Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Harvest GP – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
RACE 1 NOTES/QUOTES – October 2, 2020

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a tough day. I spun early and luckily it didn’t end up hurting us. We were able to pass a lot of guys today but in the end, we had to go to blacks (primary tires) and I think it hurt us and we also ran out of overtake. We still got Dixie (Dixon) back when he made his mistake, but it was definitely hard. (Will) Power was flying hard. His straight-line speed was extremely strong, so it was hard for us to get by him but we’re back at it tomorrow morning.  We will try to qualify up front and give ourselves a better shot to try to win this thing get this United Rentals car up front tomorrow.”

  • FAST FACTS: Rahal moved into ninth place from his 11th place start on the opening lap. Rosenqvist regained his spot and Rahal was running 10th when he spun and continued but dropped to 14th.  He moved into 12th when Hunter-Reay and Ferrucci made contact and conserved fuel to stretch his stint. He cycled up to fourth place when he made his first stop on Lap 20 of 85. He passed Chilton and Pagenaud before the next pit cycle started and he cycled into the lead on Lap 44 before his second stop. He returned to the track in eight place He passed Dixon on Lap 52 for seventh place and held it until the next pit cycle began. He cycled into the lead for Laps 63-66 and returned to run seventh. He used all of his Push-to Pass and Dixon, who had 35 seconds left, passed him for position on lap 77. Dixon made a mistake on Lap 84 and Rahal regained seventh place which he held until the checkered flag… The 2020 Harvest GP doubleheader will be Rahal’s eighth and ninth Indy car races on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In July, he earned his top start of fourth place here and matched his best finish of second place (2015, 2020) in seven starts but looked likely to win.  In seven events, he has six top-10 finishes of second (2015, 2020), fourth (2016), sixth (2017), seventh (2019) and ninth (2018). 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 ranked sixth in NTT INDYCAR SERIES point standings with 328 and is only -32 behind third place Colton Herta (360).

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 ABeam Consulting Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a tough day. From where we were starting, we tried to go to a two-stop strategy, which according to the calculation was seven to eight laps short anyway. We hoped we could make some of the fuel number up with yellows but regardless, we couldn’t make it, so we had to shift to the three-stop strategy. But by the time we did, we lost so much time on track. And then of course we had to go to an aggressive downforce setting to make up places but maybe we tipped over on that. The car was extremely tough to manage and also, we lost one set of reds (alternate tires) from yesterday which hurt us. All in all, it was a tough race, but it was definitely great data for tomorrow’s qualifying and race. We need to qualify in the top-10.  After today, all of the field will move up even tighter because they have all the data. But we believe we can be more competitive tomorrow.” 

  • FAST FACTS: Sato started 24th after bringing out a red flag in Friday‘s qualifying session and losing his fastest race lap. The team tried an aggressive strategy due to the starting position, but the lack of caution periods forced them to change from a two-stopper to a three and he ultimately finished 18th … The 2020 Harvest GP will be Takuma’s eighth and ninth races here.  His best start is 11th in 2018 and 2019 with RLL and his best finish is ninth in 2017 with Andretti Autosport… Has SIX INDYCAR SERIES wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road, St. Louis short oval, 2020 – Indianapolis 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 is ranked seventh in series point standings with a total of 312 and only -34 behind fourth place O’Ward.

RLL AT THE IMS ROAD COURSE…. The Harvest GP will mark the eighth and ninth NTT INDYCAR SERIES races on the 2.439-mile road course.  The team’s best finish here is second in 2015 and July 4, 2020 by Rahal and best start is fourthin 2020, also by Rahal.

NEXT UP:  Qualifying for Race 2 will take place from 10:20-10:50 AM and NBC will begin coverage of the 75-lap Race 2 of the Harvest GP at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.