Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingFirestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, October 25, 2020
RAHAL FINISHED NINTH IN THE FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG AND SIXTH IN INDYCAR SERIES STANDINGS; SATO FINISHED 10TH IN THE RACE AND A CAREER-BEST SEVENTH IN SERIES STANDINGS
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “That was a bruiser. Thank you so much to our sponsors for another season. Once again, we finished every lap today and raised $5000 and will crest $110,000 this year for Turns for Troops so I ‘m very proud of that. I’m proud of our year. Today was another competitive day. We got unlucky with that yellow. Our strategy was working great and our car was fast as we showed. That yellow really put a damper on our day. It took us from being quite strong to being mired back in the field. I’m proud of our organization. Our guys worked awfully hard this year. I want to thank the fans for their support and for sticking with INDYCAR racing this year. Let’s come back in 2021 and make this sport grow even more. We love putting on a good show for you so thank you for all your support. Now it’s time for me to go home and have a kid. Well, not me, my wife, us.”
- FAST FACTS: Rahal started 17th and passed Palou, Ericsson and Pagenaud on the start but was passed by Ferrucci to run 15th. As others made their pit stops, he was able to stay on track longer and cycled up to third before his first of two stops on Lap 34 and returned to the track eighth. He moved into seventh when polesitter Power had trouble and into sixth after an alternate strategy driver (VeeKay) pit on Lap 44. On the third restart from caution, he lost a position to O’Ward and ran seventh. He lost another to Andretti, who was on a different strategy, on Lap 55. As the next round of stops began, he cycled to the race lead and had just set his fastest race lap on Lap 69 on his in-lap for his final stop when previous race leader Rossi crashed and brought out the caution and closed the pits. He led two laps and when the pits opened, he made his final stop on Lap 72/100 and, because his strategy was negated, he returned to the track in 15th place. Two more caution periods drive thru and other penalties and heavy sprinkles ensued, and he ultimately finished in ninth place… Made 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 ended the season ranked sixth in series point standings with a total of 377.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a tough race, but it was good to be back in St. Petersburg. At one stage we were sixth, so a top-five finish was possible, but we were involved with two Andretti cars in an incident. Obviously we were bumping each other a little bit but unfortunately I got a penalty for avoidable contact so I had to go back in the queue which essentially finished my race but we came back to a top-10, which was good just finishing with Graham. What an amazing season. Once again, thank you everyone, thank you Eddie (Jones, race engineer) and the 30 boys. RLL did a great, great job. I’m proud to be working with the team again for 2021. It was my best season ranking but I wanted to finish a little higher today. Never-the-less I think it was a fantastic season. See you all in 2021.”
- FAST FACTS: Sato started 13th and passed Pagenaud on the start for 12th. He cycled up to fifth place before his first stop on Lap 33 and returned to the track in 13th place. He later lost a spot to Ericsson, who was on an alternate strategy. He pit from 12th for his second stop on Lap 66 and worked his way up to ninth by the time the fourth of six restarts happened on Lap 74. He had passed Harvey but the two made contact and put Sato in Andretti’s path and his wing cut Andretti’s tire. Second-place runner, Hinchcliffe, also had problems and Sato was running sixth when he was told to go to the back of the pack. He was in 15th place but two more caution periods, a drive thru penalties by a competitor and heavy sprinkles ensued before the checkered flag and he ultimately finished in 10th place… Was 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 ended the season a career-best rank of seventh in series point standings with a total of 348.