Sato Set the 12th Fastest in Practice for the Grand Prix of Portland and Rahal Set the 19th

Grand Prix of Portland – Portland, Oregon
NTT IndyCar Series


1)         Colton Herta          57.4293 / 123.115 mph        (5th in Warmup)
12)       Takuma Sato         58.1906 / 121.504 mph        (20th in Warmup)      
19)       Graham Rahal       58.4616 / 120.941 mph        (7th in Warmup)

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 One Cure Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “While I’m worried about our outright pace a little bit, it seemed like our race pace was very good. It seemed like we were pretty competitive with the guys I was around in practice. In the afternoon session, we got off to a bad start. The car balance was actually very good but it seemed like we were down on power. We’ll be better tomorrow. We ended the day seventh in the race warmup, and almost matched our best time even with full fuel so I feel like we’re in a better place.  We’ve just got to keep working on it tonight.”

  • FAST FACTS: It will be the fifth overall race for Graham at PIR and third in the headline event.  Last year, he started 10th and had gotten through Turns 1 and 2, which was expected to be action-packed at the start, and after getting through Turn 2 Zach Veach squeezed James Hinchcliffe and the two made contact which set off a multi-car crash that collected Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, Rahal, points-leader Scott Dixon and his then teammate Ed Jones.  Rahal’s car was too damaged to continue so it was towed back to the paddock and after more than one hour he returned to the track to complete a handful of laps to collect two championship points, which was the maximum possible. This move helped him at season’s end. He competed in the 2007 Champ Car World Series race where he started eighth and finished ninth in his rookie season for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing.  He started from pole in the Atlantics race here in 2006 but was hit by Simon Pagenaud on Lap 1 and finished 27th.  In 2005, he earned his first professional win at PIR in the Star Mazda race after starting fourth and winning by a margin of 0.0317 seconds over James Hinchcliffe.  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 dropped from seventh to eighth in series point standings with a total of 346.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It’s nice to be back here. We have great memories from last year. It was a good day, I think. We had no major problems so we completed the program we wanted today. I don’t think we have the perfect handling at the moment but I think at least we understand the two types of tires more through medium-ish and long runs and that’s really important. For qualifying, I think we still need to work on it really hard tomorrow morning to get extra speed because it feels like we are still lacking speed. But at least the car felt pretty good on long runs.”

  • FAST FACTS: Is the defending winner of the event after starting 20th in his first event here last year.  He led a total of 23 laps including the final 20 on what was largely a two-stop strategy plus an early pit to top off on fuel during an opening lap caution that took out four cars including his teammate Rahal. On the start, he avoided a multi-car crash and once the pits opened during the caution, he pit to top off his fuel and returned to the track in 16th place.  Topping off on fuel enabled him to cycle as high as second when he made his second stop for tires and fuel on Lap 39.  He returned to the track in 17th place and maintained a good pace to those on two and three-stop strategies. He moved up to 10th on Lap 45 when drivers ahead took advantage of the caution for Will Power and pit. He passed Chaves for 9th on Lap 47 and held the position until three-stoppers began to pit. He was in seventh place when a caution came out for Veach. As the front runners pit during the caution, he stayed on track and cycled to second place.  When the race went green on Lap 60/105, he held second place behind Ryan Hunter-Reay for a total of 14 laps before Hunter-Reay have to make another stop.  He took over the lead on Lap 71 and held it until he made his final stop on Lap 76. He returned to the track in second place to Max Chilton, who still had to pit. A caution came out for Ferrucci. The race went green on Lap 81 and Chilton pit for fuel on Lap 85. Sato had a 0.74-second lead over Hunter-Reay which he build to one second by Lap 100 of 105. He held off Hunter-Reay and took the checkered flag 0.6084 ahead of him to win… 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 267.

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT PORTLAND … Sato brought the team its second win here last year in Indy car racing’s returning to Portland International Raceway (PIR) for the first time since the 24th consecutive race was held in 2007.  The 2019 race will mark the 14th time for RLL to compete in an Indy car race here.  The team competed in CART and Champ Car-sanctioned races at PIR from 1992-2003 with a best starting position of pole by Bryan Herta in 1998 and Max Papis in 2001 and best finish of first place by  Max Papis in 2001 and Sato in 2018. RLL has earned a total of four podium finishes (3rd – B. Rahal 1995, Herta 1998) and has led a total of 114 laps here (1998: Herta, 20; 2001: Papis, 69, Sato: 25). In addition, the team competed in the Toyota Atlantic races here in 2003 (Danica Patrick, Jon Fogerty) and 2004 (Patrick and Chris Festa).

NEXT UP:  Practice 3 will take place tomorrow from 11:00-11:45 a.m. PT and qualifying will take place from 3:00-4:15.  NBCSN will broadcast qualifying coverage at 6 PM ET Saturday. Timing and Scoring information and live streaming video is available for all sessions from and includes live commentary. The Grand Prix of Portland will be televised live on NBCSN beginning at 3 PM ET Sunday, September 1.