Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
NTT IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – August 17, 2019
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 TOTAL Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We only got two hours of practice today. It was a bit of a struggle to get going but in the end I think our TOTAL car feels pretty strong. I expect us to be competitive. Both Takuma and I start seventh and eighth tomorrow so Row 4 is a good place to start, a lot of great guys to be around. Our car seems fast so I’m cautiously optimistic. Who knows what 500-miles is going to bring and what the conditions will be versus tomorrow versus today but hopefully we’ll have a good strong day, gain some points and get closer to our goal of a top-five finish this season.”
- FAST FACTS: Will be his seventh race here. His highest start is fifth in 2015 and his highest finish is 9th in 2017 although he has run in the top-five all but two races. In 2018, on the start as the field approached the acceleration zone, many drivers reported front runners accelerating then quickly jumping on the brakes. This caught Rahal off guard and he hit Spencer Pigot. Both incurred damage but the pit didn’t open for a few laps as the field was put in order. Once the pits opened, Rahal pitted for a new front nose and was leaving the pits when a five-car crash happened that involved Ryan Hunter-Reay, Robert Wickens, James Hinchcliffe, Takuma Sato and Pietro Fittipaldi. The race was ultimately red flagged for almost two hours while the fencing was repaired. Once restarted, he was in 16th place, and three laps down due to a two-lap penalty for the team working on the car during the red flag as well as a lost lap due to the earlier stop. He moved up to 15th when Kanaan retired and into 14th when Conor Daly brushed the wall. He took the checkered flag in 14th place, four laps down… His highest start of the season is second at Barber and his highest finish is third at Texas Motor Speedway… 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…Rahal is ranked eighth in series point standings with a total of 312.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a tough session. Usually after the practice, we have time to analyze the data and try to come up with a different setup or whatever might be needed. Today we couldn’t but of course everyone is in the same boat. The car was unbalanced today and we needed to do a lot of work to get to a point where we could start working on the setup. Unfortunately, we got to that point at the very last part of the session. If the session started from that point we would have probably been much better. Hopefully we can look over the data tonight and make the car better for the race.”
- FAST FACTS: Will be his seventh race race here. In his six previous races, his best start is pole in 2017 with Andretti Autosport and his best finish is sixth in 2015 after he led three laps with A.J. Foyt Racing. In 2018, he started the race from 10th place and passed Bourdais for 9th but on a restart from a caution involving Rahal and Pigot, cars two rows ahead made contact which set off a multi-car accident and he had nowhere to go and was collected. He was checked in the medical center and cleared to race. He ultimately retired in 21st place. He retired with electrical failure in 2014 and contact in 2013 and 2016 while with A.J. Foyt Racing…. His highest start of the season is pole at Barber (road) and Texas (oval) and his highest finish is his win at Barber … Has FOUR IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road) and NINE 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, Texas oval). He is ranked seventh in the series point standings with 322 points.
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT POCONO AND IN 500 MILE RACES… Will be the seventh race for the team at this track. Rahal earned the best start for the team here with fifth place in 2015 and the best finish is 9th by Rahal in 2017. The team’s highest 500-mile start is pole by Buddy Rice in the 2004 Indy 500 and the team has three 500-mile wins – 2004 Indy 500 by Buddy Rice, 2002 by Jimmy Vasser and 2015 by Graham Rahal – both at Auto Club Speedway.
NEXT UP: The 200-lap ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway will take the Green Flag at 2:45 p.m. ET Sunday. NBC Sports Network will begin live coverage at 2 p.m. ET.