Sato and Rahal Will Start 13th and 17th, Respectively, for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete INDYCAR Season Finale

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingFirestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, October 24, 2020


1)         Will Power            1:01.0369 / 106.165 mph       (Group 2, Round 3)
13)       Takuma Sato        1:00.9423 / 106.330 mph       (Group 1, Round 1)
17)       Graham Rahal      1:01.1458 / 105.976 mph       (Group 1, Round 1)  

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We didn’t perform very well today. In the first practice, we didn’t get a run on the reds. It’s my fault. I wanted to complete a run on blacks and should have just come in and given ourselves an opportunity and I didn’t do that. And then the red came out and reduced the session. Then we went into qualifying a little blind.  I think we had enough speed.  I pushed it really hard into Turn 1 on Lap 2, got four wheels locked up and about went around and it really hurt us. I’m going to take this one on the chin and we’re going to move on. Tomorrow’s going to be a tough day from where we start but I think my second-best finish here of second place, I started second to last so anything can happen. Its 100 laps and there is going to be plenty of excitement tomorrow. Let’s try to finish this thing off strong.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will make his 13th Indy car start at this track.  His best start here is pole in 2009 and best finish is a win in 2008 in his IndyCar Series debut – both history-making moments at the time as he became the youngest race winner in series history (2008), and youngest pole winner in series history (2009). Both records were eclipsed last year by Colton Herta but he held them for 10 and 11 years, respectively.  Overall, he has earned one top-five and six top-10 starts here and has two top-five and four top-10 finishes. Year-by-year details are 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 ranked sixth in series point standings with a total of 354 and only -22 behind fifth place O’Ward.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I brushed the wall, it was my mistake.  Since the field was so tight, little things bit us. We made quite a few small changes on the car which we felt was positive but then putting everything together (in one lap) is always tough business. A small mistake made us not be able to transfer to the next round so that was a shame. We are going in a positive direction though and have the warmup session to continue to improve the car. We will look at the data tonight and I think we can move forward in tomorrow’s warm up.” 

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his 11th race here.  In 10 races, his best start is pole in 2014 with AJ Foyt Racing (AFR) and best finish is fifth place in 2011 with KV Racing. Overall, he has earned five top-five and six top-10 starts here and has two top-five and five top-10 finishes. Year-by-year details are available upon request.  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 328 and only -26 behind sixth place Rahal.

NEXT UP:  The morning warmup will take place tomorrow from 10:40-11:10 a.m. ET.  The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be televised live on NBC beginning at 2:30 PM ET Sunday, October 25 and the Green Flag will fly at 2:32 PM ET.