An Opening Lap Crash Damaged Sato’s Car and He Ultimately Finished 15th; Rahal Retired in 23rd Place After Opening Lap Crash

Grand Prix of Portland – Portland, Oregon
NTT IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – September 1, 2019


GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 One Cure Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I messed up. I misjudged it bad and take it on the chin. To be honest I lost my depth there a little bit in the pack.  Obviously I misjudged it by not just a little, but by quite a lot. I’m disappointed, not just for myself but also for the guys we affected. It hurt Takuma as well.  At the start, the pace was fine and all that but I screwed up. I’m sorry for One Cure and everyone else.”

  • FAST FACTS: Started 15th and misjudged the braking point into the first turn on the opening lap which resulted in a multi-car crash.  His race car was placed outside the track and the team could not attempt to repair it and continue. He retired in 23rd place… Was 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 eighth to ninth in series point standings with a total of 353.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “All I could see was just a mess in front of me (on the start). I tried to avoid everything but somebody’s car went outside and straight into the escape road so I couldn’t turn hard left. All I could do was just go straight and unfortunately a car went inside coming toward me, which I couldn’t avoid so we had a damaged sidepod, aero and toe link so we had to repair it and I ended up two laps down.  We tried everything we could but we gained a few positions as some retired but it was a tough day for us.’

  • FAST FACTS: Started 17th and was hit during the aftermath of the opening-lap crash. He had to pit to repair damage to his right rear tow link and bodywork and ultimately went two laps down.  He took the checkered flag 15th and maintained his sixth place series rank… Was the defending winner of the event after starting 20th in his first event here in 2018.  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 maintained his sixth-place rank in series standings with a total of 397 points.