Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
DXC Technology 600 – Texas Motor Speedway
Verizon IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, June 8, 2018
SATO QUALIFIED NINTH AND RAHAL 20TH FOR SATURDAY NIGHT’S DXC TECHNOLOGY 600 AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
POLE: Josef Newgarden 2-lap avg. speed of 220.613 mph (L1: 220.444, L2: 220.782 mph)
9th: Takuma Sato 2-lap avg. speed of 218.578 mph (L1: 218.703, L2: 218.453 mph)
20th: Graham Rahal 2-lap avg. speed of 216.092 mph (L1: 215.487, L2: 216.092 mph)
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Fleet Cost & Care Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We’re not as good as we should be on these superspeedways right now. It’s kind of been our weakness over the last handful of years. This team has been good everywhere else but we struggle on this type of track. The out lap was super loose, I had a lot of understeer on the first lap and the second lap was better. It was just an inconsistent balance which is the same as I had this morning. Takuma is doing a good job but I am just unhappy with the car. We didn’t have a great practice and it just carried over to qualifying. We’ll see what practice brings tonight and try to bounce back Saturday night.”
- FAST FACTS: In his 10 races here, his best start came in 2012 of third and best finish is his win in 2016. In 2017, Rahal drove to a 4th place finish after avoiding many crashes in an action-packed 248-lap race that saw a red flag stop to clear the track after a crash that collected eight cars and later, competition yellows for mandatory pit stops for new tires, among other events. Near the end of the race, Rahal pitted from fifth place on Lap 225/248 during a competition yellow and mandatory stop but stalled leaving the pits and returned to the track in ninth. He was in seventh place when Sato and Dixon made contact and collected other cars with four laps to go. The race ended under caution with Rahal in fourth place. The June 11, 2016 race was postponed until June 12 due to rain which again postponed the race to August 27 after the field complete 71 of 248 scheduled laps before rain came again. Rahal had qualified 13th for the race and was in 12th when it was halted. On August 27, he restarted on Lap 72 and quickly moved to sixth place. He maintained a top-five position the majority of the time except after pitting and never was lower than eighth. He ran second many times and only led once – the final lap – and won by a margin of victory of 0.0080-of a second in what is the fifth-closest finish in Indy car history and the closest finish at Texas Motor Speedway. In 2015, he qualified sixth and finished 15th. In 2014, he qualified 21st and finished 12th and in 2013 he qualified 19th and finished 21st after struggling with the handling of his race car. He qualified third in 2012, led 27 laps and looked close to earning what would have been his second series victory but a slight brush of the wall with two laps to go forced him to settle for second place with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR). He qualified 20th for the first of two heat races in 2011 and finished ninth with SCCGR. He drew the fourth starting spot for Race 2 in 2011 and finished 30th. He did not compete in Texas in 2010 during his partial season of competition. He qualified 12th with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) in 2009 but retired in 22nd place after contact. In 2008, he qualified 18th and finished 11th with NHLR…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 seventh in series point standings with a total of 221 points, only 50 behind fifth place Josef Newgarden.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 ABeam Consulting Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a little sketchy in Turns 1 and 2 and I had to lift a little bit because the car was sliding over the bumps; it was a little bit too neutral. But in Turns 3 and 4, I was happy certainly after today’s practice session, I am happy with the speed I achieved. I’m happy that qualifying went extremely well with the 30 car under the circumstances. For the race, we are way over 400 pounds down on downforce from last year so obviously you can expect that the pack will be a little bit stretched out and it will be very difficult to follow as you observed in the Indy 500. With the banking here, typically Texas is a good two-wide race. Once the sun sets, I think you will be able to use the second lane and it will still be an exciting race.”
- FAST FACTS: The 2018 In his nine previous races here, Takuma has a best start of fourth place, two times (2016 with A.J. Foyt Racing; 2011 with KVRT) and has earned two top-10 finishes with the best being fifth place in 2011 with KVRT. He is expecting another exciting race at Texas Motor Speedway… 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 14th in series point standings with 143 points.
RLL AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: The DXC Technology 600 will mark the 16th event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR) at the 1.5-mile, high-banked Texas Motor Speedway oval. The team’s highest start of pole with Scott Sharp came in 2007 and highest finish of first came in 2016 with Graham Rahal. The team earned another front row start in 2004 when Buddy Rice qualified second. Overall the team has earned five top-five finishes and eight top-10’s at the track.