Rahal Challenged for a Podium Spot and Finished Fourth in Race 1 of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio; Sato Finished 17th

#15: Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – Race 1
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – September 12, 2020


GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was super-hot. It’s a good thing it wasn’t a 90-degree July day. I’m awfully proud of the United Rentals guys. I thought our strategy was great and the car was very good in race trim.  I think we were a little quicker than Newgarden and Rossi but I got held up by Pagenaud there coming out of the pits on that last stop or otherwise I think we had him (Rossi).  I thought we had a good opportunity there to get Alex but all in all it was a great run for us. It feels good to get a good result after St. Louis which was kind of a bruiser. Our guys did a wonderful job in the pits. The last few races, they’ve been lightning fast. We’ve just got to keep at it. It was a tough day. Tomorrow is going to be tougher. Guys are going to fall out of the saddle tomorrow.  That is physical.  It is hot, there’s not a lot of air, ad it was dirty. Tomorrow will be a bruiser. We switch over to the Fifth Third Bank car so we’re excited about that switch over. And we raised a lot of money for Turns for Troops today so all in all a good day.

  • FAST FACTS: Started eighth and worked his way to the front by running longer on his first stint. He made his second and final stop from the lead (although he wasn’t scored as having led) on Lap 48.  Once others pit, he took over fourth place and continued his pursuit of Rossi for a third-place podium finish.  He was within -0.5-seconds and pressured Rossi into several mistakes but was unable to pull off a pass despite being alongside him a few times.  He took the checkered flag in fourth place… Was his 13th race here. His best start is fourth in 2009 and 2017 and his best finish is his win here in 2015. In addition to Indy car races here, at the age of 16 in 2005, Rahal became the youngest to claim the SCCA National Formula Atlantic championship at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs here by a dominant 43-seconds.  He also competed in the Star Mazda race here in 2005 (S/F 4/9) and tested a Grand Am car here in 2007… 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 ranked seventh in series point standings with a total of 268.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a tough race and a lot of hard work but didn’t really reflect on the result which is a shame.  There was actually no drama; it was a caution-free race. Strategy wise we tried to gain back the positions but were just not quite there.  We need to work on it for tomorrow. It was hot, we sweat and lost a lot of pounds and weight.  We will have a good recovery tonight and hopefully be okay for tomorrow.”

  • FAST FACTS: Qualified 18th and finished in 17th place… Was his 11th race here. In his 10 previous races, his best start is third – in 2010 with KVRT and in 2017 with Andretti Autosport.  He has two, top-five finishes and three top-10’s. His best finish is fourth in 2011 with KVRT… His highest start of the season is pole at St Louis – Race 2 and his highest finish is his win at the Indianapolis 500 … Has SIX IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road, St. Louis oval, 2020 Indy 500) and TEN 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; St. Louis oval – Race 2).  He maintained his fourth place rank in series point standings with 287 but race winner Will Power closed on him in fifth (287-280). 

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT MID-OHIO… Race 2 of the 2020 Honda Indy 200 will mark the 24th Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at Mid-Ohio Sports Car course, near the team’s Hilliard, Ohio shop. The team also competed in the Atlantic Series race in 2003 with Danica Patrick and has competed in ALMS races here in 2007 and from 2009-2012 and IMSA races since 2018.  The team has earned four podiums (1st – G. Rahal 2015; 3rd – B. Rahal 1997, 1998, G. Rahal 2017), 14 top-five’s and 20 top-10 finishes at the track and the highest start is pole (Herta 1997).  Another front row start came in 1999 (Herta; 2nd). 

NEXT UP:  Qualifying for Race 2 will take place from 10:15-10:45 a.m. ET Sunday.  Live coverage of the race will begin on NBC at 1 p.m. ET.  Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com and includes commentary by the INDYCAR Radio Network.