Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Iowa Corn 300 – Iowa Speedway
Verizon IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, July 7, 2018
SATO AND RAHAL WILL START 10TH AND 12TH IN SUNDAY’S IOWA CORN 300 AT IOWA SPEEDWAY
POLE: Will Power – 2-lap avg. speed of 182.391 mph (L1: 17.6810, L2: 17.6112)
10th: Takuma Sato – 2-lap avg. speed of 178.708 mph (L1: 18.0678, L2: 17.9507)
12th: Graham Rahal – 2-lap avg. speed of 178.410 mph (L1: 18.0323, L2: 18.0463)
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Luther Automotive Group Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The Luther Automotive Group car accelerates pretty darn well so I expected to be in the first few rows so I’m definitely disappointed. We had a huge amount of understeer and that hurt us but we’ll keep chasing it. It was weird; it felt like the front tires weren’t even on the ground which isn’t anything like this morning. We knew with the hotter track temp we would be chasing that a little bit but it’s not overly hot here today. In race trim, up high we’ll be perfectly fine. But in the car, what do you do? I softened the bar and went left on the jacker which is all the tools you have. Other than that, just hang on.”
- FAST FACTS: Will be his 11th race here. He has earned seven top-10 finishes in 10 starts with his best being fourth in 2015. In 2017, he ran fourth most of the race but finished fifth after starting 10th. The race was halted after 200 of 300 laps for approx. 20 minutes due to light sprinkles while Rahal was fourth. Late in the race, he lost track position due to being behind a lapped car of rookie Gutierrez and once he was able to pass, he ran out of time to move higher than fifth. In 2016, he started 12th and was up to fifth during the pit cycle before his first pit stop on Lap 58/300. After his stop, he maintained a position around 11th place. He was a lap down but got waved around during the caution period for Hunter-Reay (L109-127) and made a stop at the end of that caution and gained four spots to run eighth. He had previously reported a vibration before that stop and repeated the assessment around Lap 168. The problem kept appearing mid-stint and until the end of the race which forced the team to pit earlier than expected on the remaining stops and Rahal ultimately finished 16th. It was his ninth race here… Rahal earned his best finish at Iowa Speedway of fourth place in 2015 despite dropping a total of three laps down during the race. He started 17th and was 10th when he had to pit early due to his right rear tire deflating and went two laps down to the leader. Later he got back on the lead lap and reported a shifting issue on Lap 98/300 that slowed his return to the track from his second pit stop after having to reboot and he dropped a lap down again. Later in the race, the team took advantage of a caution period to pit for fuel and new tires which would enable them to go further than the leaders on the next stint and possibly pick up a yellow that would put them back on the lead lap. While leading and with five laps to go before they were forced to pit for their last stop, Sato brought out a caution period and the team stopped for fuel and tires. Due to the reoccurring shifting issue, he had to leave the pits in sixth gear rather than first and returned to the track in eight place, and on the lead lap. The race restarted with 23 laps to go and Rahal moved from eighth place into fourth by Lap 294/300. He held his position and finished fourth but he and the team felt like they had earned a victory of sorts… In 2014, he started 15th and stayed on the lead lap with the help of the timing of the caution periods. He made his sixth stop on a late race caution period for Montoya and returned to the track in 10th place. Once the race was restarted with six laps to go he moved up to eighth place and passed Castroneves on the final lap for seventh. He set the 19th fastest lap time in single-car qualifying in 2013 to determine that he would be in Heat Race 2. He drove to victory in Heat Race 2 after starting seventh and progressed to Heat Race 3 where he also started seventh. Contact with Ed Carpenter on Lap 16 of 50 damaged his front wing and he held on to finish ninth of 10 cars to match his best start at Iowa of ninth. He started sixth after engine penalties were served and charged from 10th to second on his second stint. He challenged for the win and led Lap 160 until the last 20 laps where he dropped to fourth while navigating traffic and then fifth on the final lap. In 2012 he qualified 10th, started 20th (penalty for unapproved engine change) and finished ninth with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR). In 2011 he qualified 20th and finished 15th with SCCGR. In 2010, he qualified 17th with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, led 11 laps and finished ninth. In 2009 he qualified ninth and finished 11th with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) and in 2008 he qualified 16th and finished 10th with NHLR… Rahal is ranked sixth in series point standings with a total of 278. Leader Scott Dixon has 393, second place Ryan Hunter-Reay has 348, third place Alexander Rossi also has 348, fourth place Josef Newgarden has 343 and fifth place Will Power has 328.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We were in a relatively better position in qualifying than we were in the first practice but the conditions were quite a bit different. Since we skipped the test here, it was a quite hectic first practice. We struggled with both speed and balance. There was a sketchy moment with some push. It’s quite challenging. I was quite surprised at how hard it is to get a good balance with the new aero kit and am not really satisfied at all with it currently but we will try to get it better for the race.”
- FAST FACTS: Earned his fourth top-10 start at Iowa Speedway with 10th place today in nine attempts… In his previous eight races at Iowa Speedway, Takuma’s best start is pole in 2011 with KV Racing where he also led seven laps and his best finish is 11th place in 2016 with A.J. Foyt Racing. He has three top-10 starts including fifth place last year with Andretti Autosport where he finished 16th… 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 ranked 13th in series point standings with 201.
RLL AT IOWA: The Iowa Corn 300 will mark the ninth event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at Iowa Speedway. The best finish for the team is third in 2007 by Scott Sharp who also earned the top start for the team of fourth the same year. Prior to the 2018 event, the team prepared a total of 10 entries for drivers Scott Sharp (2007), Jeff Simmons (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Takuma Sato (2012) Graham Rahal (2013-2017) and James Jakes (2013). The team has earned one podium (3rd, Sharp 2007) and five, top-10 finishes at the track.
NEXT UP: Final practice will take place tonight from 5:45-6:45 p.m. CT. The Iowa Corn 300 will take the Green Flag at 1:40 p.m. CT. NBCSN will begin live coverage of the race at 2 p.m. ET. Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com and includes commentary by the Advance Auto Parts NDYCAR Radio Network.