|Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingXPEL 375 – Texas Motor Speedway|
Round 4 of 21 in the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, May 2, 2021
RAHAL EARNED HIS FOURTH PODIUM FINISH AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY WITH THIRD PLACE; SATO HAD A PIT EQUIPMENT ISSUE ON HIS FIRST STOP AND FINISHED 14TH IN THE XPEL 375
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Fleet Cost & Care Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “A great weekend comes to a close for us here in Texas. We got two top-five’s for the Fleet Cost and Care boys. We did a great job battling; we got to lead there for a minute today but we just got a little too loose in the end there to go battle Pato and Josef, but in general it was a great weekend; a good points weekend. Man, St. Pete stings a little more now but we are going to keep our heads down and keep working hard. Good job by Honda, that engine, she’s seen her last moments (engine change). She got us to this point with good reliability. On to the next one!FAST FACTS: He started ninth based on entrant points after qualifying was cancelled due to inclement weather on Saturday. A multi-car crash on the opening lap that was set off when Fittipaldi made contact with Bourdais meant the first 18 laps were run under caution. After that, Rahal held ninth place until his first stop on Lap 72 from seventh place. After the round of stops were complete, he ran seventh and passed Power for sixth on Lap 115. Harvey brought out a caution on Lap 117 and the majority of the field made stop s on Lap 119 under caution. A quick stop by the crew got Rahal three positions and he returned to the track in third place. O’Ward passed him on Lap 128/249. He regained third when he passed Power on Lap 134 after setting his fastest lap of the race to do so. He passed O’Ward on Lap 136 for second and took the lead of the race on Lap 140, which he held for 13 laps before opting for a more conservative fuel pace in second behind Dixon from Lap 153 until his third stop on Lap 186. A caution came out on Lap 190 for Rosenqvist, who lost a wheel. Newgarden came out of the pits at the right time and ran ahead of Rahal, who was sixth after his stop. Sato was in the race lead and on a different fuel strategy after a mechanical failure on a wheel gun on his first stop. Once those who hadn’t made their final stop pit, Rahal moved back into third on Lap 211. His race car wasn’t quite as strong as the previous stint and he couldn’t pressure Newgarden, who pit three laps later than he did, for position and finished third which is his fourth top-three finish at TMS… Was his 15th race here. In his previous 13 races here, his best start came in 2012 of third and best finish is his win in 2016 that still stands as the closest finish in TMS history at 0.0080 of a second. In total, he has three podium finishes, five top-five’s and seven top-10s in his 13 races… He 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 moved from his pre-race rank of 9th to 5th in series point standings with 107.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “For us, very unfortunate Texas races, everything was against us. The start went well, running in the single position at the moment in P9. For the first pitstop we had an issue and immediately went a lap down, so, everything was track position. Then I tried to unlap myself which I did, and at the moment it was good but from there we tried a different strategy, different sequence and at the moment it looked like is was working okay but then we caught the yellow. So the strategy had no meaning with that so we basically lost another lap. Tough race, but hopefully we collected good data, and we are off to the Indy GP and, of course, the Indy 500 which are big races so we’re looking forward to that.”FAST FACTS: He started 11th based on entrant points when qualifying was cancelled due to inclement weather on Saturday. A multi-car crash on the opening lap, which was set off when Fittipaldi made contact with Bourdais, meant the first 18 laps were run under caution. He passed Herta on the Lap 19 restart for 10th and held the position until Rosenqvist passed him on Lap 59. He made his first stop on Lap 64 and the wheel gun on the outside rear failed which caused a delay on the stop. He returned to the track in 16th place. He made his second stop on Lap 119 during the caution for debris from Harvey’s issue and returned to the track in 15th place. He passed Veekay for 14th for seven laps before he returned to 15th. He made a stop on Lap 166and ran 13th but as the next pit cycle began, he moved up to lead 12 laps before he dropped to third and then pit on Lap 211. He returned to the track in 14th place and held the position until the checkered flag… It was his 13th race here. In his 11 previous races here, Takuma has a best start of pole in 2019 and has earned three top-10 finishes with the best being fifth place in 2011 with KVRT….… 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 TEN 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; 2020 St. Louis (Race 2) … He moved from his pre-race rank of 11th to 12th in series point standings with 84.
NEXT UP: The GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will take place on Saturday, May 15.