Sato, Rahal and Ferrucci Qualify for the Indy 500

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing105th Running of the Indianapolis 500
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – May 22, 2021                                   


1st:  Scott Dixon             4-lap avg. speed of 231.828 mph   (L1: 232.574, L2: 231.762, L3: 231.612, L4: 231.368)  
15th:  Takuma Sato      4-lap avg. speed of 230.708 mph   (L1: 231.386, L2: 230.857, L3: 230.525, L4: 230.067)  
18th:  Graham Rahal    4-lap avg. speed of 230.521 mph   (L1: 230.799, L2: 230.510, L3: 230.425, L4: 230.350)
23rd:  Santino Ferrucci 4-lap avg. speed of 229.949 mph   (L1: 230.546, L2: 229.856, L3: 229.721, L4: 229.676)

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The United Rentals No. 15 is going to start 18th. I’m disappointed to not get a shot at the end. I’m disappointed for us and I’m also disappointed for the fans because I think a lot of the drama that was missed today was the fact that you had Rossi, Takuma and myself, and guys like that in line to give it a shot and we didn’t even get a chance. It is what it is, the rules are set the way that they are. They guys get a run in even if they’re not quick enough to make it. They can just file right back in the line and keep going. Like I said the rules are the rules and we didn’t time it quite right to be able to get out but honestly, I’ve got a feeling we would have made it but that’s easy to say now. Now we just focus on the race car. Eighteenth is not where we thought we would start by any means, but we have a good race car and we’ll be able to race from there and do a great job.” 

  • 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: “Our performance was not fast enough unfortunately. The 30 car is 15th for the race which is not a bad place, of course, but not excellent. After being in the front row last year, it was a frustrating day. We went to make a second attempt, but it was the middle of the day and a bit too hot and we tried to go to a third attempt but just as we had the opportunity (next in line) in Lane 2, we had to respect the rule (for Lane 1) and unfortunately we didn’t get out (on track) which was frustrating. But I think we have a strong car for the race so we will put all our focus on the race car now. We still have a good session tomorrow as well as Carb Day. We need to move up. It’s going to be a tough race.”

  • 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: “Qualifying day wasn’t what we hoped. We’re going to start 23rd, in the middle of the eighth row. I started there in 2019 and came hope with a seventh-place finish and that was my first ever oval race. I’m looking forward to working with the guys tomorrow for practice. We’ll get our car really quick in race trim and hopefully we’ll move forward well enough and get in that top three. It was a pretty anti-climactic day overall. We went out early and got a good run in but I had to lift and I was expecting to get another run in. We lined up mid-afternoon and it was just too hot. We lined up again at the end and so many people were trying to go in Lane 1 and we just never got our shot but I think our car was definitely capable of a top-15 spot, if not a top nine one.”

  • FAST FACTS: He has competed in two Indy 500’s with his best finish of fourth in the 2020 Indy 500 and his seventh-place finish in the 2019 Indy 500 earned him Rookie of the Year. 

NEXT UP: Qualifying to set the top nine positions will take place tomorrow from 3 – 3:45 p.m. ET and the field of 33 will have a practice session from 5-7 p.m. ET. Get a behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the 105th Indianapolis 500 via the Digital Ally Garage Camera on