Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio – Race Notes and Quotes

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – July 4, 2021


GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The Mid-Ohio race is complete and we came home sixth today. It was not a bad day but we just never really got a chance to attack too much. We just weren’t quite good enough behind others but the car was fast.  We had the third fastest race lap. But trying to get to the front was a major challenge.  The stars of today were once again the guys in the pit crew. The stops were phenomenal and made a huge, huge difference today and I’m super proud of them for all they do. We’re going to get a win one of these days. We just have to get our cars a little bit better, I have to drive a little better, make the strategy a little better, and have all these things come together. Thanks to Fifth Third Bank for their support.  Off we go for a little break and I’m looking forward to it.”

  • FAST FACTS: Qualified eighth and held the position through the opening lap. He moved into seventh when  Power spun and brought out a caution on Lap 4. On the restart, he was passed by Veekay on the restart on Lap 8 and ran eighth until the pit window opened. He took advantage of clean air to close on the car ahead – Palou – and cycled into fourth when he made his stop on Lap 30.  He ran sixth until the next pit window openend and made his final stop on Lap 53. The Fifth Third crew completed a lightning-fast 5.7-second stop and returned to the track in seventh while others still needed to stop. He moved to sixth with leader Herta stalled in the pits on his stop.  He held off a charge by O’Ward, who was on the faster, but less durable alternate tires and the threat reduced once they ran longer. He took the checkered flag in sixth place… The 2021 Honda Indy 200 was 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 256.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We got 10th starting from 19th. It was a difficult weekend. It (the race) got started well, I think that there was an incident in front that we avoided twice in a row so at the restart I think it was all good. We settled into the rhythm and, strategy-wise, after that there were no yellows so nothing we could really do. I think everyone was spread for the two-stop strategy. We stretched for the first one so we were one of the late stoppers for the group. That enabled us to have a hard race, particularly with Bourdais in the end, and make a place on the final lap. I think it was decent but not the best result we wanted. But starting from 19th and finishing in the top 10, we will take it. Now hopefully a little summer vacation for the team and do lots of analysis.  We will have one test in Laguna so I’m looking forward to the last part of the season.”

  • FAST FACTS: Started 19th and moved up to 15th after Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Grosjean and Rosenqvist were involved in multi-car contact. Once the race restarted from caution on Lap 3, Power brought out another on Lap 4 when he spun on course. Sato ran 14th until he was passed by Ferrucci on Lap 12/80. He climbed as high as sixth as the field made their first scheduled stops and he pit on Lap 31. He returned to the track in 15th place, which he held until he cycled into eighth place before his second stop on Lap 55. He returned to the track in 12th place and spent he majority of the stint trying to pass Bourdais, which he did on the last lap. Herta had to pit for a splash of fuel which gained him another spot.  The Honda Indy 200 was 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 10th in the series point standings with 226 points. 

SANTINO FERRUCCI, No. 45 Hy-Vee Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Well, Mid-Ohio is done and dusted with a P9 finish and 13 positions made up so the racecar was “Hella” fast. Thank you to the whole RLL crew; we were fast down pit road all day. And thank you to Hy-Vee and Mountain Dew.”

  • FAST FACTS: Qualified 22nd and gained six spots on the start after he passed Chilton and Kellett and Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Grosjean and Rosenqvist were involved in contact on the opening lap. He moved up to 15th on Lap 4 when Power spun and passed Sato on Lap 12 for 14th.  He cycled into 10th place before his first stop on Lap 25. After his stop, he settled into 13th place a few laps later and held the position until the next pit window opened. He cycled into 10th before his final stop on Lap 53 and he returned to the track in 10th place.  Previous front-runner Herta had to make a stop for a splash of fuel with one lap to go and Ferrucci moved into ninth place by the checkered flag… 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.

NEXT UP:  The series will return to action August 6-8 for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville.