Sato Was Fifth Fastest in the Lone Practice Session for the Bommarito 500 Doublheader; Rahal Was 22nd

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Bommarito 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway

1st:       Pato O’Ward                181.532 mph
5th:      Takuma Sato                180.434 mph
22nd:    Graham Rahal             175.892 mph    

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a tough day. I am just not happy with the balance of the car. I don’t feel confident in either end of the car and don’t know what the limits are.  From the very get-go, the car didn’t feel right but obviously there is more mass that we need to deal with. It just feels like on our end, we’re missing a lot.  Takuma put in a good lap there and I don’t know how.  I need to look at the data because it’s not feasible for me. The short ovals are challenging for us at the start. It’s going to take work to get in the ballpark but we did it at Iowa, so we will do it here.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his fourth. His highest start is seventh and highest finish is 10th – both in 2018.  In 2019, he qualified 16th and struggled with tire wear for a good portion of the race like many others but was running ninth late in the race before losing two positions to run 11th. While 11th, he reported a problem on Lap 224 of 248 and ultimately retired after 226 laps in 18th place. A post race inspection showed that his exhaust secondary failed… He has earned three podiums (Indy GP, Iowa, Indy 500) in seven races this season, contended for the win in two others and could have been a podium contender in the other two… 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 is fourth in series point standings with a total of 214.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 ABeam Consulting Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It’s good to be back in St. Louis where we had a fantastic race last year. The boys did a phenomenal job.  Obviously, we are carrying great momentum from last week with first and third. It’s busy; it just never stops. Indy car racing never stops. We have zero chance of resting time but we’re happy to go back to racing.  It’s a very tough field, very competitive. It was only a one-hour session today and we will go straight into qualifying. So, we had to check our qualifying setup, race trim and so on within a one hour compressed time so it was very difficult. At least I got a very positive feeling from the car.  I’m still not fully confident going into the corner but we will study the data overnight and hopefully be able to repeat a competitive run tomorrow.”

  • FAST FACTS: Returns to WWTR as the defending winner of the race after he led the final 61 laps en route to victory here last year.  This will be Takuma’s fourth race here. His highest start and finish came last year of fifth and first, respectively Has SIX INDYCAR SERIES wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road & WWTR 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, Texas oval).  He jumped from 17th in the series point standings to sixth with a total of 207 points.

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT GATEWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK … The team returns to the Bommarito 500’s as the defending winner after Takuma Sato drove to victory here last year and is also arriving to town as the newly-crowned 2020 Indianapolis 500 champions.  It will be the ninth event for the team at WWTR. The 1.25-mile oval hosted CART-sanctioned races from 1997-2000 and IRL races from 2001-2003 before the IndyCar Series returned in 2017. The team competed in all four CART races from 1997-2000 and one of the three IRL races (2003).  The best starting position for the team of second place came in 2003 by Kenny Brack and the best finish came last year when Takuma Sato won.  Prior to 2020, the team prepared a total of 14 Indy car entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1997-1998), Bryan Herta (1997-1999), Max Papis (1999-2000), Kenny Brack (2000, 2003), Graham Rahal (2017-2019) and Takuma Sato (2018-2019).

NEXT UP:  Race 1 of the Bommarito 500 doubleheader will take the Green Flag at 3:45 p.m. ET Saturday. NBC Sports Network will begin live coverage at 3 p.m. ET.