Rahal and Sato Were 10th and 18th in Today’s Lone 45 Minute Practice Session for the Firestone GP of St. Petersburg

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, April 23, 2021


1)         Josef Newgarden      1:00.8029 / 106.574 mph
10)       Graham Rahal           1:01.0912 / 106.070 mph      
18)       Takuma Sato             1:01.4601 / 105.434 mph

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a good start for us. In Practice 1, we ended up P10 but honestly we had good pace the whole time. I thought we had a couple of laps that would’ve put us in the top two or top three and one lap it went red and one lap I caught Josef in a little bit of traffic. But I felt really good.  I think the United Rentals car is strong this weekend. We need a little bit more work getting it to rotate in the back of the track a little bit better and we should be right there. Overall, it was a really good start for us.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will make his 14th Indy car start at the 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 in 2019 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 five 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 seventh in series point standings with 26.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Shield Cleansers Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a short session. We had a little issue to come out and didn’t get a lap when we wanted (red flag came out) but it was the same for everyone else. It was a tough session, timing wise but we will see how we are tomorrow.”

  • FAST FACTS: The 2021 race will be Takuma’s 12th here.  In 11 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 six 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 13th in series point standings with a total of 17. 

NEXT UP:  Practice 2 will take place from 9:45-10:30 a.m. ET tomorrow and qualifying will take place from 1:45-3:00 p.m. and be televised live on Peacock Premium and tape-delayed on NBCSN beginning at 10 p.m.  The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be televised live on NBC beginning at 12 PM ET Sunday, April 25 and the Green Flag will fly at 12:42 PM ET.