Sato and Rahal Finished 10th and 12th in Race 1 of the Iowa INDYCAR 250s; Sato Led 49 of 250 Laps

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Iowa INDYCAR 250s – Iowa Speedway
RACE 1 NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, July 17, 2020


GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 One Cure Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was kind of an up and down nights for us. I thought that the One Cure car had periods in the race where we were okay and were able to make up time. You look, we fell down a lap very early in the race and we only finished two down so obviously the pace was alright through the middle stints but we put ourselves in a hole to begin but then we got around some guys a couple of times – it was hard to get by,  and kind of lost track there a little bit. But I thought our guys did a good job in the pits; I thought the strategy was fine. We had one set of tires that we struggled on but other than that we were just kind of trying to work our way to the front. Obviously, Simon did a great job. But when you start where we did and struggled like we did today, it is hard to win a race like this. Hopefully tomorrow is a little better.”

  • FAST FACTS: He started his 13th race here from 21st place and stayed on the lead lap until Lap 23 of 250. The team was on a four-stop strategy and the handling appeared to improve mid-to-late race but he reported a vibration and struggled with the handling of the car so he made another stop from 10th place on Lap 227 and ultimately finished 12th…  He has earned eight top-10 finishes in 12 starts with his best being fourth in 2015. … 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 moved up from a tie for eighth place in series point standings to seventh with a total of 106 points.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I was a tough race but I think we improved a lot in the race although obviously were not able to change the car between qualifying and the race. We focused for the race (in practice) and I think that was right. At one stage we led the race and we were competing in the top three, top five, but unfortunately on the last period of the yellows we decided to divide the two stints so we pitted. Most of the people who finished high today basically stayed out. We need to review the strategy. Nobody knew how it would play out until we finished. I think the boys did a great job and I think we gained quite a lot of good experience today so we should be better tomorrow.”

Takuma Sato on track at the Iowa Speedway (Photo Courtesy of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)
  • FAST FACTS: Qualified sixth and held the position until his first of four planned stops on Lap 46. He was on fresher tires and the strategy appeared to play out perfectly as the race went on and he took the lead from Laps 78-126 and built a comfortable lead over second place Power, that slowly was reduced as the stint wore on. When a caution came out for contact between Herta and VeeKay, from Laps 144-169, the team elected not to pit from third place when the pits opened but the strategy later benefitted others that did. Compounding that, most front runners were able to stretch their fuel until the end due to the previous long caution but Sato made his final stop under green on Lap 193 of 250… In his previous 10 races at Iowa Speedway, Takuma’s best start is pole in 2011 with KV Racing where he also led seven laps and his best finish is third place in 2018… 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 moved up to 15th in series point standings with 90 after top-10 finishes in the past four races.  

RLL AT IOWA: The Iowa INDYCAR 250s will mark the 11th and 12th events for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at Iowa Speedway.  The best finish for the team is third in 2018 by Takuma Sato and 2007 by Scott Sharp who also earned the top start for the team of fourth the same year.  The team has earned two podiums (3rd – Sharp 2007, Sato 2018) and nine, top-10 finishes at the track.   

NEXT UP: Practice 2 will take place tomorrow from 2:30-3:30 p.m. CT.  Race 2 of the Iowa INDYCAR 250s will take the Green Flag at 7:45 p.m. ET.  NBCSN will begin live coverage of the race at 8:30 p.m. ET.  Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from and includes commentary by the INDYCAR Radio Network.