Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Round 1 of 17 in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, April 18, 2021
RAHAL AND SATO FINISHED SEVENTH AND THIRTEENTH IN THE HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Code 3 Associates Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “End of Race 1 and I think it was a good day for us going 18th to seventh. We had good pace in the race which is really how we got there. The strategy was good but all of the top guys did it in two green flag stops which is what we did as well. For us I thought that the pace was very strong. The group we were in – Bourdais, Veekay and myself — had really good pace and that helps too because that really helped us push forward and close in on the lead group and really distance us from Grosjean and those guys behind us. I thought our guys did a great job on the Code 3 Associates car. We are proud of the organization and we are keeping our heads down, working hard and we’re off to St. Pete.”
- FAST FACTS: Rahal started 18th, avoided a multi car crash started by Newgarden on the opening lap and had good pace to finish in seventh place… His best start here is second place in 2019 to bring the team a 1-2 start… He played a major factor in the most exciting races of the 2015 and 2016 seasons as he challenged for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama win but earned his best finish here of second place both times… 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.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Shield Cleansers Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “First race of 2021 and we finished 13th. It’s a little bit of a pity after we fought so hard after the massive incident. We made a really good start and jumped up to P12 but then the massive incident dragging off a lot of yellows so actually the two stoppers made up significant positions and we went alternate (strategy) three stops. Good fight with Pagenaud, good fight with Scott (McLaughlin) all the way through the stint and there was lots of overtaking. It’s a bit of a shame; we wanted to be in the top-10 but we started from 19th and obviously we were lacking the pace for the weekend. Hopefully we will figure it out and then the next one is a street course and we should be better there. It was a tough race but good weekend.”
- FAST FACTS: Sato started 19th and moved into 12th after he avoided a multi-car crash started by Newgarden at the start. He made passes on drivers such as Pagenaud, McLaughlin and others an ultimately finished 13th… His best start and finish here is first place in 2019 when he led 74/90 en route to victory. 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).
NEXT UP: The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will take place next Sunday, April 25 and will be televised live on NBC beginning at 12 PM ET.