Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing104th Running of the Indianapolis 500
NTT INDYCAR SERIES QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – August 15, 2020
RAHAL AND SATO SET TOP-NINE TIMES TO MAKE IT TO SUNDAY’S FAST NINE SHOOTOUT: PIGOT QUALIFIED 12TH FOR THE 104TH INDIANAPOLIS 500
1st: Marco Andretti 4-lap avg. speed of 231.351 mph (L1: 232.177, L2: 231.559, L3: 230.968, L4: 230.705)
8th: Graham Rahal 4-lap avg. speed of 230.822 mph (L1: 231.102, L2: 230.876, L3: 230.740, L4: 230.572)
9th: Takuma Sato 4-lap avg. speed of 230.792 mph (L1: 231.244, L2: 230.763, L3: 230.710, L4: 230.454)
12th: Spencer Pigot 4-lap avg. speed of 230.539 mph (L1: 231.325, L2: 230.850, L3: 230.261, L4: 229.727)
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I must say that I’m proud of our United Rentals team. Yes, we got an early draw. Yes, that was an advantage but at the same time, we did take advantage of it and we did make it work. We had a very consistent four-lap run today to start our day off and we made it to the Fast Nine tomorrow. The good thing is, we get to be in the Fast Nine. The nerve-racking thing is that we’re in the Fast Nine and we’ve got to do this again. Hopefully, we will have a good day tomorrow, but to have a top-three row start for the Indy 500, we’ll take it. We can race from there. We’ve definitely started a lot worse in recent years so we’ll take it.”
- FAST FACTS: Rahal made two qualifying attempts today. He aborted the second attempt on the first lap after the rear of the car stepped out and he was perilously close to the wall. It was 30 degrees warmer than when he made his first run. His initial 4-lap average held until the end of qualifying at 4:50 p.m. ET… Will be his 13th Indy 500. His best qualifying position in the Indy 500 is fourth in 2009 with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and best finish is third with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 after he led six laps. He ran in the top-five in eight of his 11 previous races here. Detailed Indy 500 information available upon request. 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 is currently sixth in series standings with 142 points, only 53 out of second place.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / PeopleReady Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The car was extremely fast. I’m very happy for the job that the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team did. We drew a really lucky position for qualifying order. First for Graham and second for myself and Spencer seventh and we basically made the most of it with a top-nine for Graham and I. Unfortunately, Spencer missed only by a small amount but he was very competitive. All three cars are on a small pack which was a great job by the team. For myself, I was on the bubble and was a little bit nervous the last two hours. The team did a great job and I was happy with the result. Tomorrow, if we can maybe jump up one row, it would be a bonus. But if not, I think we have confidence for the race car.”
- FAST FACTS: Sato made three qualifying attempts but his first was his fastest and enabled him to qualify to the Fast Nine Shootout on Sunday… 2017 Champion of the Indy 500. The 2020 race will be his 11th Indy 500 and third with RLL. In 2012 with RLL, he was alongside eventual winner Franchitti in Turn 1 on the final lap but his race ended due to contact after he was squeezed down on the apron and lost control of his race car. He finished third for RLL in 2019 and was a contender in the final laps… Has FIVE IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road, Gateway 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 road, Texas oval). He is 17th in series standings with 99 points.
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 45 Hy-Vee / Embrace Pittsburgh Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Overall it was not a bad day. We had a solid run this morning that maybe could have been a little bit quicker to help us get in the Fast Nine. But at the end of the day, starting twelfth with three cars in the top-12 is a really good showing for the whole team. We can definitely race from there. It’s not a bad spot to be. Overall, I’m happy with the Hy-Vee car and we will get back on track tomorrow to work on our race setup. Thanks to everyone at RLL and it was a good debut at the Indy 500 for Citrone/Buhl Autosport.”
- FAST FACTS: Pigot made two qualifying attempts but his first was his best and ranked 12th fastest at the end of qualifying… Will be his fifth Indianapolis 500 and second with the team (2016). His best start in the Indy 500 is third and his best finish is 14th – both in 2019 with Ed Carpenter Racing… He drove one of his best Indy car races to date with RLL earlier this year in the GMR Grand Prix. He started 16th and raced into the lead on Lap 55 but a likely podium finish evaporated after a mechanical failure led to his retirement after 74 of 80 laps.
NEXT UP: Practice for the Fast Nine Shootout will take place from 11-11:30 a.m. ET with qualifying to set the top nine positions to take place from 1:15-2:15 p.m. A final practice for the full field will be 3:30-6:00 p.m. NBC Gold will provide coverage from 11-11:30, 1-3 and 3:30-6:00. NBC will air coverage from 1-3 p.m. Get a behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the 104th Indianapolis 500 via the six Digital Ally Garage Cameras on www.rahal.com.