Archives for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing PR

Ferrucci To Drive the No 45 Hy-Vee Indy Car in the Inaugural Music City Grand Prix of Nashville

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 19, 2021) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Santino Ferrucci will return to the team to compete in the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry at the inaugural Music City Grand Prix of Nashville, August 6-8. Hy-Vee, Inc. – an employee-owned supermarket chain that operates more than 280 retail stores across eight Midwestern states – is the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for two races this season as well as a full season associate and was the primary sponsor of Ferrucci’s car at the Indy 500, doubleheader races in Detroit and the Mid-Ohio event.

At the Indy 500, Ferrucci piloted the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda to his third straight top-seven finish with a sixth-place result, finished sixth in Race 1 and tenth in Race 2 in Detroit and ninth at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

“I’m super excited to be back driving for RLL and Hy-Vee,” said Santino Ferrucci. “It’s going to be an incredible race as it’s our first time racing in the streets of Nashville. The track has an incredible layout that has us racing over a bridge. I have been to the track before on a scooter so I at least know a little about the layout. I’m excited to get the chance to continue with consistent top-10 finishes for the team but I definitely think we can challenge for a win if the weekend goes smoothly.”

“Our partnership with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team has continued to bring excitement to our employees and customers,” said Randy Edeker, Chairman, CEO and President of Hy-Vee. “We look forward to teaming up with Santino Ferrucci again to drive the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry in Nashville.”

Hy-Vee first joined the team as the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for Race 2 at the Iowa Speedway in 2020 where he finished third. The company was also the primary sponsor of the team’s entry for Spencer Pigot at the Indy 500 and an associate sponsor of Rahal’s entry for the legendary race. In 2021, they have been a primary sponsor at five races: the Indy 500, Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader and Mid-Ohio races with Ferrucci and at Road America with Rahal.

After two full INDYCAR SERIES seasons in 2019-2020 and a partial one in 2018, Ferrucci joined RLL for the Indy 500 and the Detroit Grand Prix races. To date, his best Indy car start is second place at Mid-Ohio (Race 2) in 2020 and he has finished in fourth place four times. In 2021, Ferrucci competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving for Sam Hunt Racing.

The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season continues with the Music City Grand Prix of Nashville which will be broadcast live on NBCSN on August 8 at 4:30 p.m. EDT. All future on-track action can be seen on NBC, NBCSN or NBC’s Peacock Premium streaming service. For more information about the series or team, visit www.indycar.com and www.rahal.com.

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

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

RAHAL FINISHED SIXTH, FERRUCCI NINTH AND SATO TENTH IN THE HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO

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.

Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Qualifying Reports

#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.

Rahal Was Fifth Fastest in Practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio; Ferrucci and Sato Were 24th and 25th

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.

Rahal, Sato & Ferrucci Return to Team’s Home Track for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Pre-Race Notes
Round 9 of 16 in the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES
DATE:     July 2-4, 2021

PRACTICE BROADCAST:     Live on Peacock Premium on Friday from 2:30 – 3:15 p.m. ET and on Saturday from 9:05 – 9:50 a.m. and 3:30 – 4 p.m. ET.  Also live on the INDYCAR Radio Network (IRN) and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis).

QUALIFYING BROADCAST:     Live on Peacock Premium, the IRN and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis) from 12:00 – 1:15 p.m. ET Saturday. Tape delayed on NBCSN from 11:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. ET on Sunday.

RACE BROADCAST:     Live on NBC Sunday, July 4 from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET. And also on Peacock Premium, IRN, Sirius 211 and XM 205

TRACK LAYOUT:     2.258-mile, 13-turn road course
RACE LENGTH:     80 laps / 180.64 miles (increased from 75 in 2020)

2020 WINNER(S):     Will Power (Race 1), Colton Herta (Race 2)
2020 POLESITTER(S):     Will Power (1:06.3343, 122.543 mph; Race 1), Colton Herta (1:26.2788; 94.215 mph; Race 2)

RAHAL’S BEST MID-OHIO START / FINISH:     4th in 2009 (NHLR) and 2017 (RLL) / 1st in 2015 with RLL; will be his 15th Indy car race here
RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES START / FINISH:     3 Poles – St. Pete (street) 2009, Kansas (oval) 2009, Detroit (street) 2017 / 6 Wins – St. Pete 2008, Fontana (oval; 500 miles) 2015, Mid-Ohio (road) 2015, Texas (oval) 2016; Detroit Race 1 2017, Detroit Race 2 2017

SATO’S BEST MID-OHIO START / FINISH:     3rd in 2010 (KVRT) & 2017 (AA) / 4th in 2011 (KVRT); will be his 13th race here
SATO’S HIGHEST SERIES START / FINISH:     10 Poles – Iowa (oval) 2011, Edmonton (street) 2011, Houston Race 1 (street) 2013, St. Pete (street) 2014, Detroit Dual 2 (street) 2014, Detroit Dual 2 2017, Pocono (oval) 2017, Barber (road) 2019, Texas (oval) 2019, Gateway (oval) 2020 – Race 2 / 6 Wins – Long Beach (2013), Indianapolis 500 (2017), Portland (road) 2018, Barber 2019, Gateway (oval) 2019, Indianapolis 500 (2020)

FERRUCCI’S BEST START / FINISH AT MID-OHIO:     2nd in 2020 (Race 2) / 12th in 2019 – both with DCR; will be his 4th race here
FERRUCCI’S HIGHEST SERIES START / FINISH:     2nd at Mid-Ohio (Race 2) 2020 / 4th place, four times (most recently the 2020 Indy 500)

RLL’S BEST START / FINISH AT MID-OHIO:     Pole 1997 (Herta) / 1st 2015 (G. Rahal)


NEWS & NOTES:

HOME RACE FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING
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.

GRAHAM LOOKS TO BUILD ON HIS TWO FOURTH PLACE FINISHES FROM 2020
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. Year-by-year recaps are available upon request. He has also competed in many other series at his “home track.”  In addition to Indy car races here, at the age of 16 in 2005, Rahal 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.  He always enjoys racing at home.
            “Last year at Mid-Ohio was a double header and we finished fourth both days. We were pretty competitive; it was a toasty weekend and we expect the same this weekend. We weren’t able to get on the podium or the top step which is what we’d like to do at Mid-Ohio. We are excited for the weekend ahead. I feel like after Road America there’s a little frustration within the organization for not performing as well as we should have in the race. So you take that fuel and you add it to this weekend and hopefully we’ll have a really great run.
           “The field is tight; the guys up front (in the points) have kind of taken off a little bit so that’s going to be a pretty big hurdle to climb at this stage. When I look around us (in the standings) with Simon, Colton, and a lot of guys like Takuma, who is behind me, there are a lot of guys that are very close that we can certainly get and so our goal is to try to do that. I feel like if we can have a strong weekend this weekend, we should be able to go forward and have really strong races the beginning of next month. I feel good about Nashville and the Indy GP again for the brickyard weekend. I know that we are very competitive there, I know that we can run up front and potentially win that race based on our performance the last time around. This is a big weekend for us points wise, we’ve had a lot of great finishes this year but we need to get over the hurdle and get another podium and get a win. If we can get one win, I think we can get many others. It’s kind of this deal where you’ve got to knock the wall down sometimes. It took us a few years to do it before, and once we did we won five times in only a couple of years.”

TAKUMA AND MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE
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 is looking to rebound from a disappointing weekend here last year where he finished 17th in Race 1 and 18th in Race 2.
           “This weekend is Mid-Ohio, another great road course in the United States and pretty challenging as well. The racetrack is quite tricky because the track evolution is huge over the day and over the course of the weekend, so we have to be careful about chasing too much on that. To get the balance right, to get good grip is always the challenge at Mid-Ohio. We have good momentum at the moment from the last couple of races so we need to carry that over and we want to carry that even better into this weekend. Particularly since it’s a home race for Rahal Letterman Lanigan as well as having a big Honda plant in Mid-Ohio. Usually, we see lots of employees and families, and the fans generally speaking are very enthusiastic, one of the best road course fans that are very knowledgeable and it’s a great atmosphere. Last year we couldn’t have the fans back, but this year will be extremely exciting. Looking forward to seeing them all, and we will do our best to have a strong weekend.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI RETURNS TO THE SITE OF HIS BEST INDYCAR START OF SECOND PLACE
After a strong result of sixth place in the Indy 500, and sixth and tenth at the doubleheader in Detroit, Santino Ferrucci will return to the team and pilot the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry. 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. He’s looking forward to his first road course race in an Indy car this season.
            “I’m super excited to be back in Mid-Ohio. The performance to date with the team has been pretty incredible. Three races and three top 10’s, two races where we were just outside of the top five at the 500 and Detroit Race 1. I’m really looking forward to being back; I really think we can get inside the top 5 and on the podium and possibly win one. I’m thrilled to be back at Mid-Ohio and I can’t wait.  My highest start came at Mid-Ohio, actually last year, I started outside the front row and we were fastest in our group in the rain by about 2.5 seconds. I can definitely repeat it — by 2.5 seconds, probably not — but in the dry I’d like to think we can qualify in the Fast Six for sure. I think the car will have the pace.”

GRAHAM AND SANTINO ON THE CHANGE FROM A 75 LAP RACE TO 80
“Last year’s races were 75 laps because of the double header,” said Rahal. “A traditional race is longer than that which is what we are going to see this weekend. Strategy wise I don’t see a big change. We will have to sit down and look at it with the guys on our team when the time comes after we see where we start and what we can do. And if we are starting up front, you’re going to follow a pretty normal strategy. Tire wise we are going to have to see how the cars respond this year in the conditions on the track. There has been a lot of running in Ohio with other series over the last couple of days and weeks and so it’s going to be important to see how that works with us. But we are excited and we think we’ll be pretty strong.”
            “I’m super excited that they went back to the 80-lap race this year in Ohio,” added Ferrucci. “It’s a little bit better because you can run a two-stop or three-stop strategy so it just makes people do different things. You can either do fuel savings, or you can run hard and fast. It definitely changes up the grid a little bit and I’m looking forward to it. I don’t think it’s a big deal with endurance since we aren’t doing a double header this weekend, but I definitely think it will make the racing more entertaining.”

GRAHAM AND HIS HOME RACE
“This weekend I’m really excited to see a lot of fans. I anticipate a great crowd. Being the 4th of July is kind of an interesting time to have a race but I hope people look at it as a positive that it’s a great opportunity to come out and have a blast with your family this weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the fireworks going off, and I’m looking forward to going around and seeing the campgrounds on Saturday night. I know there’s no official judging this year but certainly going to go around and see everybody. The one thing I’m looking forward to with Harlan is to take her around the track. She loves golf cart rides which is something we found at Road America. And I did too as a kid so it’s kind of funny. We just put her on our lap and go cruise around. For me, its moments like that where my love for the sport came from, specifically at Mid-Ohio spending time with my family and going on golf cart rides. Guys that worked for the race team would take me out and I’m sure it was boring for them but for me it created memories that have lasted a lifetime and I hope the same for Harlan. On Saturday night to take her out to see everybody and cruise around in the golf cart will be awesome. We’ve always enjoyed Mid-Ohio, Mid-Ohio means a lot to our family and I think this particular weekend even more so.”

SANTINO ON THE IMPORTANCE OF MID-OHIO FOR THE TEAM
“I’ve known for quite a while that Mid-Ohio is a home race for Bobby and the team because every time I go there all you see is Graham Rahal jerseys, old Bobby memorabilia and stuff like that and it’s just really cool. It’s an honor to be driving at their home event in the Hy-Vee colors. Honestly I can’t wait to get going and to encounter some of those fans. I feel like Graham and I are like the great American duo so it’ll be a fun weekend for sure.”

POINT STANDINGS AFTER 9 OF 16 RACES
Heading into Round 10 at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, Rahal has a total of 228 points and is ranked ninth overall. He trails fifth place Simon Pagenaud by 27 (255). Takuma Sato is 10th with 206.

Santino Ferrucci Returns to RLL to Drive the No. 45 Hy-Vee Entry in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (June 28, 2021) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Santino Ferrucci will return to the team to compete in the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, July 2-4. Hy-Vee, Inc. – an employee-owned supermarket chain that operates more than 280 retail stores across eight Midwestern states – is the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for two races this season as well as a full season associate and was the primary sponsor of Ferrucci’s car at the Indy 500 and doubleheader races in Detroit.

At the Indy 500, Ferrucci piloted the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda to his third straight top-seven finish with a sixth-place result and finished sixth in Race 1 in Detroit and tenth in Race 2.

“I’m super excited to return to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing to race the Hy-Vee entry at Mid-Ohio,” said Santino Ferrucci, whose highest career INDYCAR qualifying position is second place in Race 2 at Mid-Ohio in 2020. “It’s been a great track for me in the past and last year I started on the front row. I’ve always enjoyed the track and its fans. I cannot wait to be working with the team again and continuing our relationship and our growth as the season moves forward. Hopefully we can get the Hy-Vee car into the top five and on the podium!”

“We look forward to having Santino Ferrucci drive the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry in this weekend’s race,” said Randy Edeker, Chairman, CEO and President of Hy-Vee. “Santino and the entire Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team care about their fans just like we care about our customers at Hy-Vee. Plus, the excitement Santino brings to the course keeps us on the edge of our seats and we can’t wait to see how he performs at the Honda Indy 200.”

Hy-Vee first joined the team as the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for Race 2 at the Iowa Speedway in 2020 where he finished third. The company was also the primary sponsor of the team’s entry for Spencer Pigot at the Indy 500 and an associate sponsor of Rahal’s entry for the legendary race. In 2021, they have been a primary sponsor at four races: the Indy 500 and Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader with Ferrucci and at Road America with Rahal.

After two full INDYCAR SERIES seasons in 2019-2020 and a partial one in 2018, Ferrucci joined RLL for the Indy 500 and the Detroit Grand Prix races. To date, his best Indy car start is second place at Mid-Ohio (Race 2) in 2020 and he has finished in fourth place four times. In 2021, Ferrucci competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving for Sam Hunt Racing.

The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season continues with the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio which will be broadcast live on NBC on July 4 at 12 p.m. EDT. All future on-track action can be seen on NBC, NBCSN or NBC’s Peacock Premium streaming service. For more information about the series or team, visit www.indycar.com and www.rahal.com.

REV Group Grand Prix at Road America – RACE NOTES / QUOTES – Sunday, June 20, 2021

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

REV Group Grand Prix at Road America
NTT INDYCAR SERIES – Round 9 of 16

SATO REBOUNDED FROM AN EARLY RACE INCIDENT TO FINISH EIGHTH IN THE REV GROUP GRAND PRIX AT ROAD AMERICA; RAHAL FINISHED 11TH

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Hy-Vee Dallara/Honda//Firestone: “The Road America race was really just a bad day for us. I drove poorly and gave up too many spots. And then at the end we just didn’t have the right tires on and was just exposed. We were losing the tires before the restart and that was it for me. I was out of overtake so just in trouble overall. It was a super disappointing weekend for us the way that finished up. It did not go as planned clearly but at the end of the day, thank you to Hy-Vee for supporting us and making us go round. We’ll be back stronger.  We’re going to work hard and focus on Mid-Ohio.”

  • FAST FACTS: Rahal ran at the front of each session for the event, with the exception of qualifying and the race. After starting 14th, he cycled as high as fourth before his first stop but struggled with the handling of his race car at various times throughout the race and finished in 11th place… The REV Group Grand Prix at Road America was Graham Rahal’s eighth Indy car race here and 12th overall. In his previous seven Indy car races here, his top finishes are two third place (2007, 2016), a fourth place (2019), sixth (2018) and eighth (2017). Last year he matched his best start of fourth place for Race 1 and passed second place starter Harvey for third by Turn 1. He held the position and set his fastest lap of the race on Lap 8 when he passed Hunter-Reay for second. He started pursuit of leader Newgarden and closed the gap by 0.4 seconds as the pit window began to open between laps 12-14. He ran between 2.2-2.5-seconds behind Newgarden and took over the lead on Lap 13 when he pit. When he made his first of three stops on the following lap, he held a 4.3-second lead on Ferrucci. There was a problem with the fueling and the extended seconds in the pit dropped him to 11th place and 21-seconds behind the leader when he returned to the track. By the time the second pit stops started to take place, he cycled up to sixth before making his second stop on Lap 27 of 55. He settled into eighth place and moved into seventh when Harvey appeared to have a car issue that brought out the full course caution. The field made their third stops once the pits opened. Rahal held seventh through the restart and was unable to hold off a last lap charge by Ericcson, who had more Push-to-Pass, but then spun off course and Rahal took the checkered flag in seventh to keep his top-10 finish streak at the track alive. Rahal planned to realize the potential of a fast car on one of his favorite tracks in Race 2 but didn’t make it past the opening lap after qualifying fifth when he was hit by Will Power in Turn 3. The hard hit sent him off course and into two different concrete walls in Turn 3. Power had previously made contact with Hunter-Reay in Turn 1 and was penalized for “avoidable contact” and had to go to the back of the field for the restart… 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 maintained his eighth place rank in series point standings with a total of 228.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Road America was a tough weekend to be honest starting from P20 as we couldn’t find the speed.  But a great strategy gave us a comeback. I’m sorry to Daly; my apologies to him. It was my fault for going too deep. But in the end I think the team made a great strategy to come back on the pace. The car was damaged so we had to duct tape to hold down the side wing so the car must have been damaged because it was dragging. Other than that, the restart was fun. It was a great sprint race in the end, finishing P8 is very strong considering we didn’t have a great pace. Great job to the whole team, and now we are halfway through the season so we will just keep pushing forward through the rest of the season. Thank you everyone for the support.”

  • FAST FACTS: He started 20th and moved into 17th place by the completion of Lap 1. He raced McLaughlin, Magnussen and Daly for position in the ensuing laps and INDYCAR Stewards ruled that he had made avoidable contact with Daly and had to give up one position. The contact damaged the left side of his race car and it was compromised and moving as he drove but he maintained 20th place until he stopped on Lap 10.  The team checked the car for further damage and he returned to the track in 25th place. He utilized the caution on Lap 17 for Jimmie Johnson to make another stop so the team could tape up the damaged bodywork and he only lost one spot.  Once the race went green again, he ran 22nd. The majority of the field made stops on the caution for Ericcson on Lap 24 and Sato cycled up into second place by Lap 25. He passed Magnussen on Lap 31 and led a total of two laps before he made his third stop on Lap 33. Once the round of stops was complete, he ran 11th by Lap 40/55 and into second for Laps 43-48 before making his final stop on Lap 48.  He set his fastest lap of the race on Lap 50. After Jones had an issue to bring out a caution and once temporary race leader Askew pit, he gained two spots. On the restart from Jones’s caution on Lap 53, he passed Rahal, Chilton and O’Ward to take the checkered flag in eighth place…  The 2021 REV Group Grand Prix was Takuma Sato’s seventh race at the four-mile, 14-turn course. His best start here of sixth place came in 2019 with RLL and his best finish of fourth came in 2018 – also with RLL.  In six races, he has two top-10 starts and four top-10 finishes, all coming since 2018.  Last year, Sato started 15th and on the harder primary tires. He was pushed off course by Veach on the start and dropped to 22nd but regained a few spots as Andretti and Rossi had to pit. On Lap 9, the team elected to pit him for the faster alternate tires so he could make up some ground. He was up to 15th by his second stop and then 12th for his third stop when the field pit under caution for Harvey. He restarted in 11th place and moved into 10th when O’Ward and Pagenaud made contact and the latter dropped back. Then he moved into ninth when Ericsson went off course on the last lap.  In Race 2, he started 12th and had to take evasive action on the opening lap from the contact ahead and lost positions to Newgarden, Veach, Kimball, Andretti, Ericsson and VeeKay.  He ran 14th until others began to make stops and cycled up to fourth before he made his first stop on Lap 16 of 55. He returned to run 14th until the next cycle began and he moved up to fourth again before his second stop on Lap 28. A few cars pit and he later passed Power for ninth place on Lap 37. He was up to eighth place when he made his final stop and returned to the track in the same position. He had to stretch his fuel which enabled ninth place runner Newgarden to close a two-second gap to 0.4 by the final lap but Sato held him off to finish eighth… 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 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 road, Texas oval; 2020 St. Louis – Race 2).  He moved from 10th to 9th place in series point standings with 206.

NEXT UP:  The series will take next weekend off before returning to action for the Honda Indy at Mid-Ohio on July 4.

REV Group Grand Prix of Road America Qualifying

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingREV Group Grand Prix at Road America
NTT INDYCAR SERIES – Round 9 of 16
QUALIFYING NOTES / QUOTES – Saturday, June 19, 2021

RAHAL AND SATO QUALIFIED 14TH AND 20TH FOR THE REV GROUP GRAND PRIX AT ROAD AMERICA

1)         Josef Newgarden      1:46.0186 / 136.301 mph       (Group 2, Round 3)
14)       Graham Rahal           1:46.2779 / 135.968 mph       (Group 2, Round 1)
20)       Takuma Sato             1:46.5130 / 135.668 mph       (Group 2, Round 1)

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Hy-Vee Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I’m just super disappointed. We felt like we had made the right moves to improve the car. We felt confident in what we were doing but unfortunately just missed it. Just the few tenths (of a second) we lost in the carousel looks like it cost us advancing where we could have had a chance to improve the Hy-Vee car for Round 2. That being said we weren’t quite quick enough, so we are just going to keep our heads down and focus on the race now.”

  • FAST FACTS: After setting the third fastest time in the morning practice, Rahal was disappointed to qualify 14th for his eighth race here… The REV Group Grand Prix at Road America will be Graham Rahal’s eighth Indy car race here and 12th overall. In seven Indy car races here, his top finishes are two third place (2007, 2016), a fourth place (2019), sixth (2018) and eighth (2017). Last year he matched his best start of fourth place for Race 1 and passed second place starter Harvey for third by Turn 1. He held the position and set his fastest lap of the race on Lap 8 when he passed Hunter-Reay for second. He started pursuit of leader Newgarden and closed the gap by 0.4 seconds as the pit window began to open between laps 12-14. He ran between 2.2-2.5-seconds behind Newgarden and took over the lead on Lap 13 when he pit. When he made his first of three stops on the following lap, he held a 4.3-second lead on Ferrucci. There was a problem with the fueling and the extended seconds in the pit dropped him to 11th place and 21-seconds behind the leader when he returned to the track. By the time the second pit stops started to take place, he cycled up to sixth before making his second stop on Lap 27 of 55. He settled into eighth place and moved into seventh when Harvey appeared to have a car issue that brought out the full course caution. The field made their third stops once the pits opened. Rahal held seventh through the restart and was unable to hold off a last lap charge by Ericcson, who had more Push-to-Pass, but then spun off course and Rahal took the checkered flag in seventh to keep his top-10 finish streak at the track alive. Rahal planned to realize the potential of a fast car on one of his favorite tracks in Race 2 but didn’t make it past the opening lap after qualifying fifth when he was hit by Will Power in Turn 3. The hard hit sent him off course and into two different concrete walls in Turn 3. Power had previously made contact with Hunter-Reay in Turn 1 and was penalized for “avoidable contact” and had to go to the back of the field for the restart… 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 eighth place in series point standings with a total of 209.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a frustrating qualifying. We had a little moment on my fastest lap where I had to lock up the rear but not only that, we are just simply lacking speed. We need to find the speed; that’s the fundamental issue. We have one more session for warmup today before the race, and hopefully we find a little bit more speed for competitiveness. Whatever the weather forecast is, we have to deal with it, but it wouldn’t be harmful for us if it rained to change the conditions because we have been struggling a bit. First we need to understand and find where we are losing the speed though.”

  • FAST FACTS: The 2021 REV Group Grand Prix will be Takuma Sato’s seventh race at the four-mile, 14-turn course. His best start here of sixth place came in 2019 with RLL and his best finish of fourth came in 2018 – also with RLL.  In six races, he has two top-10 starts and four top-10 finishes, all coming since 2018.  Last year, Sato started 15th and on the harder primary tires. He was pushed off course by Veach on the start and dropped to 22nd but regained a few spots as Andretti and Rossi had to pit. On Lap 9, the team elected to pit him for the faster alternate tires so he could make up some ground. He was up to 15th by his second stop and then 12th for his third stop when the field pit under caution for Harvey. He restarted in 11th place and moved into 10th when O’Ward and Pagenaud made contact and the latter dropped back. Then he moved into ninth when Ericsson went off course on the last lap.  In Race 2, he started 12th and had to take evasive action on the opening lap from the contact ahead and lost positions to Newgarden, Veach, Kimball, Andretti, Ericsson and VeeKay.  He ran 14th until others began to make stops and cycled up to fourth before he made his first stop on Lap 16 of 55. He returned to run 14th until the next cycle began and he moved up to fourth again before his second stop on Lap 28. A few cars pit and he later passed Power for ninth place on Lap 37. He was up to eighth place when he made his final stop and returned to the track in the same position. He had to stretch his fuel which enabled ninth place runner Newgarden to close a two-second gap to 0.4 by the final lap but Sato held him off to finish eighth… 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 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 road, Texas oval; 2020 St. Louis – Race 2).  He is 10th in series point standings with 181.

NEXT UP:  Coverage for Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix of Road America will begin at 12 noon ET on NBCSN and the field will take the Green Flag at 12:45 p.m.

Rahal Was Fifth Fastest in Practice for the REV Group Grand Prix of Road America; Sato Was 13th

#15: Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingREV Group Grand Prix at Road America
NTT INDYCAR SERIES – Round 9 of 16
PRACTICE NOTES / QUOTES – Friday, June 18, 2021

RAHAL WAS FIFTH FASTEST IN PRACTICE FOR THE REV GROUP GRAND PRIX AT ROAD AMERICA; SATO WAS 13TH

1)         Romain Grosjean      1:47.6781 / 134.200 mph
5)         Graham Rahal           1:48.0938 / 133.684 mph
13)       Takuma Sato             1:48.4566 / 133.237 mph

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Hy-Vee Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “A brief Day 1 has come to a close here at Road America. The HyVee car rolled off competitive, we were P4 most of the session and ended up fifth due to some guys putting new tires on at the end and we did not on the HyVee machine. The boys have done an excellent job prepping this car getting this car ready to go. We feel good, we feel competitive, but the track is a major trick this weekend, already we can tell the grip is way off of what we’ve ever felt here before. The tire is supposed to be the same as last year, however the degradation is even worse than it was last year.  The deg is one lap, or one to two laps and the tires are gone so it’s going to be a huge challenge this weekend but I’m looking forward to it, and looking forward to seeing what we can do. I’m going to hang on out there and try and get this Hy-Vee car up front.”

  • FAST FACTS: The REV Group Grand Prix at Road America will be Graham Rahal’s eighth Indy car race here and 12th overall. In seven Indy car races here, his top finishes are two third place (2007, 2016), a fourth place (2019), sixth (2018) and eighth (2017). Last year he matched his best start of fourth place for Race 1 and passed second place starter Harvey for third by Turn 1. He held the position and set his fastest lap of the race on Lap 8 when he passed Hunter-Reay for second. He started pursuit of leader Newgarden and closed the gap by 0.4 seconds as the pit window began to open between laps 12-14. He ran between 2.2-2.5-seconds behind Newgarden and took over the lead on Lap 13 when he pit. When he made his first of three stops on the following lap, he held a 4.3-second lead on Ferrucci. There was a problem with the fueling and the extended seconds in the pit dropped him to 11th place and 21-seconds behind the leader when he returned to the track. By the time the second pit stops started to take place, he cycled up to sixth before making his second stop on Lap 27 of 55. He settled into eighth place and moved into seventh when Harvey appeared to have a car issue that brought out the full course caution. The field made their third stops once the pits opened. Rahal held seventh through the restart and was unable to hold off a last lap charge by Ericcson, who had more Push-to-Pass, but then spun off course and Rahal took the checkered flag in seventh to keep his top-10 finish streak at the track alive. Rahal planned to realize the potential of a fast car on one of his favorite tracks in Race 2 but didn’t make it past the opening lap after qualifying fifth when he was hit by Will Power in Turn 3. The hard hit sent him off course and into two different concrete walls in Turn 3. Power had previously made contact with Hunter-Reay in Turn 1 and was penalized for “avoidable contact” and had to go to the back of the field for the restart… 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 eighth place in series point standings with a total of 209.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It’s good to be back at Road America one of the most challenging tracks in the United States. I think the session was okay, it’s quite a short session and we did probably four runs, with one set of tires and it’s always difficult.  It seems like quite a big drop off (on the tire). The first outing was the best lap time, but then we gathered quite good data (for qualifying and the race) and we need to look at the balance and stability which is the most challenging for this track so hopefully tomorrow will be better.  Today was so-so.”

  • FAST FACTS: The 2021 REV Group Grand Prix will be Takuma Sato’s seventh race at the four-mile, 14-turn course. His best start here of sixth place came in 2019 with RLL and his best finish of fourth came in 2018 – also with RLL.  In six races, he has two top-10 starts and four top-10 finishes, all coming since 2018.  Last year, Sato started 15th and on the harder primary tires. He was pushed off course by Veach on the start and dropped to 22nd but regained a few spots as Andretti and Rossi had to pit. On Lap 9, the team elected to pit him for the faster alternate tires so he could make up some ground. He was up to 15th by his second stop and then 12th for his third stop when the field pit under caution for Harvey. He restarted in 11th place and moved into 10th when O’Ward and Pagenaud made contact and the latter dropped back. Then he moved into ninth when Ericsson went off course on the last lap.  In Race 2, he started 12th and had to take evasive action on the opening lap from the contact ahead and lost positions to Newgarden, Veach, Kimball, Andretti, Ericsson and VeeKay.  He ran 14th until others began to make stops and cycled up to fourth before he made his first stop on Lap 16 of 55. He returned to run 14th until the next cycle began and he moved up to fourth again before his second stop on Lap 28. A few cars pit and he later passed Power for ninth place on Lap 37. He was up to eighth place when he made his final stop and returned to the track in the same position. He had to stretch his fuel which enabled ninth place runner Newgarden to close a two-second gap to 0.4 by the final lap but Sato held him off to finish eighth… 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 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 road, Texas oval; 2020 St. Louis – Race 2).  He is 10th in series point standings with 181.

NEXT UP:  Practice 2 will take place from 10:10-10:55 a.m. CT tomorrow and qualifying will begin at 1:30. Final warm-up will conclude the day’s activities from 4:30-5:00. Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix of Road America will take the Green Flag at 11:45 a.m. CT and coverage will begin on NBCSN at 12 noon ET.

After Competitive Runs in Recent Years, Rahal and Sato Look Forward to the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Pre-Race Notes
REV Group Grand Prix at Road America
Round 9 of 16 in the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES

DATE:     June 18-20, 2021

PRACTICE BROADCAST:     Live on Peacock Premium on Friday from 5:00 – 5:45 p.m. ET and on Saturday from 11:10 – 11:55 a.m. and 5:30 – 6 p.m. ET.  Also live on the INDYCAR Radio Network (IRN) and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis).

QUALIFYING BROADCAST:     Live on Peacock Premium, the IRN and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis) from 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. ET Saturday. Tape delayed on NBCSN from 12-1:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

RACE BROADCAST:     Live on NBCSN Sunday, June 20 from 12:00 – 2:45 p.m. ET. And also on Peacock Premium, IRN, Sirius 211 and XM 205

TRACK LAYOUT:     4.048-mile, 14-turn permanent road course
RACE LENGTH:     55 laps / 222.6 miles
2020 WINNER(S):     Scott Dixon (Race 1) and Felix Rosenqvist (Race 2)
2020 POLESITTER(S):     Josef Newgarden (1:45.5191 / 136.946 mph; R1), Pato O’Ward (1:44.8971 / 137.758 mph; R2)                     

RAHAL’S BEST ROAD AMERICA START / FINISH:     4th in 2007 (NHLR) and 2020 (RLL; Race 1) / 3rd in 2007 & 2016; will be his 8th Indy car race here
RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES START / FINISH:     3 poles – Pole at St. Pete (street) 2009, Kansas (oval) 2009, Detroit Race 1 (street) 2017 / 6 wins – 1st in St. Pete in 2008, Fontana & Mid-Ohio 2015, Texas 2016, Detroit Race 1 & Race 2 2017

SATO’S BEST ROAD AMERICA START / FINISH:     6th in 2019 / 4th in 2018 – both with RLL; will be 7th race here
SATO’S HIGHEST SERIES START / FINISH:     10 Poles – Iowa (oval) 2011, Edmonton (street) 2011, Houston Race 1 (street) 2013, St. Pete (street) 2014, Detroit Dual 2 (street) 2014, Detroit Dual 2 2017, Pocono (oval) 2017, Barber (road) 2019, Texas (oval) 2019, St. Louis (oval; Race 2) 2020 / 6 Wins – Long Beach (2013), Indianapolis 500 (2017), Portland (2018), Barber (2019), St. Louis (2019), Indianapolis 500 (2020)

RLL’S BEST START / FINISH AT ROAD AMERICA:     1st – Kenny Brack (2001) / 2nd – Bobby Rahal (1996); 19 races here


NEWS & NOTES:

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT ROAD AMERICA
The 2020 REV Group Grand Prix at Road America doubleheaders will mark the 19 time for Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing to compete in an Indy car race here.  The team competed in CART and Champ Car-sanctioned races here from 1992-2003 and again since 2016 with a best starting position of pole by Kenny Brack in 2001 and best finish of second place by Bobby Rahal in 1996. The team has earned a total of five podium finishes here (2nd – B. Rahal 1996; 3rd – B. Rahal 1992-1993, Kenny Brack 2000, Graham Rahal 2016).

Prior to 2021, the team prepared a total of 32 Indy car entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1998), Mike Groff (1993-94), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Kenny Brack (2000-01), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jourdain (2002-2003), Graham Rahal (2016-2020; two races in ‘20) and Takuma Sato (2018-2020; two races in ‘20).  The team will enter the No. 15 Hy-Vee entry for Graham Rahal and the No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack entry for Takuma Sato to bring that total to 34 in 2020.  The team has also competed in ALMS and IMSA-sanctioned races here under the name BMW Team RLL since 2009 and has three wins (2009, 2010, 2012), three poles (2009, 2011, 2014) and a total of nine podium finishes here.

RAHAL AIMING TO BETTER STRING OF TOP-FIVE FINISHES
The REV Group Grand Prix at Road America will be Graham Rahal’s eighth Champ or Indy car race here and 12th overall. In seven Indy car races here, he has two third place finishes (2007, 2016), a fourth place (2019), sixth (2018) and eighth (2017). Last year he matched his best start of fourth place for Race 1 and passed second place starter Harvey for third by Turn 1. He held the position and set his fastest lap of the race on Lap 8 when he passed Hunter-Reay for second. He started pursuit of leader Newgarden and closed the gap by 0.4 seconds as the pit window began to open between laps 12-14. He ran between 2.2-2.5-seconds behind Newgarden and took over the lead on Lap 13 when he pit. When he made his first of three stops on the following lap, he held a 4.3-second lead on Ferrucci. There was a problem with the fueling and the extended seconds in the pit dropped him to 11th place and 21-seconds behind the leader when he returned to the track. By the time the second pit stops started to take place, he cycled up to sixth before making his second stop on Lap 27 of 55. He settled into eighth place and moved into seventh when Harvey appeared to have a car issue that brought out the full course caution. The field made their third stops once the pits opened. Rahal held seventh through the restart and was unable to hold off a last lap charge by Ericcson, who had more Push-to-Pass, but then spun off course and Rahal took the checkered flag in seventh to keep his top-10 finish streak at the track alive. Rahal planned to realize the potential of a fast car on one of his favorite tracks in Race 2 but didn’t make it past the opening lap after qualifying fifth when he was hit by Will Power in Turn 3. The hard hit sent him off course and into two different concrete walls in Turn 3. Power had previously made contact with Hunter-Reay in Turn 1 and was penalized for “avoidable contact” and had to go to the back of the field for the restart. He is hoping to capitalize on historically strong performances at Road America. 
            “Last year we had a really strong run at Road America. In fact, we had a great chance to win it on the Saturday race and had a little bit of an issue with a pit stop, but the boys rebounded well.  Unfortunately, on Sunday we didn’t even get a chance to go race. We got taken out in the second corner and, that was kind of our day done, but our team has been excellent this year. I think even when we’ve started in the back and we haven’t quite had the qualifying pace, our boys have done a great job with strategy. The car has been fast in the race, we’ve been able to go forward and we expect the same thing in the Hy-Vee car this weekend, and we’re looking forward to it.”

TAKUMA LOOKS FORWARD TO CARRYING OVER THE COMPETITIVENESS AT ROAD AMERICA
The 2021 REV Group Grand Prix will be Takuma Sato’s seventh race at the four-mile, 14-turn course. His best start here of sixth place came in 2019 with RLL and his best finish of fourth came in 2018 – also with RLL.  In six races, he has two top-10 starts and four top-10 finishes, all coming since 2018.  Last year, Sato started 15th and on the harder primary tires. He was pushed off course by Veach on the start and dropped to 22nd but regained a few spots as Andretti and Rossi had to pit. On Lap 9, the team elected to pit him for the faster alternate tires so he could make up some ground. He was up to 15th by his second stop and then 12th for his third stop when the field pit under caution for Harvey. He restarted in 11th place and moved into 10th when O’Ward and Pagenaud made contact and the latter dropped back. Then he moved into ninth when Ericsson went off course on the last lap.  In Race 2, he started 12th and had to take evasive action on the opening lap from the contact ahead and lost positions to Newgarden, Veach, Kimball, Andretti, Ericsson and VeeKay.  He ran 14th until others began to make stops and cycled up to fourth before he made his first stop on Lap 16 of 55. He returned to run 14th until the next cycle began and he moved up to fourth again before his second stop on Lap 28. A few cars pit and he later passed Power for ninth place on Lap 37. He was up to eighth place when he made his final stop and returned to the track in the same position. He had to stretch his fuel which enabled ninth place runner Newgarden to close a two-second gap to 0.4 by the final lap but Sato held him off to finish eighth. Sato believes the
            “Last year and the year before, we were relatively very competitive. And after Barber this year for the road course and two street courses — St Petersburg and Detroit — both felt very competitive. The construction of tires and philosophy is different from street course to road course, but I think we have a good package. This year after last year’s study I think we have an even more competitive package. After Detroit it’s going to be back-to-back, so it’s going to be quite busy for the boys to prepare the car but we are all looking forward to going back to Elkhart Lake with very enthusiastic fans.  We are very, very excited so we are looking forward to the weekend.”

RAHAL ON HIS SEASON TO DATE
“When I look at this season, we’ve had tons of top five’s and a seventh (place) at Barber.  Unfortunately, we have a big miss at St. Pete where we were, again, running in the top five and the Indy 500 where we were running right at the front. Those two races have really hurt us in our championship chase. But, when you look at on the average, what you need to do to be a champion in the INDYCAR SERIES, we’ve done that. It’s just our misses have been bad so we need to keep our heads down, we need to get a win and we feel like Road America is a great spot to do it.  We’re excited to be in the Hy-Vee car this weekend. From a family perspective, Road America has always been a great place to go and race. And we’re excited to get back up there.”

RAHAL AND SATO ON ROAD AMERICA
“My favorite part of Road America is probably the carousel,” said Rahal. “Turn one is awesome too, just the high speed cornering, really on the edge of your seat, pushing the car as hard as you can, that’s really cool. My least favorite, honestly it sounds ridiculous, but it’s probably just leaving there at the end of the weekend. I love Road America, everything about that place, the environment that it has, the fans that it brings, and the special aspect it has for my family. This is a weekend I look forward to every single year. And when we leave there it’s always a bummer to think its one more year until we get to come back and try again.”
           “Road America is one of the fastest and most challenging racetracks, and a fan favorite in the United States because there is so much history, it’s quite classic, has long straights, heavy braking, high-speed sweeping corners, and it’s a beautiful track,” added Sato. “In order to go fast over there you need to have a relatively low downforce road course package but that’s always against for the braking stability where you really need it. And it shortens the braking, you’re not going to have it with low downforce. Having a good balance is always important and I think we have a very good package.”

RAHAL RETURNS TO THE HY-VEE ENTRY
Hy-Vee first joined the team as the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for Race 2 at the Iowa Speedway in 2020 where he finished third. They returned to the team this season as the primary sponsor of Rahal’s entry for races at Road America and World Wide Technology Raceway (August 21) as well as a full season associate sponsor. Rahal is looking forward to running their red and white corporate colors at one of his favorite races of the season.
            “I am extremely proud to be associated with Hy-Vee. Sponsorship is great and it’s what allows us to race but to do what Hy-Vee has done with Lukas and Abbey, coming to the 500 and the smile that it put on Lukas’s face, it’s something I’ll never forget. But then their promotional aspect is great as well. If you look at what they’ve done in all their stores with the signs absolutely everywhere, the race day grill packages and everything else that they’ve given to their customers as options is awesome. They have just completely hit it out of the park with their activation. We’re excited by the energy that they’ve supplied the team and their enthusiasm for what we’re doing. We’re looking forward to this weekend. It’s my first time this year being in the Hy-Vee car and, I hope it’s the first of many, many more to come in the future.”

FIRST FATHER’S DAY FOR RAHAL AT ROAD AMERICA
“I’m looking forward to getting up there. Obviously it’s my first Father’s Day, and being at Road America for it is pretty cool. It’s also my wife’s birthday so I’ve got a double header going on there.  But for me it brings back a lot of memories of my grandfather and my father, going up there as a kid myself and now I’ve got my own daughter. It’s (being a father) a whole different world. I tell people this all the time, every day is a new evolution. But I’m looking forward to going to a very special place for the Rahal family, Father’s Day weekend and to have my daughter Harlan with me.”

POINT STANDINGS AFTER 8 OF 16 RACES
Heading into Round 9 at the REV Group Grand Prix, Rahal has a total of 209 points and is ranked eighth overall. He trails leader Pato O’Ward by 90 (299) and fifth place Reenus VeeKay by 34 (243). Takuma Sato is 10th with 181.

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