A Battery Issue Limited Rahal’s Finish to 23rd After Running as High as Fifth in Sonoma; Sato Retired with an Electrical Problem After Running as High as Seventh

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma – Sonoma Raceway

Verizon IndyCar Series

RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, September 16, 2018




GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Total Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “What happened in the race was our year in a nutshell. It was obviously disappointing to have the race end how it did. The guys did a great job and the Total car was pretty good in the race. We lost power. We had a battery that exploded unfortunately and that cost us everything. It was a very disappointing and frustrating day. I will say this though, we have had a hard year but I don’t think I have ever been as proud to work with a group of guys as I am this year. These guys never quit. They focused on doing the best they could at all times and busted their butts.  I know this is a great sign of things to come.”


  • FAST FACTS: Started ninth and passed Power and Pagenaud on the start as well as championship contender Rossi, who made contact with his teammate Andretti, to take over sixth place.  He made his first stop on Lap 14 and came out of the pits alongside teammate Sato.  As others made their stops, he cycled up to fifth place, which he held for eight laps before his red alternate tires began to lose their performance.  He was passed on Lap 26 by Power, Lap 32 by Bourdais and Lap 35 by Jones before he pit for the more durable primary tires. He returned to the track in eighth place and held the position until he reported that the car shut off on Lap 43/85. His car was towed to the garage and in an effort to salvage as many points as possible in a double-points race, the team replaced the battery that had exploded and he rejoined the race while the leaders were on Lap 57.  He ultimately completed a total of 66 laps by the time he retired in 23rd position near the end of the race… Was his 11th Indy car race here. His best start is fifth place and best finish is second – both in 2016 with RLL.  He has earned two top-five finishes and six top-10’s in 11 races. In 2017, he entered the Sonoma race seventh in points and moved to sixth in season-ending standings after finishing sixth.  Has SIX IndyCar Series wins (2008 – St. Pete street course; 2015 – Fontana Super Speedway, Mid-Ohio road course; 2016 – Texas oval; 2017 – Race 1 & 2 Detroit streets) and THREE poles (2009 – St. Pete street course, Kansas oval; 2017 – Detroit Race 1 street).  His highest series season-ending standing is fourth place in 2015… He ended the season ranked eighth in series point standings with a total of 392. 


TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I think we had a good start and were moving up on the track. We overtook three cars so it was looking really positive at the start. I felt the car was strong and the strategy looked good. Graham and I were on the same strategy but we both were looking really good so I was positive but unfortunately we had a mechanical failure so we had to stop.  It’s a pity to finish the season like this especially for the boys who worked so hard the entire season. Of course we had a good highlight two weeks ago but we wanted to carry good momentum into 2019.  Having said that it was a good day for myself and the team as we announced we were together again next year. The last race in Sonoma is disappointing but there is a great feeling for next year.  We will work hard on development over the winter and come back strong for 2019.  Thank you very much to the entire team. I enjoyed the year.”


  • FAST FACTS: After starting 12th, he moved to 10th after passing Veach and championship-contender Rossi who hit his teammate Andretti and dropped back. By Lap 7, he was in ninth place after he passed Pagenaud. He passed O’Ward and Bourdais on Lap 11 for seventh place before making his first stop on Lap 14. On his out lap, an electrical issue surfaced and he had to pit and subsequently retire from the race in 25th place… Was his 9th race at Sonoma Raceway.  His best start here of fifth place came last year with Andretti Autosport and his best finish came in 2014 of fourth place with A.J. Foyt Racing. He has a total of two top-10 finishes with eighth place in 2015, also with A.J. Foyt Racing.  Has THREE IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road course) 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 ended the season with a 12th place rank in series point standings with 351.