Archives for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing PR

Rahal Added Another Fourth Place Finish at Mid-Ohio in Race 2 of the Honda 200; Sato Finished 18th

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – Race 2
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – September 13, 2020


RAHAL ADDED ANOTHER FOURTH PLACE FINISH AT MID-OHIO IN RACE 2 OF THE HONDA INDY 200; SATO FINISHED 18TH

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The Fifth Third Bank car was strong today. We were able to pass a few guys on the second stint but didn’t feel great on those reds towards the end. I was struggling a little bit and I think that hurt us. I think we had more pace than those guys (top-three) but the track position was hard. All in all, I thought our strategy was good, the pit stops were good and the Fifth Third Bank car was good. Two fourth-place finishes here is not too bad. We would have liked to gain a little more points on the guys ahead but we’ll take it. I think we closed the gap to some. That was as physical of a weekend as you are going to have.  Congrats to Colton (Herta) on a great run. This weekend we raised $7500 for Turns for Troops with United Rentals so that’s another thing to be happy about.”

  • FAST FACTS: Wet conditions in qualifying led to havoc and a lot of cars off course. Rahal set the sixth fastest time in his group to start 12. Rahal avoided a multi-car crash set off by Ferruccci on the opening lap to run sixth.  He lost a spot to Ericsson on Lap 8 while battling with a loose helmet pad that ultimately flew out of the cockpit.  Rookie Kellett spun so the majority of the field jumped into pit lane on Lap 15 for their first stops and Rahal retuned to the track in 10th, after having lost one spot to Newgarden.  Once the race restarted he got by Newgarden, then Ericsson and gained another spot when Dixon spun on Lap 22. He then passed Pagenaud. On Laps 29 and 32, Andretti and Sato made their out-of-sequence stops and Rahal ran fourth. He cycled into the lead on Lap 46 before his final stop on Lap 47 and retuned in fifth, behind Dixon who had to make another stop.  He began to reel in third place Hunter-Reay and closed to -0.6 by the checkered flag after 75 laps… Was his 14th race here. His best start is fourth in 2009 and 2017 and his best finish is his win here in 2015.  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… 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… Rahal moved from seventh to sixth in series point standings with a total of 301.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Everyone pit under the second yellow. Strategy-wise, staying out allowed us to try something and we led the race for a while and made over five seconds of gap, which was needed. But unfortunately, after the second sequence, we hit huge traffic where everybody was going in and out, in and out (of the pits) and we lost a couple of seconds. And then by the time everything was finished we went back to where we were. It’s a shame but we had to try. It was a tough weekend for us.”

  • FAST FACTS: Wet conditions in qualifying led to havoc and Takuma was 11th fastest in his group to start 22nd. In the race, a multi-car crash was set off on the first lap and he moved up to 19th. Rookie Kellett went off course to bring out a caution and the majority of the field pit except Sato and Andretti, who ran 1-2. He made his first stop from the lead on Lap 32 and then pit again on Lap 48 to try to get clear track but ran into traffic again and ultimately finished 18th. … Was his 11th race here. In his 10 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… His highest start of the season is pole at St Louis – Race 2 and his highest finish is his win at the Indianapolis 500 … Has SIX IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road, St. Louis 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, Texas oval; St. Louis oval – Race 2).  He dropped from fourth to seventh in series point standings with 300.

NEXT UP:  The Harvest Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway doubleheaders will take place Oct. 2-3.

Rahal Challenged for a Podium Spot and Finished Fourth in Race 1 of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio; Sato Finished 17th

#15: Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – Race 1
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – September 12, 2020


RAHAL CHALLENGED FOR A PODIUM SPOT AND FINISHED FOURTH IN RACE 1 OF THE HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO; SATO FINISHED 17TH

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was super-hot. It’s a good thing it wasn’t a 90-degree July day. I’m awfully proud of the United Rentals guys. I thought our strategy was great and the car was very good in race trim.  I think we were a little quicker than Newgarden and Rossi but I got held up by Pagenaud there coming out of the pits on that last stop or otherwise I think we had him (Rossi).  I thought we had a good opportunity there to get Alex but all in all it was a great run for us. It feels good to get a good result after St. Louis which was kind of a bruiser. Our guys did a wonderful job in the pits. The last few races, they’ve been lightning fast. We’ve just got to keep at it. It was a tough day. Tomorrow is going to be tougher. Guys are going to fall out of the saddle tomorrow.  That is physical.  It is hot, there’s not a lot of air, ad it was dirty. Tomorrow will be a bruiser. We switch over to the Fifth Third Bank car so we’re excited about that switch over. And we raised a lot of money for Turns for Troops today so all in all a good day.

  • FAST FACTS: Started eighth and worked his way to the front by running longer on his first stint. He made his second and final stop from the lead (although he wasn’t scored as having led) on Lap 48.  Once others pit, he took over fourth place and continued his pursuit of Rossi for a third-place podium finish.  He was within -0.5-seconds and pressured Rossi into several mistakes but was unable to pull off a pass despite being alongside him a few times.  He took the checkered flag in fourth place… Was his 13th race here. His best start is fourth in 2009 and 2017 and his best finish is his win here in 2015. 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… 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… Rahal is ranked seventh in series point standings with a total of 268.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a tough race and a lot of hard work but didn’t really reflect on the result which is a shame.  There was actually no drama; it was a caution-free race. Strategy wise we tried to gain back the positions but were just not quite there.  We need to work on it for tomorrow. It was hot, we sweat and lost a lot of pounds and weight.  We will have a good recovery tonight and hopefully be okay for tomorrow.”

  • FAST FACTS: Qualified 18th and finished in 17th place… Was his 11th race here. In his 10 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… His highest start of the season is pole at St Louis – Race 2 and his highest finish is his win at the Indianapolis 500 … Has SIX IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road, St. Louis 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, Texas oval; St. Louis oval – Race 2).  He maintained his fourth place rank in series point standings with 287 but race winner Will Power closed on him in fifth (287-280). 

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT MID-OHIO… Race 2 of the 2020 Honda Indy 200 will mark the 24th 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), 14 top-five’s and 20 top-10 finishes at the track and the highest start is pole (Herta 1997).  Another front row start came in 1999 (Herta; 2nd). 

NEXT UP:  Qualifying for Race 2 will take place from 10:15-10:45 a.m. ET Sunday.  Live coverage of the race will begin on NBC at 1 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 and Sato Return to the Team’s Home Race — the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Pre-Race Notes
Round 10 and 11 of 14 in the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES

DATE:     September 12-13, 2020

PRACTICE BROADCASTS:     Live on INDYCAR Pass, the direct-to-consumer streaming product from NBC Sports Gold, on Saturday from 10:45-12 p.m. ET. Also live on the INDYCAR Radio Network (IRN) and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis).                                                                                       
QUALIFYING BROADCAST:     Live on INDYCAR Pass, the IRN and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis) from 2-2:30 p.m. ET Saturday and 10:15-10:45 a.m. ET on Sunday.

RACE BROADCAST:     Live Saturday, September 12 from 4:30-7:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports and Sunday, September 13 from 1-3 p.m. ET on NBC. Both races will also air on INDYCAR Pass, IRN, Sirius 211 and XM 205.

TRACK LAYOUT:     2.258-mile, 13-turn road course
RACE LENGTH:     75 laps / 169.35 miles (reduced from 90 laps in 2019)

2019 WINNER:     Scott Dixon
2019 POLESITTER:     Will Power (1:05.1569; 124.757 mph)

RAHAL’S BEST MID-OHIO START / FINISH:     4th in 2009 (NHLR) and 2017 (RLL) / 1st in 2015 with RLL; will be his 13th and 14th Indy car races 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 11th and 12th races 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)

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


NEWS & NOTES:

2 RACES AT HOME FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING
The 2020 Honda Indy 200 will mark the 23rd and 24th Indy car events 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), 13 top-five’s and 19 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 2020 event, the team prepared a total of 34 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, 2018-19), James Jakes (2013) and Graham Rahal (2013-2019). The team will enter the No. 15 United Rentals entry for Graham Rahal for Saturday’s race and the Fifth Third Bank entry for Sunday as well as the No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack entry for Takuma Sato for both races and will bring that total to 38 in 2020.

GRAHAM HAS BEEN ON THE BRINK OF ROAD COURSE VICTORY THIS SEASON
The 2020 Honda Indy 200 will mark Rahal’s 13th and 14th Indy car races 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, four times in his past six races here. In total, he has one win (2015), two podiums (2017), four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in his 12 races here. 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 is looking forward to having a home race two times this season.
           “I’m excited to get back home. It’s going to be very physical. I think everybody expects that it’s going to be a tough weekend for all of us but I feel good about my physical condition. I am excited to continue on down this path and get back to racing. Clearly having a doubleheader at home is always going to be fun for me.  I’m looking forward to that challenge. I think INDYCAR is doing a great job to get these races in. From our standpoint, we’ve got to do the best that we can for all of our partners. We’re going to run the United Rentals car on Saturday and switch over night to the Fifth Third Bank car and hope we can get a good result in both races for them.”

TAKUMA AND MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE
The Honda Indy 200 will mark Takuma’s 11th and 12th races here. In his 10 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 forward to returning to the team’s home track and has earned the prestigious “pit out” location based on his pole-winning effort for the previous race at World Wide Technology Raceway (WWTR) near St. Louis.
           “A doubleheader at Mid-Ohio will be more physical than (having a doubleheader at) Road America for sure. Mid-Ohio doesn’t have several long straights like Road America and has constantly continuous corners with a relatively short lap so it’s difficult to get any rest during a lap. However, I think the doubleheader is a good thing for the sport for this season under the circumstances. It’s certainly more challenging for a doubleheader weekend because naturally you lose a session for practice and it becomes a very compressed time schedule so engineers won’t have a enough time to analyze the data.”

RAHAL ON ROAD COURSES IN 2020
Three races have been held on road courses this season and Rahal has been competitive in all of them. He led 18 laps and looked likely to win at the GMR Grand Prix at IMS before the timing of a caution contributed to a second-place finish. At the doubleheader at Road America, he led two laps and pit from the lead in Race 1 but had a fueling issue and finished seventh.  He hoped to maximize the potential in Race 2 but was taken out on the opening lap and dropped from fifth to eighth in the standings. He’s hoping to return to competitive form in the doubleheader at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
           “We have been competitive pretty much everywhere with the exception of the short ovals, where we struggled. I’m pleased with what I’ve seen on road courses. I think the guys have done an amazing job but we’ve just got to keep our heads down and keep pushing to try to improve a little bit further. We were competitive at the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis and at Road America.  We didn’t maximize that but I feel like there is a lot of positive thoughts and beliefs to carry forward.  We know that we can right in the hunt at Mid-Ohio so I fully anticipate us doing that. From a strategy point, 75 laps is probably going to be a two-stop race, no problem. It is going to be still physically tiring. The pit stops are going to be critical obviously as will not putting a wheel wrong on track. Typically, the weather is hot and steamy this time of year which does breed more and more mistakes.”

TAKUMA PLANS TO CARRY MOMENTUM TO FINAL FIVE ROAD COURSE RACES
Takuma returns to Mid-Ohio on the momentum of his second Indianapolis 500 win on August 23 and a second-place finish in Race 1 at WWTR oval by a mere 0.14 seconds.  He finished ninth in Race 2 there after starting from pole. He is hoping to carry the momentum over to the final five road course races. He earned three, top-10 finishes in the road courses races previously held this season with a best finish of eighth place in Race 2 at Road America. He hopes to show the same competitive form on the road courses.
           “The track’s characteristics are different (than the other road courses) but we believe we can carry good knowledge from the road course races at Indianapolis and Road America. (On lap reduction from 90 to 75:) It will affect the strategy for sure. We have to make sure everyone is healthy, strong and focused but other than that it will be the same as a usual race weekend.”

THE POINT STANDINGS
Takuma Sato is ranked fourth in series point standings with a total of 274. He is -142 behind leader Dixon (416), -46 behind second place Newgarden (320) and -23 behind O’Ward (297) with five races to go in the season.  Graham Rahal is ranked seventh with 236 and is only -14 behind fifth place Herta (250).
           “We just try hard to have a strong race for each weekend and produce a best possible result,” said Sato. “It’s extremely important to have strong finishes for the standings. Mathematically I think it’s (championship) still possible but I think Scott (Dixon) is on the way to win. Still we achieved a big win at Indy and another podium at St. Louis and want to end the season strong. We’re doing everything we can.”
           “We’ve got some opportunities ahead of us with five races on tracks we should be good at,” said Rahal. “We feel like we’ve been better than a lot of the guys ahead of us or around us in points and we’re going to try to make this our best season yet.”  

Sato Finished Ninth in Race 2 of the Bommarito 500 To Maintain Fourth Place in the Standings; Rahal Finished 20th

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingBommarito 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway – RACE 2
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – August 30, 2020

SATO FINISHED NINTH IN RACE 2 OF THE BOMMARITO 500 TO MAINTAIN FOURTH PLACE IN THE STANDINGS; RAHAL FINISHED 20TH

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Race 2 was disappointing for the United Rentals team just because of where we started. Today is a lesson in how important qualifying is. It was hard to pass on track. The tire is very hard here and it makes it difficult for the drivers but I’ve got to say it was massively better today. If you look at our fastest lap time, it was as quick as O’Ward who finished second. It’s just a shame we started at the back. We never were able to make our way forward.  We lost a lap early when we came in the pits with (leader) Newgarden and he just beat us out which put us a lap down and from there we kind of scrambled.  But I’ve got to say the silver lining in all this is yes, this weekend sucked for us but we made great gains today. Twentieth doesn’t look like it but I assure you we did. Head down, focus forward and we’ll get them at the next one.”

  • FAST FACTS: Started 23rd and had a much better handling race car than Race 1 but the lack of caution periods, other than the opening lap due to track cleanup and the last few laps of the race, negated the opportunity to move forward and he finished 20th…  Was his fifth race here.  His highest start is seventh and highest finish is 10th – both in 2018.  … He has earned three podiums (Indy GP, Iowa, Indy 500) in eight races this season, contended for the win in two others and could have been a podium contender in the other two… 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… Rahal dropped from fifth to seventh in series point standings with a total of 236.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 ABeam Consulting Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We led the race and saved a bunch of fuel but we caught the tail end of the pack. Today there was a lot of dust offline and it was very difficult to overtake. The team made the decision to stay out but it seems that everybody undercut us on the first stint and that was it. After that we tried to stretch the fuel and then go off sequence but caught traffic every time. Some of the cars were four laps down and the team said they heard they were told ‘Keep the 30 car behind’ which is not racing. It’s not sportsman-like and I’m not very happy with that. But there is nothing we can do about it.”

  • FAST FACTS: Started from his 10th pole position and went the longest on his first stint than others but caught the pack, which hindered his lap times and later, his track position.  After leading the first 59 laps, he pit and returned to the track in eighth place, but in traffic. He cycled back into the lead from Laps 102-108 before his second stop on Lap 109 and returned to the track in sixth place behind the lapped car of Askew. Once around Askew, he was behind 22nd place Veach, who was shown the blue flag to alert him that a faster car was behind.  Sato was unable to pass for the entire stint in order to catch up to Herta, the next car ahead in order, so the team called him in for his final stop early on Lap 148. Unfortunately it wasn’t long before he was behind Veach again while running seventh. He set his fastest race lap on Lap 158 but was still unable to pass him to try to catch up with Herta. On Lap 197, Sato brushed the wall in Turn 2 and the caution came out. He held onto ninth place until the checkered flag… Won the race in 2019 after he led the final 61 laps en route to victory.  Was his fourth race here. His matched his highest start of fifth place this year (2020, 2019) and his highest finish is first in 2019 Has SIX INDYCAR SERIES wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road & WWTR 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, Texas oval; 2020 St. Louis Race 2).  He maintained fourth in series point standings with a total of 274 points.

NEXT UP:  The Harvest Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will take place on October 2.  Graham Rahal finished second in the GMR Grand Prix there on July 4 and Takuma Sato won the Indy 500 there last weekend.

Sato Finished 2nd by 0.14-Seconds After a Thrilling Duel with Winner Dixon in Race 1 of the Bommarito 500; Rahal 18th After Debris Overheated his GCU

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingBommarito 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway – RACE 1
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – August 29, 2020

SATO FINISHED SECOND IN A THRILLING DUEL WITH EVENTUAL WINNER DIXON WHOSE MARGIN OF VICTORY WAS 0.14 IN RACE 1 OF THE BOMMARITO 500; DEBRIS OVERHEATED RAHAL’S GCU AND HE FINISHED 18TH

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I’m clearly disappointed with the end result. I thought that after the start, when a lot of our competitors were involved in that crash, I thought that maybe we would have a good day and be able to put our heads down and work through things but, instead, on Lap 29 we had GCU problems. Somehow a napkin got in there and lodged itself in the GCU cooling tube and overheated one and then overheated another. Unfortunately, it was just one of those days that we struggled with the chassis handling but also just had poor luck with sucking up a napkin. It’s certainly frustrating and disappointing but there is always tomorrow.”

  • FAST FACTS: Started 22nd and moved to 17th after a multi-car crash on the start. He began to have shifting issued early and pit to change the GCU. He rejoined the race a few laps down but the problem surfaced again. Once the team pulled the car behind the pit wall, they found a napkin lodged in the GCU cooling tube.  He returned to the race in an effort to collect points in the event of attrition and ultimately retired after completing 124/200 laps…  Was his fourth race here.  His highest start is seventh and highest finish is 10th – both in 2018.  In 2019, he qualified 16th and struggled with tire wear for a good portion of the race like many others but was running ninth late in the race before losing two positions to run 11th. While 11th, he reported a problem on Lap 224 of 248 and ultimately retired after 226 laps in 18th place. A post race inspection showed that his exhaust secondary failed… He has earned three podiums (Indy GP, Iowa, Indy 500) in seven races this season, contended for the win in two others and could have been a podium contender in the other two… 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… Rahal dropped from fourth to fifth in series point standings with a total of 226.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 ABeam Consulting Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Obviously the team did a fantastic job. Since last week, we carried a lot of momentum. Big congrats to Scott and the Ganassi boys. We lost some places in the beginning of the race but we fought strong. The ABeam car was phenomenal.  There was no doubt that I was disappointed to be second after the guys did a fantastic job today. Sometimes I make a mistake, sometimes there is a mechanical failure. Yes, there was an issue on the pit stop but everybody is on the same team. The 30 boys did a fantastic job two weeks in a row so I’m very proud of our effort.” 

  • FAST FACTS: Led 14 laps and challenged for the win in the final laps to finish 0.1404 behind eventual winner Scott Dixon. He started fifth and dropped to eight on the start but went farther on his first stint to cycle into third before making it on Lap 65. In the middle stint he was on track behind the lapped car of Pagenaud and lost valuable track position while 12th.  Light moisture brough out the caution flag on Lap 108 and he made his second stop on Lap 115. He moved up to third by Lap 157/200 and into the lead from Laps 162-175 before he made his final stop. There was an issue on the outside rear tires that delayed the stop 2-3 seconds and he returned to the track in third rather than maintaining his position. He began pursuit of O’Ward and pulled off a decisive pass on Lap 180.  He then began cutting the 2-second deficit to Dixon and set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 183 and ultimately finished a mere 0.14 behind him… Won the race in 2019 after he led the final 61 laps en route to victory.  Was his fourth race here. His matched his highest start of fifth place this year (2020, 2019) and his highest finish is first in 2019 Has SIX INDYCAR SERIES wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road & WWTR 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, Texas oval; 2020 St. Louis Race 2).  He moved from sixth in series point standings to fourth with a total of 248 points.

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT GATEWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK … The team contended for back-to-back Bommarito 500’s wins after winning here last year with 2020 Indy 500 champion Takuma Sato and finished second.  It was the second, second place finish for the team here after Kenny Brack finished second in 2003 and ninth event here for RLL.

NEXT UP:  Race 2 of the Bommarito 500 doubleheader will take the Green Flag at 3:45 p.m. ET Sunday. NBC Sports Network will begin live coverage at 3 p.m. ET.  Sato will start from pole and Rahal will start 23rd.

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Sato Was Fifth Fastest in the Lone Practice Session for the Bommarito 500 Doublheader; Rahal Was 22nd

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Bommarito 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES – August 28, 2020

1st:       Pato O’Ward                181.532 mph
5th:      Takuma Sato                180.434 mph
22nd:    Graham Rahal             175.892 mph    

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a tough day. I am just not happy with the balance of the car. I don’t feel confident in either end of the car and don’t know what the limits are.  From the very get-go, the car didn’t feel right but obviously there is more mass that we need to deal with. It just feels like on our end, we’re missing a lot.  Takuma put in a good lap there and I don’t know how.  I need to look at the data because it’s not feasible for me. The short ovals are challenging for us at the start. It’s going to take work to get in the ballpark but we did it at Iowa, so we will do it here.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his fourth. His highest start is seventh and highest finish is 10th – both in 2018.  In 2019, he qualified 16th and struggled with tire wear for a good portion of the race like many others but was running ninth late in the race before losing two positions to run 11th. While 11th, he reported a problem on Lap 224 of 248 and ultimately retired after 226 laps in 18th place. A post race inspection showed that his exhaust secondary failed… He has earned three podiums (Indy GP, Iowa, Indy 500) in seven races this season, contended for the win in two others and could have been a podium contender in the other two… 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… Rahal is fourth in series point standings with a total of 214.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 ABeam Consulting Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It’s good to be back in St. Louis where we had a fantastic race last year. The boys did a phenomenal job.  Obviously, we are carrying great momentum from last week with first and third. It’s busy; it just never stops. Indy car racing never stops. We have zero chance of resting time but we’re happy to go back to racing.  It’s a very tough field, very competitive. It was only a one-hour session today and we will go straight into qualifying. So, we had to check our qualifying setup, race trim and so on within a one hour compressed time so it was very difficult. At least I got a very positive feeling from the car.  I’m still not fully confident going into the corner but we will study the data overnight and hopefully be able to repeat a competitive run tomorrow.”

  • FAST FACTS: Returns to WWTR as the defending winner of the race after he led the final 61 laps en route to victory here last year.  This will be Takuma’s fourth race here. His highest start and finish came last year of fifth and first, respectively Has SIX INDYCAR SERIES wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road & WWTR oval, 2020 – Indy 500) 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 jumped from 17th in the series point standings to sixth with a total of 207 points.

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT GATEWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK … The team returns to the Bommarito 500’s as the defending winner after Takuma Sato drove to victory here last year and is also arriving to town as the newly-crowned 2020 Indianapolis 500 champions.  It will be the ninth event for the team at WWTR. The 1.25-mile oval hosted CART-sanctioned races from 1997-2000 and IRL races from 2001-2003 before the IndyCar Series returned in 2017. The team competed in all four CART races from 1997-2000 and one of the three IRL races (2003).  The best starting position for the team of second place came in 2003 by Kenny Brack and the best finish came last year when Takuma Sato won.  Prior to 2020, the team prepared a total of 14 Indy car entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1997-1998), Bryan Herta (1997-1999), Max Papis (1999-2000), Kenny Brack (2000, 2003), Graham Rahal (2017-2019) and Takuma Sato (2018-2019).

NEXT UP:  Race 1 of the Bommarito 500 doubleheader will take the Green Flag at 3:45 p.m. ET Saturday. NBC Sports Network will begin live coverage at 3 p.m. ET.

Sato Returns to Bommarito 500 as Defending Winner and Two-Time Indy 500 Champion; Rahal Aims to Continue Competitive Season at Doubleheader

Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Bommarito Automotive Group 500’s – World Wide Technology Raceway, Madison, Illinois
Pre-Race Notes
Round 8 and 9 of 14 in the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES

DATE: August 28-30, 2020

PRACTICE BROADCASTS: Live on INDYCAR Pass, the direct-to-consumer streaming product from NBC Sports Gold, on Friday from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET. Also live on the INDYCAR Radio Network (IRN) and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis).

QUALIFYING BROADCAST: Live on INDYCAR Pass, the IRN and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis) from 12-1 p.m. ET Saturday. NOTE: The first timed lap of qualifying will set the starting grid for Race 1 and the second timed lap will set the starting grid for Race 2 on Sunday.

RACE BROADCAST: Live Saturday, August 29 and Sunday, August 30 from 3-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, INDYCAR Pass and the IRN. Coverage will also air on Sirius 211 and XM 205.

TRACK LAYOUT: 1.25-mile oval
RACE LENGTH: 200 laps / 250 miles

2019 WINNER: Takuma Sato
2019 POLESITTER: Josef Newgarden (2-lap avg. speed of 186.508 mph)

RAHAL’S BEST OVAL START / FINISH: Pole (Kansas 2009) / 1st (Fontana 2015, 500-miles; Texas 2016)
RAHAL’S BEST WWTR START/FINISH: 7th / 10th – both in 2018; will be his 4th 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 OVAL START / FINISH: Pole (Pocono 2017; Texas 2019) / 1st (Indy 500 2017, WWTR 2019, Indy 500 2020)
SATO’S BEST WWTR START / FINISH: 5th / 1st – both in 2019; will be his 4th race here
SATO’S HIGHEST SERIES START / FINISH: 9 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 / 6 Wins – Long Beach (2013), Indy 500 (2017), Portland (road) 2018, Barber 2019, Gateway (oval) 2019, Indy 500 (2020)

RLL’S BEST START / FINISH AT WWTR: 2nd in 2003 by Kenny Brack / 1st in 2019 by Takuma Sato – 8 races (1997-2000, 2003, 2017-2019)

NOTES & QUOTES:

RLL AT WORLD WITH TECHNOLOGY RACEWAY
The team returns to the 2020 Bommarito Automotive Group 500’s as the defending winner after Takuma Sato drove to victory here last year and is also arriving to town as the newly-crowned 2020 Indianapolis 500 champions. It will be the ninth event for the team at World Wide Technology Raceway (WWTR). The 1.25-mile oval hosted CART-sanctioned races from 1997-2000 and IRL races from 2001-2003 before the IndyCar Series returned in 2017. The team competed in all four CART races from 1997-2000 and one of the three IRL races (2003). The best starting position for the team of second place came in 2003 by Kenny Brack and the best finish came last year when Takuma Sato won. Prior to 2020, the team prepared a total of 14 Indy car entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1997-1998), Bryan Herta (1997-1999), Max Papis (1999-2000), Kenny Brack (2000, 2003), Graham Rahal (2017-2019) and Takuma Sato (2018-2019). The No. 15 United Rentals Honda entry for Graham Rahal and No. 30 ABeam Consulting entry for Takuma Sato will bring that total to 16 in 2020.

RAHAL HOPES TO TURN A STRONG RUN TO THIRD PLACE AT IOWA INTO SUCCESS AT WWTR


The 2020 race will be Rahal’s fourth at the track. His highest start is seventh and highest finish is 10th – both in 2018. In 2019, he qualified 16th and struggled with tire wear for a good portion of the race like many others but was running ninth late in the race before losing two positions to run 11th. While 11th, he reported a problem on Lap 224 of 248 and ultimately retired after 226 laps in 18th place. A post race inspection showed that his exhaust secondary failed. He has earned three podiums in seven races this season, contended for the win in two others and could have been a podium contender in the other two. He is looking forward to a strong race after being competitive on other ovals this season including Texas and third-place finishes at Iowa and Indianapolis.


“I feel like we should be good at St. Louis. Obviously, Takuma won there last year, and we were good last year until the exhaust cracked. We’ve just got to keep working on our short oval cars. We were strong in Iowa but how much of that we can take and apply at St. Louis is the question. But I hope and I expect us to be pretty strong. I feel like the 15 team has done an amazing job this year. We have been the most consistent of our cars this year and I just feel like our guys deserve a win so hopefully we can break through here and make it happen. The pit stops have been amazing as has car preparation and everything else. We’ve got to stay confident and got to keep working hard and I think it will come.”

SATO RETURNS AS DEFENDING RACE WINNER AND ONLY ACTIVE 2-TIME INDY 500 WINNER
With his win in Sunday’s 104th Indianapolis 500, Takuma Sato became the only active, fulltime NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver to have won two Indy 500 races. Coupled with that, he returns to WWTR as the defending winner of the race after he led the final 61 laps en route to victory at WWTR last year. This will be Takuma’s fourth race here. His highest start and finish came last year of fifth and first, respectively. His victory last year was special for many reasons.


“Last year’s race was a special one. St. Louis is a great track. It’s quite challenging. Turn 1 and 2 and Turns 3 and 4 have quite different characteristics and that makes for great fun for all of us. Last year it was such a special moment. We had a difficult week the week before and leading up to the event was a tough situation, but I was so pleased with the warm welcome at the venue. So many fans came up to me and cheered us on. What an amazing race result with the win. Even though it was midnight, so many fans remained for the podium. Once again, a great strategy worked, and the No. 30 team was extremely strong. I was very proud of that moment. It is good to return to defend our win after having just won the Indy 500 for a second time.
“There are a lot of things related to other ovals we have raced on that may help at St Louis. This year, the mechanical aspect of the car is a bit different with the aeroscreen which is putting more emphasis on the outside right front tires. At Iowa we showed a great performance, won at Indy on the speedway, Graham was very competitive at Texas and of course we were competitive at St. Louis last year too. We have a good baseline and I believe we can be competitive once again. Giving the fans two nights of fun is good.”

THE POINT STANDINGS
After top-three finishes in the double-points paying Indy 500, Rahal is fourth in series point standings with a total of 214 and is only 37 points out of second place Newgarden, 251. Takuma Sato jumped from 17th to sixth with 207.
“I’m excited about the opportunity for the championship,” said Rahal. “I feel like we’re in a really good spot in fourth and we’ve got some bright days ahead. We’ve had a really consistent year. I wish we hadn’t wasted some of the opportunities we had at Road America and Texas because we’d surely be even further up in the hunt but we’re excited about what we’ve got and I hope we can continue to have a great run to the finish line in both races this weekend. It will be great to have fans back in the stands at World Wide Technology Raceway. We anticipate a great weekend of racing with the doubleheader. Hopefully everyone will come out and have some fun.”

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RLLR Indy 500 Race Report

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing104th Running of the Indianapolis 500
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, August 23, 2020

TAKUMA SATO BROUGHT THE TEAM ITS SECOND INDY 500 WIN AS WELL AS HIS SECOND; RAHAL MATCHED HIS BEST INDY 500 FINISH WITH THIRD AND PIGOT WAS EXAMINED AND DISCHARGED FROM METHODIST HOSPITAL AFTER A CRASH

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a great day for our team, the entire organization and all of our partners. I hope Spencer is ok; that’s my main concern at this time. Secondly congrats to Takuma for a heck of a drive. I’m proud of you and thankful for what you have done for our program and all of our partners. I thought we had a run at it but just got too loose the last stint. But our United Rentals team was unbelievably good in the pits today and we were able to work our way forward. For us to come home P1 and P3 today means the world to me. Solid day all around. We’ve got a championship chase that we’re in now and we’ve got two races in St. Louis next weekend. Hell of a job RLL!”

  • FAST FACTS: Matched his best finish of third place in 2011 today and was a factor in the final laps when teammate Pigot brought out the caution on Lap 196 of 200… Was his 13th Indy 500. His best qualifying position in the Indy 500 is fourth in 2009 with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and best finish is third with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 after he led six laps. He ran in the top-five in eight of his 11 previous races here. Detailed Indy 500 information available upon request. 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 fourth in series standings with 214 points, only 37 out of second place.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / PeopleReady Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Simply an amazing day. I just can’t put words for it. Big thank you to everyone. Obviously the Speedway, Roger Penske, and the Hulman-George family. To get this race going this year, I know it’s a lot of people’s commitment. But we really appreciate it. So happy to be part of this organization. First of all, I mean, what an amazing team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is. I know it’s everything a team and a driver can dream of winning the 500. Achieving one (first) and three (third) in this fashion is simply amazing. Thanks Bobby, Mike Lanigan, and of course David Letterman. The entire team, especially the 30 boys, my Panasonic PeopleReady Honda was extremely strong and competitive. It was a little bit fast on the last few laps. Then we had to drive into the pit one lap before Scott. That put us a lot of difficulty in terms of the fuel mileage. I wanted to go to the full power, which Honda and HPD give us incredible performance, but still I have to save the fuel. I was back and forth. Best power when Dixie is coming. To pull it off that way, it is simply amazing. I want to say thank you so much for everyone who supported.  “I think we had the best car. Only we were a lap short from Dixie [Scott Dixon] in terms of the fuel strategy, and [making fuel mileage to the finish] was a little tight. I couldn’t use max power to switch back and forth. And Dixon kept coming through Turn 4 [on the final green flag lap] and I was just able to hold him off. This is unbelievable. Everyone did a hell of a job. HPD and Honda gave us a lot of power and a lot of fuel mileage.”

  • FAST FACTS: Sato earned his second Indy 500 win from his best start for the 500 of third place for 2020.  His previous best was fourth in 2017.  He led twice for a total of 27 laps and was fast in the final stage of the race after his last stop.  Exiting the pits in second to Dixon, Sato swept into the lead on lap 185, then held off several attempts by Dixon to repass as the pair worked their way through lapped traffic.  A caution came out on Lap 196 of 200, when teammate Spencer Pigot crashed hard exiting Turn 4, leading the race to end under caution. Pigot was examined and discharged by doctors at Methodist Hospital… Is the 2017 Champion of the Indy 500.  The 2020 race was his 11th Indy 500 and third with RLL. In 2012 with RLL, he was alongside eventual winner Franchitti in Turn 1 on the final lap but his race ended due to contact after he was squeezed down on the apron and lost control of his race car. He finished third for RLL in 2019 and was a contender in the final laps… 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 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 road, Texas oval).  He moved from 17th in series point standings to sixth with 207 points.

SPENCER PIGOT, No. 45 Hy-Vee / Embrace Pittsburgh Dallara/Honda/Firestone: A quote was unavailable due to his late discharge.

  • FAST FACTS: Pigot was running 15th on Lap 196 of 200 when he crashed hard exiting Turn 4.  Pigot was examined and discharged by doctors at Methodist Hospital late Sunday.  Was his fifth Indianapolis 500 and second with the team (2016).  His best start in the Indy 500 is third and his best finish is 14th – both in 2019 with Ed Carpenter Racing… He drove one of his best Indy car races to date with RLL earlier this year in the GMR Grand Prix. He started 16th and raced into the lead on Lap 55 but a likely podium finish evaporated after a mechanical failure led to his retirement after 74 of 80 laps. 

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING’S SECOND INDY 500 WIN: This was the second Indy 500 win for the team and first since 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. Both wins came from front row starts. In 2012 with RLL, Sato was alongside eventual winner Franchitti in Turn 1 on the final lap but his race ended due to contact after he was squeezed down on the apron and lost control of his race car. He was able to deliver that win today.

SATO, RAHAL AND PIGOT COMPLETE THE FINAL PRACTICE SESSION ON CARB DAY IN PREPARATION FOR SUNDAY’S INDIANAPOLIS 500

#30: Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing104th Running of the Indianapolis 500
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
CARB DAY NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, August 21, 2020

SATO, RAHAL AND PIGOT COMPLETE THE FINAL PRACTICE SESSION ON CARB DAY IN PREPARATION FOR SUNDAY’S INDIANAPOLIS 500

1)         Pato O’Ward            225.355 mph    
4)         Takuma Sato           224.580 mph    
25)       Graham Rahal         222.158 mph
26)       Spencer Pigot          221.789 mph

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was an interesting day for us in the United Rentals car. When we started off, it was a pretty big struggle for us, but our guys stayed extremely focused and committed and we found a really good race car at the end. Its going to be interesting. There is a lot of different downforce levels and a lot of different things to watch for this race. I think it’s going to be a tricky one.  There were a lot of guys close to hitting the fence each and every lap so buckle up, this is definitely going to be an exciting one. But we feel good about the No. 15 car so let’s see how we do.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his 13th Indy 500. His best qualifying position in the Indy 500 is fourth in 2009 with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and best finish is third with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 after he led six laps. He ran in the top-five in eight of his 11 previous races here. Detailed Indy 500 information available upon request. 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 sixth in series standings with 142 points, only 53 out of second place.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / PeopleReady Dallara/Honda/Firestone: I think it was a nice Carb Day. We tried a couple of things we wanted to double check and we got what we want.  I believe we now are ready.  The three of us will now debrief and check the data.  The guys did a great job. I can’t wait until Sunday.”

  • FAST FACTS: Sato earned his best start for the Indy 500 of third place for 2020.  His previous best was fourth in 2017…  Is the 2017 Champion of the Indy 500.  The 2020 race will be his 11th Indy 500 and third with RLL. In 2012 with RLL, he was alongside eventual winner Franchitti in Turn 1 on the final lap but his race ended due to contact after he was squeezed down on the apron and lost control of his race car. He finished third for RLL in 2019 and was a contender in the final laps… Has FIVE IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road, Gateway oval ) 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 road, Texas oval).  He is 17th in series standings with 99 points.

SPENCER PIGOT, No. 45 Hy-Vee / Embrace Pittsburgh Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The final session before the big race was pretty tricky.  At the beginning the car was a little bit different than we expected. I don’t know if the track just changed a lot since Sunday or what but by the end of the session we definitely got our Hy-Vee / Embrace Pittsburgh Honda feeling a lot better so we will take a look at what our teammates did and see what they found and put together a great car for Sunday hopefully.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his fifth Indianapolis 500 and second with the team (2016).  His best start in the Indy 500 is third and his best finish is 14th – both in 2019 with Ed Carpenter Racing… He drove one of his best Indy car races to date with RLL earlier this year in the GMR Grand Prix. He started 16th and raced into the lead on Lap 55 but a likely podium finish evaporated after a mechanical failure led to his retirement after 74 of 80 laps. 

NEXT UP:  NBC will begin coverage of the 104th Indianapolis 500 at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 23.  Get a behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the 104th Indianapolis 500 via the six Digital Ally Garage Cameras on www.rahal.com during open garage hours.

NTT INDYCAR SERIES POLE DAY NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, August 16, 2020

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing104th Running of the Indianapolis 500
NTT INDYCAR SERIES POLE DAY NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, August 16, 2020

SATO EARNED HIS BEST START FOR THE INDY 500 OF THIRD PLACE; RAHAL AND PIGOT TO START EIGHTH AND 12TH RESPECTIVELY FOR THE 104TH INDIANAPOLIS 500

QUALIFYING SPEEDS
1st:    Marco Andretti           4-lap avg. speed of 231.068 mph     (L1: 231.826, L2: 231.146, L3: 230.771, L4: 230.532)  
3rd:    Takuma Sato            4-lap avg. speed of 230.725 mph     (L1: 230.805, L2: 230.916, L3: 230.659, L4: 230.520)  
8th:    Graham Rahal          4-lap avg. speed of 229.308 mph     (L1: 230.389, L2: 230.126, L3: 229.746, L4: 227.284)  

PRACTICE SPEEDS
1)         Marco Andretti              224.122 mph    
17)       Spencer Pigot               221.691 mph
26)       Takuma Sato                221.747 mph    
30)       Graham Rahal              231.235 mph

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We qualified eighth, which we’ll take. We can race from there.  We feel like our race car is actually pretty good. It’s hard to tell in practice. We ended up 30th on the timesheets which doesn’t matter at all. We feel like we have a good race car, are able to pass a bunch of cars.  It’s going to be tough. You don’t know whether guys were on new or used tires during that run but I thought we were very, very competitive. I’m pleased with what we have. Obviously, we’re going to work on it before we go out there for Carb Day. With the wind today, we don’t know that we’re going to get wind this high come Carb Day or race weekend. If the wind goes away then a lot of people’s problems will certainly be less.  We feel good about the United Rentals car and if I say that, typically we are pretty solid so hopefully we’ve got something good to go race with.”

  • FAST FACTS: Rahal was in the Fast Nine Shootout today and set the eighth fastest time… Will be his 13th Indy 500. His best qualifying position in the Indy 500 is fourth in 2009 with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and best finish is third with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 after he led six laps. He ran in the top-five in eight of his 11 previous races here. Detailed Indy 500 information available upon request. 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 sixth in series standings with 142 points, only 53 out of second place.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / PeopleReady Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Starting on the front row is a big accomplishment for us.  It’s great for the Panasonic / PeopleReady Honda and the 30 boys. Everyone at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing worked hard over the off season to improve our performance here and the results showed today.  Honda, great, great work from them, just a tremendous job from them and the team.  Now we shift to preparing for the race.  We have another practice this afternoon that will be extremely important; also ‘Carb Day’ [final practice on Friday].  We believe we have a strong car in race trim, we’re so already looking forward to the race on Sunday.” 

  • FAST FACTS: Sato earned his best start for the Indy 500 of third place today.  His previous best was fourth in 2017…  Is the 2017 Champion of the Indy 500.  The 2020 race will be his 11th Indy 500 and third with RLL. In 2012 with RLL, he was alongside eventual winner Franchitti in Turn 1 on the final lap but his race ended due to contact after he was squeezed down on the apron and lost control of his race car. He finished third for RLL in 2019 and was a contender in the final laps… Has FIVE IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road, Gateway oval ) 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 road, Texas oval).  He is 17th in series standings with 99 points.

SPENCER PIGOT, No. 45 Hy-Vee / Embrace Pittsburgh Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Today was definitely a bit better than our last practice day so that is positive. I think we are heading in the right direction with the Hy-Vee / Embrace Pittsburgh Honda. It’s definitely difficult out there, especially towards the end of the session with the sun coming down and the Aeroscreen getting dirty and stuff. It’s tough in traffic. There is just not as much grip as in years past and the Aeroscreen gets really dirty as well, so it gets tricky to see. Overall I think we made some progress though so I will go back and compare notes with my teammates and do it again on Friday. .”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his fifth Indianapolis 500 and second with the team (2016).  His best start in the Indy 500 is third and his best finish is 14th – both in 2019 with Ed Carpenter Racing… He drove one of his best Indy car races to date with RLL earlier this year in the GMR Grand Prix. He started 16th and raced into the lead on Lap 55 but a likely podium finish evaporated after a mechanical failure led to his retirement after 74 of 80 laps. 

NEXT UP: The team will continue preparations for the Indianapolis 500 this week and get back on track on Friday for Carb Day between 11-1 p.m. ET.  NBC will begin coverage of the 104th Indianapolis 500 at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 23.  Get a behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the 104th Indianapolis 500 via the six Digital Ally Garage Cameras on www.rahal.com.

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      Tonya Bergeson-Dana talks with her son, Conor, about his father when he brings it up, which is often. If he’s asking the questions, she reasons, he’s ready to hear the answers. Paul Conor Dana, at age 9, knows that his father was Paul Dana, a journalist and IndyCar driver who died in March 2006 during […]