Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
REV Group Grand Prix at Road America – RACE 1
NTT INDYCAR SERIES – Round 3 of 14
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, July 11, 2020
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 TOTAL QUARTZ Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “With the TOTAL QUARTZ machine, we probably had a car that could win but there was a problem on the first stop that wasn’t ideal that took us from running second to 11th and we ultimately recovered to seventh. It was a frustrating day. When I was in second place, we were definitely on a mission and things were looking great. Having said that, we did finish every lap so we did raise a lot of money for Turns for Troops with United Rentals. And we had a good points day. In general we caught Pagenaud and a couple of the other guys. Dixie (Scott Dixon) is in a world of his own right now and all of the bounces are certainly going his way too. And that happens in racing. It happened for us in 2015 and we’re working on getting back in that position. We’ll swap the AERO vinyl to Fifth Third Bank overnight and try to capitalize on a good setup to get this car to the front. When need to get the car a little better, find a little rear grip overnight. Overall, I thought the engineers and mechanics have done a great job. The car has been super-reliable. Brian, my Honda engineer, has done an amazing job this year. We’ve just got to keep our heads down and keep going.”
FAST FACTS: Started fourth 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 alive… The REV Group Grand Prix at Road America will be Graham Rahal’s sixth and seventh Champ or Indy car races here and 10th and 11th overall. In five Champ or Indy car races here, he has two third place finishes (2007, 2016), a fourth place (2019), sixth (2018) and eighth (2017). An electrical failure in the season-finale Atlantic Championship race in 2006 at Road America after starting third led to a runner-up finish in the title fight with eventual champion Simon Pagenaud after he retired in 20th place. Rahal also competed in two Formula BMW events here in 2004 and once in Star Mazda in 2005… 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 fifth place in series point standings with a total of 81 points.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It’s good to be back at Road America, everybody’s favorite. It was a tough qualifying for me. We didn’t get the balance we wanted unfortunately, and I started from 15th. Lap 1 was terrible. I was side-by-side and was kind of pushed out and went all the way back which was a bit like last week. But then we gradually came back and I think the team gave me a great strategy for that. One time the air duct on the helmet fell out and it was really, really hot. Overall, I think we got some very good data to come back and use tomorrow. I look forward to qualifying again. I think we will have a chance to start in front.”
FAST FACTS: 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 … The 2020 REV Group Grand Prix will be his fifth and sixth races at the course. His best start and finish here came with RLL in 2018 of seventh and fourth, respectively… Has FIVE INDYCAR SERIES wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 – Portland road, 2019 – Barber road, St. Louis short 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, Texas oval)… He moved up to 15th in the series point standings with 45 points after top-10 finishes in the past two races.
NEXT UP: Race 2 of the REV Group Grand Prix of Road America will take place tomorrow with live coverage beginning at 12 noon ET on NBC.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!