Sato Finished 2nd by 0.14-Seconds After a Thrilling Duel with Winner Dixon in Race 1 of the Bommarito 500; Rahal 18th After Debris Overheated his GCU

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingBommarito 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway – RACE 1
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – August 29, 2020


GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I’m clearly disappointed with the end result. I thought that after the start, when a lot of our competitors were involved in that crash, I thought that maybe we would have a good day and be able to put our heads down and work through things but, instead, on Lap 29 we had GCU problems. Somehow a napkin got in there and lodged itself in the GCU cooling tube and overheated one and then overheated another. Unfortunately, it was just one of those days that we struggled with the chassis handling but also just had poor luck with sucking up a napkin. It’s certainly frustrating and disappointing but there is always tomorrow.”

  • FAST FACTS: Started 22nd and moved to 17th after a multi-car crash on the start. He began to have shifting issued early and pit to change the GCU. He rejoined the race a few laps down but the problem surfaced again. Once the team pulled the car behind the pit wall, they found a napkin lodged in the GCU cooling tube.  He returned to the race in an effort to collect points in the event of attrition and ultimately retired after completing 124/200 laps…  Was his fourth race here.  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 dropped from fourth to fifth in series point standings with a total of 226.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 ABeam Consulting Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Obviously the team did a fantastic job. Since last week, we carried a lot of momentum. Big congrats to Scott and the Ganassi boys. We lost some places in the beginning of the race but we fought strong. The ABeam car was phenomenal.  There was no doubt that I was disappointed to be second after the guys did a fantastic job today. Sometimes I make a mistake, sometimes there is a mechanical failure. Yes, there was an issue on the pit stop but everybody is on the same team. The 30 boys did a fantastic job two weeks in a row so I’m very proud of our effort.” 

  • FAST FACTS: Led 14 laps and challenged for the win in the final laps to finish 0.1404 behind eventual winner Scott Dixon. He started fifth and dropped to eight on the start but went farther on his first stint to cycle into third before making it on Lap 65. In the middle stint he was on track behind the lapped car of Pagenaud and lost valuable track position while 12th.  Light moisture brough out the caution flag on Lap 108 and he made his second stop on Lap 115. He moved up to third by Lap 157/200 and into the lead from Laps 162-175 before he made his final stop. There was an issue on the outside rear tires that delayed the stop 2-3 seconds and he returned to the track in third rather than maintaining his position. He began pursuit of O’Ward and pulled off a decisive pass on Lap 180.  He then began cutting the 2-second deficit to Dixon and set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 183 and ultimately finished a mere 0.14 behind him… Won the race in 2019 after he led the final 61 laps en route to victory.  Was his fourth race here. His matched his highest start of fifth place this year (2020, 2019) and his highest finish is first in 2019 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 10 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; 2020 St. Louis Race 2).  He moved from sixth in series point standings to fourth with a total of 248 points.

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT GATEWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK … The team contended for back-to-back Bommarito 500’s wins after winning here last year with 2020 Indy 500 champion Takuma Sato and finished second.  It was the second, second place finish for the team here after Kenny Brack finished second in 2003 and ninth event here for RLL.

NEXT UP:  Race 2 of the Bommarito 500 doubleheader will take the Green Flag at 3:45 p.m. ET Sunday. NBC Sports Network will begin live coverage at 3 p.m. ET.  Sato will start from pole and Rahal will start 23rd.