Big Machine Spiked Coolers GP Qualifying

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingBig Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix – Indianapolis Motor Speedway


1)         Pato O’Ward                1:10.7147 / 124.167 mph          (Group 2, Round 2)
4)         Christian Lundgaard 1:10.7433 / 124.116 mph          (Group 2, Round 2)
16)       Takuma Sato               1:11.4174 / 122.945 mph          (Group 2, Round 1)
17)       Graham Rahal              1:11.5583 / 122.703 mph          (Group 1, Round 1)         

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 One Cure Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a frustrating end to the day for us on the One Cure team. In practice we were okay, I just wasn’t very happy with the car, and I think I led us down a path of doing a big differential change, doing a rear roll center change and a bunch of stuff. And unfortunately in qualifying we just completely tipped the car over and really just shot ourselves in the foot unfortunately. We’re quite different on the 15 car from our teammates so we are going to deviate to more of their setup for tomorrow and hopefully it will work out for us a little bit better. I’m disappointed, mightily disappointed to not do better. I feel like we, with all the preparation we’ve had coming into the Indy road course we should have been stronger than what we saw today. Obviously Christian did a great job. He drives this track very different from us, so I think both Takuma and I have a lot to learn in the way he approaches Turn 4 and a couple of the others. We’re just going to have to sit back and learn as much as we can and get the cars better for tomorrow. We just have to keep our heads down and hope for a good result tomorrow.”

  • FAST FACTS: He set the eighth fastest time in practice before qualifying… The Big Machine Spiked Coolers GP will be Rahal’s 11th Indy car race on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.In July 2020, he earned his top start of fourth place here and matched his best finish of second place (2015, 2020) in seven starts but looked likely to win.  In 10 events, he has eight top-10 finishes of second (2015, 2020), fourth (2016), fifth (2021 May), sixth (2017), seventh (2019-2020) and ninth (2018). 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 ranked sixth in NTT INDYCAR SERIES point standings with 286.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was pretty tough day. Once again in practice, I didn’t get a chance to complete a lap on red tires because of traffic, and obviously the red flag came out also. It was an unknown situation going into qualifying and then for us we had a huge struggle to get the balance right in the conditions. It was a shame; I think the car has great potential, but we just didn’t get the balance correct so we need to look at the data, and tomorrow I’m sure we will put it together but it was a pity.”

  • FAST FACTS: The 2021 GMR GP will be Takuma’s 11th INDYCAR race on the IMS road course.  His best start is 11th in 2018 and 2019 with RLL and his best finish is ninth in 2017 with Andretti Autosport… Has SIX INDYCAR SERIES wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road, St. Louis short oval, 2020 – Indianapolis 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, Texas oval; 2020 – St. Louis Race 2)… He is ranked 10th in series point standings with a total of 231.

CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD, No. 45 Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Let’s just say I didn’t expect to be here now when I left home. I know my family is asleep right now. I guess they will have a heart attack when they wake up in the morning. I’m definitely happy with P4. I didn’t expect that so I’m happy. Yeah, I’m just super happy to be here. I’m enjoying every second of it. It’s so different to Europe. Just seeing fans is amazing. We’ve had one or two races this year in Formula 2 where we’ve had fans. It’s only half capacity. So to come here and see so many people near us is just awesome. I’m just enjoying myself and seeing all the opportunities I have, trying to grab them obviously. But it’s always about going out there and give it your all. For me, it’s just amazing to be here and to prove myself. I think it’s looking good so far. But I didn’t expect to be here now. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.”

  • FAST FACTS: This is his INDYCAR SERIES debut. He set the seventh fastest time in practice and in qualifying, he matched the team’s best start at IMS on the road course of fourth place, also set by Graham Rahal in 2020.

RLL AT THE IMS ROAD COURSE…. The Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix will mark the 11th NTT INDYCAR SERIES race on the 2.439-mile road course.  The team’s best finish here is second in 2015 and July 4, 2020 by Rahal and best start is fourthin 2020 by Rahal and 2021 by Lundgaard.

NEXT UP:  Warmup for the Big Machine Spiked Coolers GP will take place from 8:45-9:15 AM and NBCSN will begin coverage of the 85-lap race at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.