Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing104th Running of the Indianapolis 500
NTT INDYCAR SERIES POLE DAY NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, August 16, 2020
SATO EARNED HIS BEST START FOR THE INDY 500 OF THIRD PLACE; RAHAL AND PIGOT TO START EIGHTH AND 12TH RESPECTIVELY FOR THE 104TH INDIANAPOLIS 500
1st: Marco Andretti 4-lap avg. speed of 231.068 mph (L1: 231.826, L2: 231.146, L3: 230.771, L4: 230.532)
3rd: Takuma Sato 4-lap avg. speed of 230.725 mph (L1: 230.805, L2: 230.916, L3: 230.659, L4: 230.520)
8th: Graham Rahal 4-lap avg. speed of 229.308 mph (L1: 230.389, L2: 230.126, L3: 229.746, L4: 227.284)
1) Marco Andretti 224.122 mph
17) Spencer Pigot 221.691 mph
26) Takuma Sato 221.747 mph
30) Graham Rahal 231.235 mph
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We qualified eighth, which we’ll take. We can race from there. We feel like our race car is actually pretty good. It’s hard to tell in practice. We ended up 30th on the timesheets which doesn’t matter at all. We feel like we have a good race car, are able to pass a bunch of cars. It’s going to be tough. You don’t know whether guys were on new or used tires during that run but I thought we were very, very competitive. I’m pleased with what we have. Obviously, we’re going to work on it before we go out there for Carb Day. With the wind today, we don’t know that we’re going to get wind this high come Carb Day or race weekend. If the wind goes away then a lot of people’s problems will certainly be less. We feel good about the United Rentals car and if I say that, typically we are pretty solid so hopefully we’ve got something good to go race with.”
- FAST FACTS: Rahal was in the Fast Nine Shootout today and set the eighth fastest time… 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: “Starting on the front row is a big accomplishment for us. It’s great for the Panasonic / PeopleReady Honda and the 30 boys. Everyone at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing worked hard over the off season to improve our performance here and the results showed today. Honda, great, great work from them, just a tremendous job from them and the team. Now we shift to preparing for the race. We have another practice this afternoon that will be extremely important; also ‘Carb Day’ [final practice on Friday]. We believe we have a strong car in race trim, we’re so already looking forward to the race on Sunday.”
- FAST FACTS: Sato earned his best start for the Indy 500 of third place today. His previous best was fourth in 2017… Is the 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: “Today was definitely a bit better than our last practice day so that is positive. I think we are heading in the right direction with the Hy-Vee / Embrace Pittsburgh Honda. It’s definitely difficult out there, especially towards the end of the session with the sun coming down and the Aeroscreen getting dirty and stuff. It’s tough in traffic. There is just not as much grip as in years past and the Aeroscreen gets really dirty as well, so it gets tricky to see. Overall I think we made some progress though so I will go back and compare notes with my teammates and do it again on Friday. .”
- FAST FACTS: 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: The team will continue preparations for the Indianapolis 500 this week and get back on track on Friday for Carb Day between 11-1 p.m. ET. NBC will begin coverage of the 104th Indianapolis 500 at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 23. Get a behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the 104th Indianapolis 500 via the six Digital Ally Garage Cameras on www.rahal.com.