NTT IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, July 21, 2019
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 One Cure Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We had a pretty good night going for most of the night. We had a little bit of a struggle early on with the balance. We had a lot of understeer early in the race but I think we fought pretty hard tonight. We had an engine issue for the last 100 laps or so. When we tried to get by Rossi was when it started to appear. It was something with the injectors or left side header but we were losing power. As people could see, on the last restart we just got run over. We had no power. The guys did an amazing job with the pit stops and that last pit stop was awesome. Our luck will change at some point. Mid-Ohio is next week and I’m excited to go home.”
- FAST FACTS: Rain pushed the race back from its scheduled start of 6:15 p.m. CT and it finally got underway at 10:45 p.m. Rahal started seventh but dropped back to 13th but utilized the caution for Karam to pit for changes to his car and service on Lap 19 which only cost him two positions. He briefly dropped to 16th when eventual fifth place finisher Pigot passed him but was back in 15th 10 laps later. He was running in 13th when light rain began to fall and a caution came out on Lap 51 of 300. A red flag was brought out a few laps later for approx. 28 minutes before race cars rolled onto the track again. Once the pits opened, the field came in for service. The green flag came out on Lap 65 and he drooped three positions to run 15th. He passed Daly for 14th on Lap 91 and eventual second place finisher Dixon for 12th on Lap 119 as drivers began pitting. He went a lap down to the leader on Lap 131 and cycled up to 9th before his next stop on Lap 139 and then settled into the pace in 11th by Lap 147. He took over 10th when Sato pit on Lap 177 and later got back on the lead lap after Karam hit Sato from behind and brought out a caution period from Lap 187-198 to clear debris. He pit during the caution from 10th place and a quick stop gained him two positions to run eighth which he held until Lap 247 when he was passed by Veach. He made his final stop on Lap 249 and temporarily went a lap down until the field completed their stops. Once most stops were complete, he was running ninth behind Rossi on Lap 256, which he had been since approx. Lap 197. He moved into eight on Lap 262 after Power served a pit penalty and into seventh after sixth place runner Carpenter crashed and brought out a caution from Lap 264-274. The team discussed pitting for new tires but had been monitoring a possible problem for the final stint and elected not to pit. Third place Dixon, who had yet to pit, was able to stop during the caution for fuel and tires as did sixth place Rossi, eighth place Herta and ninth place Veach. When the race restarted, Dixon, Rossi and Veach were able to utilize their new tires to pass Rahal, who was also down on power due to an issue that was first noticed in the final third of the race. He took the checkered flag in eighth place and closed the points gap to those immediately ahead of him in the points. Was his 12th race here. He has earned eight top-10 finishes in 11 starts with his best being fourth in 2015. … 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 maintained his eighth place rank in series point standings with a total of 290.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We had a good start but the balance was not really what we needed so we had to stop a little bit early in the sequence but it was working out okay. Ultimately, we got hit from behind and had so much damage. I tried to hang in there but ultimately couldn’t do it. I’m sorry for the boys who did a great job and all the fans that remained tonight. It was a shame. Ryan and Will were side by side and I was directly behind. I had to back off a little bit and it was all under control but unfortunately the guy behind maybe couldn’t see it.”
- FAST FACTS: Was the top-qualified Honda-powered driver at fourth place. Rain pushed the race back from its scheduled start of 6:15 p.m. CT and it finally got underway at 10:45 p.m. The race started under caution and the green flag flew on Lap 3 and Sato jumped into second place ahead of polesitter and eventual winner Newgarden. He held the position for eight laps before being passed by Pagenaud to run third. He was passed by Newgarden on Lap 15 and when Karam spun and brought out a caution on Lap 16, the team contemplated pitting as others did but stayed out. He held fourth place through a 28-minute red flag stop for light rain that arrived on Lap 55 of 300. Once the race resumed under caution, the field pit for service and Rossi beat Sato out. Once the race returned to green on Lap 64, he passed Rossi for fourth and easily held the position through the stint. Near the end of his stint, tire wear led him to drop from fourth to 12th from Lap 100-118 and he pit on Lap 119. He returned to the track in 20thplace. Once he settled into position and the tires came up to temperature, he steadily started carving through the field on newer tires and was ultimately 12 mph faster than his competitors and moved up to 10th during the pit cycle, got back on the lead lap by Lap 142 and climbed into second place by Lap 144. Power passed him on Lap 148 but he was able to maintain third place, on older tires, until his next stop on Lap 177. He returned to the track in 19th place and settled in to do the same again on this stint but was hit from behind by Karam in Turn 4, which caused him to spin. He did not hit the wall but the caution flag was brought out to clear debris from the contact. He continued despite damage and ran as high as 17th but the loss of downforce due to the damage was too much to continue at a racing pace so he pitted on Lap 216 and retired in 20th place…. In his previous nine races at Iowa Speedway, Takuma’s best start is pole in 2011 with KV Racing where he also led seven laps and his best finish is third place in 2018… 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 maintained his sixth place rank in the series point standings with 312 points but lost ground to those ahead of him in the points as well as had others close on his rank.
NEXT UP: The Honda 200 will take place at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course next weekend and will air on NBC at 3:30 p.m. ET.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!