Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, April 25, 2021
SATO DROVE TO A SIXTH PLACE FINISH IN THE FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG; RAHAL RAN AS HIGH AS FOURTH BUT FINISHED 15TH AFTER BEING INVOLVED IN AN INCIDENT
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a frustrating day. I thought we had a pretty good car. I obviously came together with Alex; just kind of a racing incident. You know you have to make that move coming out of the pits. He blocked a little bit, which I would’ve done too so I don’t blame him. I tried to go down the inside and we just came together and then it looked like he had a flat tire and went straight through Turn 5 and that was that. After that it was just a long recovery for us, or trying to. We were only able to make up five spots in the end which was a little bit frustrating. The United Rentals guys deserved better today. I think we had a top three, top four car certainly. We were very, very competitive. But once you get stuck in the back there, it’s pretty hard to come through the field. We’ve just got to keep our heads down. We’ve got Texas next weekend. There are two races, two good opportunities so hopefully we can find something and go fast there.”
- FAST FACTS: Qualified ninth and got by Dixon and O’Ward on the start to run seventh. He passed Veekay for sixth on Lap 23 and cycled into fourth place before his first stop on Lap 35. On the following lap, Rossi came out on cold tires to Rahal’s hot ones and as Rahal was passing him, the two made contact. Rossi had a punctured tire and could not make the left-hander and because Rahal was on the right, the two went into the tire barrier on the right. Once Rahal restarted, he was in 19th place and moved up to 16th before the closing laps. Palou had an issue on the last lap so Rahal gained a spot to finish 15th… 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 13th in series point standings with 41.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Shield Cleansers Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We came in sixth. I think we did great. The team did the right call on strategy and chose the tire. We ran black, red (alternate), black which I think is the right strategy for our car. I don’t have a complaint on the balance. I had a little body work damage that rattled a bit so I lost some downforce and drag. But Dixon was fast, I tried pushing harder. All in all I think after qualifiers the team did a fantastic job. The Shield Cleansers, Panasonic, 30 team did an incredible job once again. I’m certainly looking forward to going back to Texas!”
- FAST FACTS: Takuma started 15th and drove to a sixth-place finish in his 12th race here. He got by McLaughlin and Palou on the start for 13th and held the position. On a restart from caution for Johnson, Sato and Hinchcliffe battled for position which led to the latter pitting for new tires. He passed Hunter-Reay and O’Ward a few laps later and gained a spot when Veekay pit and was in ninth place by Lap 29. He cycled up to sixth by the time he made his first stop on Lap 35 and maintained his position through another stop and took the checkered flag in sixth.. In 12 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 12th in series point standings with a total of 45.
NEXT UP: The series will head to Texas Motor Speedway for two races next Saturday and Sunday, May 1-2.