lost control of his race car. Prior to his 2017 win with Andretti from his best start of fourth place, his highest finish was 13th in 2013 and 2015 – both with A.J. Foyt Racing… 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 13th in series point standings with 90 points.
ORIOL SERVIA, No. 64 Scuderia Corsa / Manitowoc Dallara/Honda/Firestone, entered by Scuderia Corsa with RLL: “It has been probably the biggest roller coaster of my life, just today. We started today’s free practice, eight in the morning, the track was green. The car has been the best it’s been all month. It was perfect. And then we went out in qualifying and I almost crashed in lap one. Thankfully we saved it, came in. We made some changes and we thought we would be pretty solid in the show. We didn’t take any risks and put some downforce back in the car, just to make the show. I went out and the car was as awful as the other attempt. We really don’t know what’s going on. We are going to spend a lot of time looking at the car, but it’s one of those days that’s Indy drama. I was just talking yesterday of how sad it would be, 35 great entries this year and 2 will go home. But that is the drama we were all waiting for, Bump Day. And all of a sudden, there I am thinking it’s going to be me! That is how the day went, we were 33rd and the car was still not right and why? We still don’t know why. We are a great team with Rahal Letterman Lanigan, Scuderia Corsa, Honda, we had all the right ingredients to not only be in the race but challenge for pole. And we almost didn’t make it and that just tells you how challenging this race can be. I would have said this morning we have a shot at Top 9 but I almost didn’t make it. But you saw, Hinchcliffe, my ex-teammate, was on pole position two years ago, not 10, two. And he didn’t make the show today. It just shows how competitive it is, all just trying to find a fine edge. Some people were afraid this car would be maybe easier to drive than last year but obviously we showed it’s not. You have guys in total control and next run you try something and you’re completely off. It’s part of the challenge. We just need to dig in on the data and set up and do it a little bit better than today. But I am super pumped and happy that Scuderia Corsa decided to do the race and decided to do it with me and RLL (which is a group I have worked with in the past) and I would have been so sad for myself but disappointed that the one time they decide to come and we couldn’t make the race. It would have been awful. I am very happy we are in and that we have a great team behind. I know we will have a great car. They are going to enjoy the race and leave this place with a great taste in their mouths. We definitely gave good drama. We told them the 500 is not just May 27th, qualifying and Bump Day usually have its own drama. They definitely felt it and will sleep well like I will tonight!”
- FAST FACTS: He made three qualifying attempts, the first two of which were aborted… The 2018 Indy 500 will be Servia’s 10th in the famed race and fifth with RLL. His best finish overall is fourth in 2012 with Dreyer & Reinbold and best start is third in 2011 with Newman/Haas Racing. In the 2009 Indianapolis 500 with RLL, Servia was in ninth place halfway through the race when a mechanical failure led to his retirement in 26th place. In 2014, he competed for the team in Long Beach, at Barber Motorsports Park and two events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he led seven laps in the road course race but finished 12th, qualified 18th for the Indy 500 and finished 11th. In 2015, Servia retired in 29th place from the Indy 500 with RLL after Ed Carpenter attempted an inside pass while Servia was 15th and took both drivers out of the race after 112 of 200 laps… A native of Pals, Spain, Servia has made 202 starts in CART, Champ Car and the IndyCar Series since his rookie season in 2000. His Indy car highlights include one win (Montreal 2005) and one pole (Surfers Paradise, Australia 2005) as well as a total of 19 top-three, 51 top-five and 101 top-10 finishes.
NEXT UP: Final qualifying will take place tomorrow. Practice will take place from 12-2 and qualifying will take place from 12:45-2:45 p.m. ET. ABC will broadcast the action from 4-6 PM ET.