Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
NTT IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – August 31, 2019
RAHAL WILL START 15TH AND SATO 17TH IN THE GRAND PRIX OF PORTLAND
1) Colton Herta 57.8111 / 122.302 mph (Group 2, Round 3)
15) Graham Rahal 57.9648 / 121.977 mph (Group 1, Round 1)
17) Takuma Sato 57.9668 / 121.973 mph (Group 1, Round 1)
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 One Cure Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We go on about impeding progress and that’s a big thing in qualifying. The first lap, second lap maximum are where these tires are their best. To start my first flyer, I was six seconds behind him (Veach) and to finish it, I was under one second. To be five seconds off on your first flyer is ridiculous and it killed our run. And the lap was solid, it was a low nine (57.9) so I knew I had to finish it but then I was up his gearbox and that was it. I’m disappointed. On the blacks (primary tires) in particular, I thought our car was very good. I think we were less than a tenth off. The One Cure machine is going to have some work to do tomorrow. I think our race car will be good though.”
- 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 is eighth in series point standings with a total of 346.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We tried to have a good qualifying but it seems that we didn’t have enough speed to get into the next round. The field is extremely tight. We’re talking about two-hundredths of a second to make it to the next segment. We thought we had quite a good car today so its shame that we didn’t move on but I feel very positive for the race. We will try to make tomorrow a good one.”
- 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… His highest start of the season is pole at Barber (road) and Texas (oval) and his highest finish is his win at Barber and St. Louis… Has FIVE IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road, St. Louis short oval) 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 sixth in series standings with a total of 382 points.
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: The Grand Prix of Portland will be televised live on NBCSN beginning at 3 PM ET Sunday, September 1.