Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingGenesys 300 – Texas Motor Speedway
Round 3 of 21 in the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, May 1, 2021
RAHAL AND SATO FINISHED FIFTH AND NINTH IN THE GENESYS 300 AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY; RAHAL WILL START FROM 9TH PLACE FOR SUNDAY’S XPEL 375 AND SATO 11TH
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Fleet Cost & Care Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I think the last two stints we were the best car on track. The second to last stint, I got up to Alex and tried to get around him but the yellow came out. I think the Fleet Cost & Care guys did a great job today. Honestly, on the first stint we struggled which is why we had to pit early. The left front tire just kind of gave out on me but from there on it was damn good. It’s (Sunday’s race) going to be temperature sensitive. I would anticipate tomorrow is going to be very different. Even today, those last couple of stints, the way that the car was, was completely different. Honda did a great job; the motor was fast man. To go by Newgarden the way I did, I was super pleased with that. But tomorrow is a different animal. We’ll go back and work on the Fleet Cost & Care machine a little bit. The boys did a great job in the pits, and hopefully we can have a better run tomorrow. We start further forward tomorrow so that’s a positive.”
- FAST FACTS: Inclement weather compressed the track schedule and the field was set by entrant points and Rahal started 13th. He gained a spot at the start and held 12th until he was the first to pit on Lap 51/212. Bourdais brought out the caution on Lap 56 after Newgarden made contact with him. The timing hurt Rahal, who dropped to 20th and lost a lap. He was waved around before the race went green again and lso topped off on fuel. It took a good portion of the race to recover from the first caution. Quick stops and a race that that was “coming to him” helped him move forward. He passed Rossi for eighth on a restart from a caution for Hinchcliffe then took a few laps to get around Harvey, who had squeezed him which led to INDYCAR reviewing the move but too no action. He ran seventh on Lap 177 and made a great pass on Newgarden on Lap 180 for sixth. Herta had an issue and Rahal passed him for fifth on Lap 189 and held the position until the checkered flag on Lap 212… Was his 14th 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 13th to 9th in series point standings with 71.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a tough one. We got off the line pretty well and immediately got to the top-10; that was a really good start. But then we tried to undercut and dive into the pit and that was exactly when the yellow happened so we lost a lap, we were at the back of the queue and it was very unfortunate. But then after that, with a yellow, we got the lap back (wave around) so that was a little fortunate for us. We tried to extend the stint but then we had a huge cut in the left front tire that gave a lot of vibration and we were lucky we didn’t get more damage on that one even further but we lost another few track positions. But then after that, the last two stints we came back quite strong. Finishing P9 was not exactly what we wanted but I think we gathered really good data. I know everyone will be better tomorrow but hopefully we will be another step forward.”
- FAST FACTS: He started 12th based on entrant points when qualifying was cancelled due to inclement weather. He moved up to eighth on the opening lap and settled into ninth, which he held until his first stop on Lap 54. Unfortunately, a caution came out on Lap 56 which limited his opportunity to move back up. He got back on the lead lap with a wave around but was in 19th place. He moved as high as 12th by Lap 151/212 after finally getting past VeeKay, whom he battled for at least 26 laps. He passed Pagenaud for 10th on Lap 175 and took over ninth when Herta pit with an issue on Lap 190. It was his 12th race here and first since 2019. 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 12th to 11th in series point standings with 67.
NEXT UP: The XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway will take place on Sunday. Live coverage will begin on NBCSN at 5 p.m. ET.