RLLR Indy 500 Race Report

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing104th Running of the Indianapolis 500
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, August 23, 2020


GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a great day for our team, the entire organization and all of our partners. I hope Spencer is ok; that’s my main concern at this time. Secondly congrats to Takuma for a heck of a drive. I’m proud of you and thankful for what you have done for our program and all of our partners. I thought we had a run at it but just got too loose the last stint. But our United Rentals team was unbelievably good in the pits today and we were able to work our way forward. For us to come home P1 and P3 today means the world to me. Solid day all around. We’ve got a championship chase that we’re in now and we’ve got two races in St. Louis next weekend. Hell of a job RLL!”

  • FAST FACTS: Matched his best finish of third place in 2011 today and was a factor in the final laps when teammate Pigot brought out the caution on Lap 196 of 200… Was 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 fourth in series standings with 214 points, only 37 out of second place.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / PeopleReady Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Simply an amazing day. I just can’t put words for it. Big thank you to everyone. Obviously the Speedway, Roger Penske, and the Hulman-George family. To get this race going this year, I know it’s a lot of people’s commitment. But we really appreciate it. So happy to be part of this organization. First of all, I mean, what an amazing team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is. I know it’s everything a team and a driver can dream of winning the 500. Achieving one (first) and three (third) in this fashion is simply amazing. Thanks Bobby, Mike Lanigan, and of course David Letterman. The entire team, especially the 30 boys, my Panasonic PeopleReady Honda was extremely strong and competitive. It was a little bit fast on the last few laps. Then we had to drive into the pit one lap before Scott. That put us a lot of difficulty in terms of the fuel mileage. I wanted to go to the full power, which Honda and HPD give us incredible performance, but still I have to save the fuel. I was back and forth. Best power when Dixie is coming. To pull it off that way, it is simply amazing. I want to say thank you so much for everyone who supported.  “I think we had the best car. Only we were a lap short from Dixie [Scott Dixon] in terms of the fuel strategy, and [making fuel mileage to the finish] was a little tight. I couldn’t use max power to switch back and forth. And Dixon kept coming through Turn 4 [on the final green flag lap] and I was just able to hold him off. This is unbelievable. Everyone did a hell of a job. HPD and Honda gave us a lot of power and a lot of fuel mileage.”

  • FAST FACTS: Sato earned his second Indy 500 win from his best start for the 500 of third place for 2020.  His previous best was fourth in 2017.  He led twice for a total of 27 laps and was fast in the final stage of the race after his last stop.  Exiting the pits in second to Dixon, Sato swept into the lead on lap 185, then held off several attempts by Dixon to repass as the pair worked their way through lapped traffic.  A caution came out on Lap 196 of 200, when teammate Spencer Pigot crashed hard exiting Turn 4, leading the race to end under caution. Pigot was examined and discharged by doctors at Methodist Hospital… Is the 2017 Champion of the Indy 500.  The 2020 race was 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 SIX IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road, Gateway oval; 2020 – Indy 500 ) 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 moved from 17th in series point standings to sixth with 207 points.

SPENCER PIGOT, No. 45 Hy-Vee / Embrace Pittsburgh Dallara/Honda/Firestone: A quote was unavailable due to his late discharge.

  • FAST FACTS: Pigot was running 15th on Lap 196 of 200 when he crashed hard exiting Turn 4.  Pigot was examined and discharged by doctors at Methodist Hospital late Sunday.  Was 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. 

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING’S SECOND INDY 500 WIN: This was the second Indy 500 win for the team and first since 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. Both wins came from front row starts. In 2012 with RLL, Sato 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 was able to deliver that win today.