Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing105th Running of the Indianapolis 500
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
OPENING DAY NOTES/QUOTES – May 18, 2021

SATO, RAHAL AND FERRUCCI HAVE A PRODUCTIVE OPENING DAY AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY IN PREPARATION FOR THE INDY 500

1)         Will Power                   226.470 mph   
3)         Takuma Sato               226.132 mph   
26)       Graham Rahal             222.583 mph
32)       Santino Ferrucci          220.718 mph

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was not the end of the day we hoped for.  Obviously to be the quickest in the morning, we expected a little more this afternoon. We did a lot of race running. We struggled quite a lot with the balance of the car; it seemed to be throwing us quite a curveball from the test to coming back here. It did this morning as well, but we just happened to put in a good one (lap). It seems like it’s going to be a bit of a challenge for us to get things honed back in here but we have to reset. I think the track’s going to change a lot over the next couple of days and we’ll see how she goes. The United Rentals boys are hard at work; I think we’ll be just fine. We’ll be competitive. The car has got speed, we’ve just got to get the balance a little better.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his 14th Indy 500. His best qualifying position in the Indy 500 is fourth in 2009 with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and best finish is third with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 and RLL in 2020. Detailed Indy 500 information 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 currently fifth in series standings with 137 points, only 39 out of first place.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / PeopleReady Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It’s really good to be back at IMS, particularly with the fans. I could see so many fans smiling and over there (across the track) all day waiting – it was great to see that. Well first of all I think we shook down the car very nicely because the last test we had a small issue but everything is sorted, so I’m really happy to be back in the car. The PeopleReady car is beautiful; it looks awesome. It was a very productive day. We did a solo run with the wing sweep and ride height things and all the check list. But also the group runs in the end for two big group runs so that was very productive. We already learned the positive side and the not so positive side so hopefully we can carry over good things for tomorrow.” 

  • FAST FACTS: Sato is the only active two-time Indy 500 Champion.  The 2021 race will be his 12th Indy 500 and fourth with RLL. In 2012 with RLL, he was alongside eventual winner Franchitti in Turn 1 on the final lap but his race ended due to contact after he was squeezed down on the apron and lost control of his race car. He finished third for RLL in 2019 and was a contender in the final laps… Has SIX INDYCAR SERIES wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road, Gateway oval; 2020 Indy 500 ) and 10 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 road, Texas oval; 2020 St. Louis – Race 2).  He is 12th in series standings with 98 points.

SANTINO FERRUCCI, No. 45 Hy-Vee Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It’s great to be back in Indy. Our Hy-Vee Honda is incredibly quick, even though we didn’t show it on the time sheets. We were down most of the afternoon session working on the car back on the pad. We went back out and ended the day in a pack of about seven cars and actually ended up going through it which was pretty awesome.  It’s nice to be back racing with the guys. I’m looking forward to being back up on the top part of those (time) sheets in the next couple of days.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his third Indianapolis 500 and first with the team.  His best finish is fourth in the 2020 Indy 500 and his seventh place finish in the 2019 Indy 500 earned him Rookie of the Year. 

NEXT UP: Practice will take place from 12-6 p.m. ET tomorrow. Get a behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the 105th Indianapolis 500 via the Digital Ally Garage Camera on www.rahal.com.