Practice 1 for the Acura GP of Long Beach Included the Usual Session Stoppages; More to Come for Rahal, Sato and Askew on Saturday

Photo Courtesy of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingAcura Grand Prix of Long Beach
Round 4 of 17 in the NTT IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, September 24, 2021


1)         Colton Herta              1:09.2680 / 102.281 mph       
19)       Graham Rahal           1:10.5113 / 100.478 mph       
21)       Takuma Sato             1:10.7675 / 100.114 mph                   
26)       Oliver Askew             1:11.2253 / 99.470 mph

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Total Quartz Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Practice 1 has come to a close. It’s not the start that we wanted for the weekend I think. Frankly we didn’t start well in Laguna either, but I think we’ve just got to make a few tweaks. It was kind of a messy session on my end. I think I only got one or two clear laps. I’m happy that my fastest lap was on an out lap and well as my very last one that matched it. We saw that a lot of other guys ran new tires towards the end of the session and we did not. So, I think we’ll be okay in the end but we definitely have some work to do tonight to make the Total Quartz car a little quicker.” 

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his 14th Champ or Indy car race here and 15th overall … His top finish is second place in 2013 with RLL after starting 11th and top start is fifth in 2007 with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and he finished eighth after slow fuel flow pit strategy… A recap of results is available upon request… He also competed in the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Series race here… 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 7th in series point standings with 374 points.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Shield Cleansers Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a short session again for one last race (of the season) we come back here after nearly two-and-a-half years. It’s a really nice, great atmosphere and there is fantastic support from the fans. The session was a bit tricky with so many yellows and people going off all over the place and red flag’s so I think we only achieved a quarter of what we wanted. But just get back to rhythm, and I think we need a long list to look at it for tomorrow but it’s really nice to be back in Long Beach.

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his 11th race here… His highest start and finish here came in 2013 with A.J. Foyt Enterprises when he led 50 laps and won from a fourth-place start. The race prior to that was with RLL in 2012 and he led 16 laps and was third when he was hit by Hunter-Reay on the final lap and finished eighth after starting eighth.  His other top-10 start came in 2016 with Foyt (8th) and other top-10 finish was fifth in 2016, also with Foyt… 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 TEN 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 point standings with 302 points.

OLIVER ASKEW, No. 45 Hy-Vee Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Unfortunately Practice 1 ended a bit early for us. I made an error through Turn 1 and clipped the wall. But we did get some good quality running there in the beginning so I think tomorrow we can put our best foot forward and continue from there.”

  • FAST FACTS: Askew is making his racing debut on the street of Long Beach in his third start with the team. He qualified ninth at Portland but was involved in a Lap 1 incident and was later hit from behind and retired from the event. He went on to match his best INDYCAR start of fifth place for the Firestone Grand Prix of Laguna Seca. In the race, he was passed on the opening lap by four cars and ran 9th.  He battled with Grosjean and others before he regained fifth place and made his first of three stops on Lap 15. He lost some spots after a problem on the inside front and returned to the track in 18th place. He recovered a bit and cycled into fifth place before his second stop on Lap 41. He returned to the track in 13th place and steadily climbed up the order ahead of McLaughlin and others to fourth before his third stop on Lap 69.  He ran in eighth place the majority on the final stint but was passed by Newgarden and took the checkered flag ninth, for a top-10 finish. 

3 POLES, 6 PODIUMS FOR RLL IN 20 INDY CAR RACES AT LONG BEACH: This marks the 21st time for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) to compete in the main event.  In total, the team has won three poles (Herta 1998, Vasser 2002, Jourdain, Jr. 2003); made five front row starts including an all-Team Rahal front row in 1998 (2nd – Rahal 1998, Brack 2001); earned their best finish of second place four times (Rahal 1992-1993, Vasser 2002, G. Rahal 2013) and earned six podiums here (2nd – Rahal 1992-1993, Vasser 2002 & G. Rahal 2013; 3rd – Herta 1998-1999).  Although the team didn’t compete in Indy car races here from 2004-2011 while they fielded a fulltime entry in the Indy Racing League (2004-2008), they did compete in the 2003 and 2004 Atlantic races with Danica Patrick and in the 2007 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race.

NEXT UP:  Practice will take place Saturday morning from 9:00-9:45 a.m. PDT and qualifying will take place from 12:05-1:20 PM PDT.  Peacock will begin live coverage of qualifying at 3 p.m. EDT Saturday.  Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will be televised live on NBC Sports beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET Sunday, September 26.