Rahal Took the Checkered Flag Third But Was Dropped to a Fourth Place Finish in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach; Sato Finished Eighth

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach
Round 4 of 17 in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, April 14, 2019


GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 TOTAL Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was kind of an unfortunate end to our day to get the penalty but ultimately I think that everybody on this TOTAL Oil team worked really hard this weekend. They knew we were here; we were competitive once again. On the penalty, I stand by my move. I’ve reviewed it, I’ve watched it.  I’ve watched the head on clip, the overhead clip. I moved right as quick as I could out of the corner and then I gave him (Dixon) a lane. By the rules you’re allowed to make your move, which I did on the exit of the corner. That was it. Look, I’m not upset about it. We had a good day. Our car wasn’t great today, but it was decent and the TOTAL Oil team pushed hard. That’s all we can say. Did I block? Yes, I blocked; you’re allowed to block in this series. You’re allowed to make a move, (and) I made a move. That’s allowed. I didn’t go back to the left; there’s a lane to the left. He had overtake (left), I didn’t. If he wanted to go (there) he could go. At the end of the day, P4. Do we deserve P3? Probably, but you know what, it was a good day and good points for us. We haven’t had a lot of luck this season, so I’ll just take it as it is and move on. We’ve got the (Indy) Grand Prix, we’ve got the 500. I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully we’ll go get a couple of wins there.”

  • FAST FACTS: Started sixth in the 85-laps race and got by Pagenaud on the start for fifth place.  He was the highest ranked driver that opted to start the race on the primary tires. He cycled up to third as the first pit stops started before he made his stop on Lap 28. He reclaimed fifth place but moved into fourth on Lap 34 when Power had an issue and fell back. He held fourth until his second stop on Lap 55 and climbed up to third on Lap 58 after previous third place runner had a fuel issue on his stop.  He held third for the next 28 laps and in the closing stages of the race, Dixon passed Hunter-Reay for fourth on Lap 82 of 85 and closed on Rahal on the final lap but was unable to pass.  After the race, the series ruled that Rahal had blocked him and he had to give up the position so he was scored in fourth… Was his 13th Champ or Indy car race here and 14th 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… He also competed in the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Series race here… 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 13th in series point standings to ninth with 90 points.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a tough race, no moves really.  I got off the line in eighth and had a good battle with Simon (Pagenaud) in the first two stints.  We tried to undercut on the second stop but unfortunately instead we lost a place to Will (Power) and that was it. There were no yellows and I tried everything I could but it was difficult to get the balance. We had to go to the black tire in the end (stint) because we knew the reds were faster but we just couldn’t get the balance. We will have a road course and speedway test at Indianapolis Motors Speedway. The month of May is always exciting. We are carrying good momentum now so hopefully we have a good, strong test that we can transfer to good results.”

  • FAST FACTS: Started eighth and held his position until the first round of stops began and he cycled into the lead on Lap 29 before he pitted.  He returned to eighth place and took over seventh when Power had an issue on Lap 34. On his second stop on Lap 55, he lost a position to Power in the pits and once he returned to the track, he held eighth until the checkered flag… Was his 10th 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… When he arrived to Long Beach last year, he had two series wins but has doubled that entering race weekend this year.  His FOUR IndyCar Series wins include: 2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road.  He has EIGHT 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; 2019 Barber road).  He dropped from third to fourth in series point standings with 116 points.

NEXT UP:  The team will test on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval on April 24 and road course on April 29.