Rahal Fifth in Practice for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Doubleheaders; Sato 15th

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix
NTT IndyCar Series


1)         Alexander Rossi        1:15.1367 / 112.595 mph      
5)         Graham Rahal            1:16.0757 / 111.205 mph       (5th in Practice 1)
15)       Takuma Sato             1:16.7481 / 110.231 mph       (10th in Practice 1)

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I think we had a decent day today. It seems like the Fifth Third Bank car has good pace. The race is going to be interesting. Qualifying is going to be important but I think there are going to be guys throughout the race that are really going to struggle. The tires seemed to be designed to fall off very quickly.  We’re just going to go out there and see what we get but the car has pace. Tomorrow morning (qualifying) is going to be important and we’ve got to put a good lap together and go racing.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be Rahal’s 14th and 15th races here. Last year, he was in second place until he lost control of his race car on the out-lap from his final stop and made hard contact with the wall in Turns 13-14 and retired in 23rd place after starting eighth.  For Race 2, he started ninth and finished fifth.  In 2017, Rahal was either first or second in every on-track session including qualifying and each race.  In Dual 1 last year, Rahal earned his first pole since Kansas 2009 and led a dominating 55 of 70 laps en route to his fifth series victory and first ever from pole.  He handily held the lead with the exception of pit cycles and built a gap of more than 13 seconds at one point before he ultimately won by a six-second margin over Scott Dixon.  For Dual 2, Rahal set the second fastest time in his qualifying group 2 to Sato to start third.  In the race, he passed Hunter-Reay on Lap 8 and closed the gap to pole sitter and leader Sato but could not pass. Sato pit one lap earlier than Rahal, who took the lead on Lap 23 before he made his first of two stops on Lap 24 and returned to the track behind Newgarden who was on a three-stop strategy. Once Newgarden pit on Lap 29, Rahal took over the lead and steadily built his gap to second place to 16 seconds over Sato before his second and final stop on Lap 47.  He then proceeded to build an 18 second gap over second place before he caught traffic.  That reduced his lead to new second place runner Newgarden to 5.5 seconds before a red flag came out for the car of Pigot, who experienced a smoky end. All race cars were stopped in pit lane for approximately 10 minutes while the track was cleared and an attempt to remove marbles was made.  The race resumed with a two lap shootout and Rahal utilized his 57 seconds of Push to Pass over Newgarden’s 36 to keep the lead on the restart before he was able to pull a slight gap before the checkered flag to become the first winner of both races in Detroit.  In total, he led 41 of 70 laps.  His other podiums in the race came in 2014 with second place in Dual 1 and third place in Dual 2 in 2015.  Overall, he has two wins, four podiums and one pole in 13 races 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 is ranked 12th in series point standings with a total of 123 points.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a tough day.  Detroit is always a fun place. It’s the bumpiest track in the series and the fans are always very enthusiastic and knowledgeable.  We really want to carry the momentum after the Indy 500 but today the 30 car struggled a bit.  We need to find a new solution and direction. We split the program between the two cars and the 15 car seems to be happier so we have a big job tonight to get the car better.”

  • FAST FACTS: The 2019 race will be Takuma’s 14th and 15th here.  In 13 races, his best start is two poles (2014 with A.J. Foyt Racing, 2017 with Andretti Autosport), best finish is second in 2015 with AFR and he has led a total of 44 laps in three races.  He started in the top-five in four of 13 races and earned three, top-five and five, top-10 finishes. Last year, He started seventh and finished fifth to earn his best finish of the season to date and begin to create some momentum that has carried through to this year.  He had a minor setback with Race 2 when he started 20th and an alternate fuel strategy didn’t pay off due to timing of caution periods and other factors and he finished 17th. In 2017 he qualified third for Dual 1 and finished eighth and won pole for Race 2 and finished fourth for Andretti Autosport after leading 22 laps.  And in 2012 with RLL, he qualified 12th and retired in 20th after contact. His comeback run to third place in the Indy 500 after dropping to 31st due to an issue on his first pit stop has him even more excited about continuing the momentum… 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 fourth in series point standings with 203 points.

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT DETROIT … The 2019 event will mark the 20th year for RLL to compete at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park and the team’s 26th and 27th races here.  The team’s highest start of pole came in 2017 with Graham Rahal earning his first pole since 2009 in Race 1. Bobby and Graham Rahal have earned a combined total of three wins for the team here. Bobby won the inaugural race in 1992 and Graham is the only driver to have won both races on the same weekend, which he did in 2017. In total, the team has earned seven podiums (2nd – G. Rahal 2014, Jakes 2013 & Max Papis 2000), (3rd – G. Rahal 2015) eight top-five finishes and 16 top-10’s here.

NEXT UP:  Qualifying for Dual 1 will take place tomorrow from 10:45-11:15 a.m. ET and the 70 lap Dual 1 will take the Green Flag at 3:50 PM.  Qualifying for Race 1 is live on INDYCAR Pass from 10:45-11:15 a.m. ET and tape-delayed on NBCSN from 12:00-12:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 1. Qualifying for Race 2 is live on NBCSN and INDYCAR Pass from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 2.  Also live on the AAPIRN and www.indycar.com(timing & scoring + live analysis). The Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit Duals will be televised live on NBC beginning at 3:00 PM ET Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2.