#15: Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – July 3, 2021


RAHAL EARNED HIS BEST STARTING POSITION OF THE SEASON WITH EIGHTH FOR THE HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO; SATO AND FERRUCCI WILL START 19TH AND 22ND

1)         Josef Newgarden      1:06.6739 / 121.919 mph       (Group 1, Round 3)
8)         Graham Rahal           1:06.5946 / 122.064 mph       (Group 1, Round 2)
19)       Takuma Sato             1:07.0951 / 121.153 mph       (Group 1, Round 1)
22)       Santino Ferrucci       1:06.9254 / 121.461 mph       (Group 2, Round 1)

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We’re starting eighth tomorrow and would have liked to be higher up clearly. I think everyone will say that but I think we maximized the car. We made a couple of changes for Round 2 that weren’t as good, it was harder to get the lap time out of the car. We will turn our attention to the race. We think there are some guys starting ahead of us who aren’t as good in race trim so hopefully we will be able to get by them. But P8 was certainly, probably all she had today.” 

  • 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 from a 13th place start. 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: “I’m a bit frustrated with qualifying. The field is pretty tight as usual for the course but we couldn’t find the speed when we got on the red tires. It seems like its running very well on black tires but we didn’t get a big gain like other people did. It’s a tough one. For the race we will have a warmup for the race, and the race is 5 laps longer than last year so it should give us a little bit of an opportunity. Hopefully we get a good racecar and race tomorrow.”

  • 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: “Qualifying was not our best performance. We definitely struggled a little bit with understeer on track. I felt like we deserved better than that but will definitely have to pass a lot of cars tomorrow and get ourselves back in the top 10, and hopefully top five.” 

  • 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:  The pre-race warm-up will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET today.  Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com and includes commentary by the INDYCAR Radio Network. The 80-lap Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will air live on NBC on Sunday beginning at 12 p.m. ET.