Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES – July 2, 2021
RAHAL WAS FIFTH FASTEST IN PRACTICE 1 FOR THE HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO; FERRUCCI AND SATO WERE 24TH AND 25TH
1) Josef Newgarden 1:07.2524 / 120.870 mph
5) Graham Rahal 1:07.7561 / 119.971 mph
24) Santino Ferrucci 1:09.0979 / 117.643 mph
25) Takuma Sato 1:09.6824 / 116.655 mph
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “This place plays a major part as a reason why I fell in love with Indy car racing the way that I did. To be able to come here year after year and see all the Rahal shirts and hats and flags and everything else around here, all the Ohio State stuff; it means the world to my family. Obviously, it all started with my dad and Jim Trueman back in the day and has just continued to evolve. It means the world to us; it’s a special place and to be here on the 4th of July – I’m a very patriotic guy — in particular, it’s a special weekend.
“The Fifth Third Bank car is pretty solid. It’s tricky to get a good lap put together. There are some really slippery parts of the track and then some that have a lot of grip, so you are just trying to find those areas. Overall, I feel good about where we are at. We’re going to keep trying and keep pushing hard here to go quicker tomorrow, find the right moves and make the right changes to go faster. So far so good but we’ve got to keep working on it.”
- FAST FACTS: The 2021 Honda Indy 200 will mark Rahal’s 15th Indy car race here. His best start is fourth in 2009 and 2017 and his best finish is his win here in 2015. He has finished in the top-five, six times in his past eight races here. In total, he has one win (2015), two podiums (2017), six top-five and 9 top-10 finishes in his 14 races here including a pair of fourth place finishes in the doubleheader in 2020. He has also competed in many other series at his “home track.” At the age of 16 in 2005, he became the youngest to claim the SCCA National Formula Atlantic championship at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs here by a dominant 43-seconds. He also competed in the Star Mazda race here in 2005 (S/F 4/9) and tested a Grand Am car here in 2007… 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 in 9th place in series point standings with a total of 228.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Practice 1 is over for us. It was a short test session. The tires were taking a long time to come up to temperature. Before I did a full lap up to speed, I was off track and had to come into the pit because of that. I need to rely on our teammates data tonight but hopefully tomorrow is a much smoother session.”
- FAST FACTS: The Honda Indy 200 will mark Takuma’s 13th race here. In his 12 previous races, his best start is third – in 2010 with KVRT and in 2017 with Andretti Autosport. He has two, top-five finishes and three top-10’s. His best finish is fourth in 2011 with KVRT. He finished 17th in Race 1 and 18th in Race 2 here last year… His highest start of the season is pole at Barber (road) and Texas (oval) and his highest finish is his win at Barber … Has FOUR IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road) 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 sixth in the series point standings with 301 points.
SANTINO FERRUCCI, No. 45 Hy-Vee Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It’s great to be back in the RLL Hy-Vee Honda here at Mid-Ohio, the home race for the team and it’s nice to be back in an Indy car. The first session was definitely a little rocky for sure and we’ve definitely got a little bit of work to do coming into tomorrow’s practice and qualifying, but we are going to sort the car out and get the Hy-Vee Honda up front.”
- FAST FACTS: After a strong result of sixth place in the Indy 500, and sixth and tenth at the doubleheader in Detroit, Santino returns to the team for the Mid-Ohio race. He competed with Dale Coyne Racing here in 2019 where he started 14th and finished 12th and in the doubleheader in 2020 with a career-best start of second place in Race 2. He started 14th in Race 1 and had 14th place finishes in both races.
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT MID-OHIO … The 2021 Honda Indy 200 will mark the 25th Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at Mid-Ohio Sports Car course, near the team’s Hilliard, Ohio shop. The team also competed in the Atlantic Series race in 2003 with Danica Patrick and has competed in ALMS races here in 2007 and from 2009-2012 and IMSA races since 2018. The team has earned four podiums (1st – G. Rahal 2015; 3rd – B. Rahal 1997, 1998, G. Rahal 2017), 15 top-five’s and 21 top-10 finishes at the track and the highest start is pole (Herta 1997). Another front row start came in 1999 (Herta; 2nd). Prior to the 2021 event, the team prepared a total of 38 Indy car entries for drivers Bobby Rahal (1992-98), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jourdain Jr. (2002-03) Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007-2008), Takuma Sato (2012, 2018-20, two races in ‘20), James Jakes (2013) and Graham Rahal (2013-2020, 2 races in ‘20). The team will enter the No. 15 Fifth Third Bank entry for Graham Rahal, the No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack entry for Takuma Sato and the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry for Santino Ferrucci and will bring that total to 41 in 2021.
NEXT UP: Practice 2 will take place tomorrow from 9:05 – 9:50 a.m. ET and qualifying will be 12:00 – 1:05. NBCSN will air qualifying at 11 p.m. ET Saturday. The race warm-up will take place from 3:30 – 4:00 p.m. ET. Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com and includes commentary by the INDYCAR Radio Network.