Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sato Finished 12th in the Iowa Corn Indy 250

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Iowa Corn Indy 225 – Iowa Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES — June 23, 2012

 

TAKUMA SATO FINISHED 12TH IN THE IOWA CORN INDY 250

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a very hard race, we fought very hard. The boys did a great job to regroup after a diffi­cult weekend. We didn’t have the speed this weekend.  We tried to find the speed and were improving but it was such a hard race.  We were just hanging in there and it was as tough of a race as I have ever had.  I am looking forward to getting back on road and street courses and also look forward to going to Canada.”

FAST FACTS: Was his third race here. He started 23rd and finished 12th… He won pole here last year, led seven laps but retired in 19th place due to contact after 182/250 laps.  He qual­i­fied seventh in 2010 here and retired in 19th place due to contact after he completed 177/250 laps His best oval qual­i­fying is pole at Iowa Speedway in 2011 and his best finish is fifth in Race 1 at TMS in 2011… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar and it appears to be the start of his best season to date in the series… Sato led three of eight races this year – including 31 laps at the Indy 500 — and nearly won the event. Has led 58 laps to date in 2012… In 34 starts in 2010 – 2011, has 17 career top-10 starting spots including four top-five starts and two poles ( Edmonton and Iowa 2011). He has earned eight top-10 finishes including three top-five spots (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifth at Texas and St. Peters­burg in 2011).  Led a total of 61 laps from 2010-11.

JAY O’CONNELL, Tech­nical Director: “Overall Takuma did a good job to finish the race; that was our main goal.  He said the car felt better than yesterday.  The improve­ments we made had better stability and a better steering feel but as the race went on it got harder. The last set of tires were the most chal­lenging for him as he needed a little bit more stability to get more pace out of the car.  He did a good job managing the situ­a­tion and being smart and using his tools to keep the car as stable as possible and he did a good job staying out of trouble.  It was great to see him finish the race.  We are looking forward to Toronto and Edmonton.  We have had a good car on the street courses. Takuma has been very compet­i­tive and finished third at the street race in Brazil and we are going back to our street course setup and will roll out a good car for him in Toronto.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT IOWA The Iowa Corn Indy 250 will mark the third event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at Iowa Speedway.  The best finish for the team is third in 2007 by Scott Sharp who also earned the top start for the team of fourth the same year.  Prior to the 2012 event, the team prepared a total of three entries for drivers Scott Sharp (2007), Jeff Simmons (2007) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008). The team has earned ONE podium (3rd, Sharp 2007) and two, top-10 finishes at the track.  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will bring that total to 4 entries in 2012.

NEXT UP: The series will take a break next weekend after five races in a row before recon­vening for the Honda Indy Toronto on July 5 – 8.  The team raced in Toronto from 1992 – 2003. In their first event, Bobby Rahal started from pole and finished second.  In RLL Racing’s most recent race on the streets of Toronto in 2003, Michel Jour­dain Jr. started second and finished third.

Sato Finished Eighth in Heat Race 1 for the Iowa Corn Indy 250; To Start 24th in the 250-Lap Event Saturday Night

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Iowa Corn Indy 225 – Iowa Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES — June 22, 2012

 

TAKUMA SATO FINISHED EIGHTH IN HEAT RACEOF THE IOWA CORN INDY 250; TO START 24TH IN THE 250 LAP EVENT SATURDAY NIGHT

POLE:   Dario Fran­chitti  1st in Heat Race #3 (top-eight in Prac­tice 2; started 2nd)
24th:     Takuma Sato     8th in Heat Race #1 (even number cars from P10-24 in Prac­tice 2; was 24th, started 8th)

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It wasn’t an easy day for us; quite diffi­cult actu­ally through the sessions and prac­tice.  We made good progress inter­nally but we need a lot more speed.  It won’t be easy to make progress but surely we will move forward. We will gather all of the data tonight and be prepared for tomorrow. It was good to have a sprint race like this to get a better under­standing of the car.”

FAST FACTS: Will be his third race here. He won pole here last year, led seven laps but retired in 19th place due to contact after 182/250 laps.  He qual­i­fied seventh in 2010 here and retired in 19th place due to contact after he completed 177/250 laps His best oval qual­i­fying is pole at Iowa Speedway in 2011 and his best finish is fifth in Race 1 at TMS in 2011… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar and it appears to be the start of his best season to date in the series… Sato led three of eight races this year – including 31 laps at the only other oval race this year – the Indy 500 — and nearly won the event. Has led 58 laps to date in 2012… In 34 starts in 2010 – 2011, has 17 career top-10 starting spots including four top-five starts and two poles ( Edmonton and Iowa 2011). He has earned eight top-10 finishes including three top-five spots (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifth at Texas and St. Peters­burg in 2011).  Led a total of 61 laps from 2010-11.
 

JAY O’CONNELL, Tech­nical Director: “The first day here at Iowa was a character-building day for Takuma and the team. Since we didn’t get to test here after Texas as orig­i­nally planned, this served as our test day and we made steady improve­ments with the car.  Takuma felt the car was the best it’s been so far in the qual­i­fying heat race. We are looking forward to making more improve­ments for the race tomorrow.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT IOWA The Iowa Corn Indy 250 will mark the third event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at Iowa Speedway.  The best finish for the team is third in 2007 by Scott Sharp who also earned the top start for the team of fourth the same year.  Prior to the 2012 event, the team prepared a total of three entries for drivers Scott Sharp (2007), Jeff Simmons (2007) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008). The team has earned ONE podium (3rd, Sharp 2007) and two, top-10 finishes at the track.  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will bring that total to 4 entries in 2012.

NEXT UP: The Iowa Corn Indy 250 will take place tomorrow, Saturday, June 23, and will be tele­vised live by NBC Sports Network at 9 PM (ET). A high­lights show of tonight’s qual­i­fying races will be broad­cast on a one-day delay at 8 PM ET Saturday on NBC Sports Network.  The race will also be broad­cast by the IMS Radio Network on Sirius XM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com.

PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photog­raphy as well as video.  Register for access to photos at: http://www.indycarmedia.com/pages/ApplyforAccess

Sato Returns to the Site of His First IndyCar Series Pole for the Iowa Corn Indy 250

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – 21st Season
Pre-Race Notes
Iowa Corn Indy 250 – Iowa Speedway
Round 9 of 16 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series

 

DATE:                                        June 22 – 23, 2012

QUALIFYING BROADCAST:     8 p.m. ET Saturday, June 23 on NBC Sports Network (tape delayed); LIVE on

www.indycar.com (timing & scoring with audio commentary)

RACE BROADCAST:                 Live on Saturday, June 23 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network

RADIO BROADCAST:               The race will air on IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM (XM 94 & Sirius 212)

TRACK LAYOUT:                       0.875-mile oval

RACE LENGTH:                         250 laps / 218.75 miles

2011 WINNER:                           Marco Andretti

2011 POLESITTER:                  Takuma Sato (180.375 mph avg.)

SATO’S HIGHEST
OVAL START:                           Pole at Iowa Speedway in 2011

SATO’S HIGHEST
OVAL FINISH:                           Fifth at Texas Motor Speedway 2011 (Race 1)

SATO AT IOWA:                       In two events here, Sato’s best start is pole 2011; retired 19th in 2010 & 2011

RLL’S TOP START/
FINISH AT IOWA:                     Highest start of 4th and finish of 3rd came in 2007 by Scott Sharp

 

NEWS & NOTES:


ONE PODIUM IN TWO EVENTS AT IOWA SPEEDWAY FOR RLL RACING
The Iowa Corn Indy 250 will mark the third event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at Iowa Speedway.  The best finish for the team is third in 2007 by Scott Sharp who also earned the top start for the team of fourth the same year.  Prior to the 2012 event, the team prepared a total of three entries for drivers Scott Sharp (2007), Jeff Simmons (2007) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008). The team has earned ONE podium (3rd, Sharp 2007) and two, top-10 finishes at the track.  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will bring that total to four entries in 2012.

SATO ON WINNING IOWA POLE AFTER HIS LOSING HIS FATHER Takuma Sato competed at Iowa Speedway in 2010 and 2011 and won his first IndyCar Series pole there last year with a 2-lap average speed of 180.375.  “It was a special moment,’ recalled Sato. “Not only because it was my very first pole in IndyCar but also because it was right after my father passed away. I wished I could have achieved it before but never­the­less, I would like to think he was still seeing it some­where and I was very proud and most grateful to my father for his support to make it happen and to be standing where I was that day.”

SATO ON HIS POLE RUN AND THE RESULTING CELEBRATION AROUND THE WORLD
“It started from prac­tice that I felt I had a good car so we worked on all of the details to go faster and it was very exciting. In qual­i­fying we just needed make sure the car was not going to be tipped over (on handling). Iowa is a very short track so there is very little time to get up to speed before the green flag so I remember I was very focused right away to launch the car to get the throttle wide open as early as possible with cold, new tires. The two laps had gone very quickly but I used the tools (inside the cockpit) to maxi­mize the speed and I really enjoyed the laps. I love the sensa­tion of the speed and the strong vertical G (force) load that comes from the steep banking. After winning pole, I liked everyone’s big smile and the excite­ment from the team, fans and Japanese media! The story crossed to Japan quickly so there were nonstop messages of congratulations.”

HEAT RACES AT IOWA SPEEDWAY
Two IZOD IndyCar Series prac­tice sessions June 22 totaling 90 minutes will play inte­gral roles in setting the starting grid for the Iowa Corn Indy 250. As announced by INDYCAR in mid-February, three heat races of 30 laps each will replace single-car qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the June 23 race under the lights on the .875-mile Iowa Speedway oval. According to Rule 8.5 of the IZOD IndyCar Series rule­book, groups for the 6:15 p.m. (local) qual­i­fi­ca­tions will be deter­mined by combined prac­tice session times.

Race 1 will consist of the even-numbered posi­tions, starting with the 10th-quickest prac­tice time overall, and deter­mine the even-numbered posi­tions in the starting field from 10th down. Race 2 will consist of the odd-numbered posi­tions, starting with the ninth-quickest prac­tice time overall, and deter­mine the odd-numbered posi­tions in the starting field from 9th down. Race 3 will consist of drivers ranked one through eight by combined prac­tice times. Results of Race 3 will deter­mine the top-eight starting posi­tions with the winner taking the pole posi­tion for the Iowa Corn Indy 250. Double-file restarts also will be utilized at Iowa Speedway, which has played host to the IZOD IndyCar Series since its opening in 2007.

SATO ON THE HEAT RACES DETERMINING POLE RATHER THAN THE PROCESS HE WON POLE WITH
“Since we didn’t have a test at Iowa, for us it’s going to be chal­lenging to set up the car in only one prac­tice session but having a heat race gives us an oppor­tu­nity to see how the car performs in race condi­tions before the final race so I think it will work in our favor and it will be interesting.”

TOM ANDERSON ON THE ADDED CHALLENGES/EXCITEMENT OF THE HEAT RACES
“The big thing that the engi­neers and drivers are going to be looking at, much differ­ently than the race, is the fact that with the qual­i­fying race only going 30 laps, that is about 1/3rd of a fuel load so you are going to have a much better tire life within that range,” said Tom Anderson, managing director of motor­sports oper­a­tions. “The car should be much more consis­tent throughout that 30 lap period than it would be in 30 laps of the race because it will have quite a lighter fuel load. It is going to be chal­lenging because the drivers will all nod and say ‘Yes this is just a qual­i­fying race and it’s only to deter­mine a specific posi­tion to start and, really, the big show is Saturday night.’  That somehow seems to change when they put their helmets on so it will be quite inter­esting to see and I’m sure it will be worth the ticket price for those that show up on Friday night. 

            (On changes to the car between the heat race and race:) “You can basi­cally make any changes you want within the rules.  There is a maximum wing angle that is allowed and this will be the same for the qual­i­fying races as it will be for the race. And you will be changing the setup because obvi­ously now you have to be more concerned about your tire wear and the heavier fuel load, which plays a dramatic part of the setup because the Indy cars defi­nitely feel that bump coming over the tunnel which is quite severe for these cars and several have been caught out the last few years. It’s some­thing we have to be very aware of.  The fact that we are going to be racing later on Saturday night and it will be cooler is also a factor to consider.  I would say there will be a signif­i­cant setup change between the qual­i­fying races on Friday and the race on Saturday night.”

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR JAY O’CONNELL ON NEW AERO PACKAGE FOR IOWA
Pursuant to input from IZOD IndyCar Series drivers and team engi­neers, INDYCAR has directed a maximum rear flap angle of 37 degrees with no wicker allowed for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 23 at Iowa Speedway. The tech­nical bulletin sent to teams June 18 follows two days of testing by 21 cars total at the .875-mile oval last week. The rule will reduce down­force avail­able by about 8 – 9 percent.  Aside from this alter­ation, the short oval aero­dy­namic package utilized at the Milwaukee Mile this past weekend will be employed — manda­tory speedway front brake backing plates, prohibit rear wheel infils and sidepod top deck, optional two-thirds radi­ator inlet shut­ters. Team Tech­nical Director Jay O’Connell believes this will add an addi­tional chal­lenge to the race this weekend.

“I think the recent changes made to the Iowa aero package will make the cars more diffi­cult to drive, espe­cially on used tires near the end of each stint,” said O’Connell. “The drivers that tested at Iowa (right after Texas) reported that the cars were too easy to drive with the maximum down­force config­u­ra­tion and requested the reduc­tion. Most impor­tantly the rules are the same for everyone so all the teams need to develop a setup that is conser­v­a­tive enough to retain plenty of stability when the tires degrade. The rules changes will make Iowa more chal­lenging for the driver and for the engi­neers setting up the car.”

SATO’S SEASON TO DATE
Sato has run compet­i­tively in all races to date this season although his 17th place rank in series stand­ings with a total of 136 points does not reflect that perfor­mance.  He is only 37 points from a top-10 rank (10th: Servia, 173 pts) and 95 out of the top five (5th: Castron­eves, 231 pts.).  He led three races to date and ran as high as second and sixth in three others but has only seen the check­ered flag in Brazil where he finished third. Of the seven races he failed to finish, two were mechan­ical fail­ures, one was the result of “avoid­able contact” by Hunter-Reay (Long Beach while third), and he retired due to contact in another four (Indy while attempting to win from second place on the final lap; launched into wall after hitting the curb in Detroit while sixth; was sixth in Texas when he hit the wall; ran as high as 10th before contact in Milwaukee).

SATO ON HIS MOTTO OFNO ATTACK, NO CHANCE
“I always believe in the motto ‘No Attack, No Chance.’ You could say for most of the things in my life, it has been that way too.  Of course it doesn’t have to be always attacking, some­times it needs to be a different angle for the appro­priate approach.  However, racing is an aggres­sive sport and attacking is the way to grab the chance and ulti­mately win. I am not saying to attack without thinking or plan­ning, that is not what I mean by attack at all. Unfor­tu­nately the last few races were tough situ­a­tions as they ended with ‘DNF’s’ and I feel bad for the team.  The boys have done a lot of hard work so I hope we have a good race in the next one. I am really looking forward to going to Iowa; I just need to be smart about attacking.”

 

- RLL – 

Sato Ran As High As 10th in the Milwaukee IndyFest But Retired After Contact

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Milwaukee IndyFest – The Milwaukee Mile
IZOD IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES — June 16, 2012

 

TAKUMA SATO RETIRED DUE TO CONTACT IN THE MILWAUKEE INDYFEST

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a good start to the race. We settled down in a couple of laps and gained a few posi­tions one by one. When we were in clean air it seemed we had good pace, catching the leaders. The pit stop was okay; just a little long and we lost a few posi­tions there but it looks like we were back in racing again.  After the restart I was side-by side a couple of times and one stage it was with James Jakes, who was a lap down. We were side-by side from Turn 4 and on the main straight into Turn 1 I was on the inside and was kind of boxed in.  I tried to hang on but the track was so slip­pery on the extreme inside. The car started sliding and we ran out of space. We wanted to finish the race. It is really a shame.”
 

FAST FACTS: Was his second race here. He qual­i­fied 14th and started 24th due to a 10-grid penalty for an unap­proved engine change at Texas.  He ran as high as 10th and was in 13th place when he crashed on Lap 108 of 225. He started fifth and finished 8th here in 2011 with KV Racing Tech­nology… His best oval qual­i­fying is pole at Iowa Speedway in 2011 and his best finish is fifth in Race 1 at TMS in 2011… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar and it appears to be the start of his best season to date in the series… Sato led three of seven races this year – including 31 laps at the only other oval race this year – the Indy 500 — and nearly won the event. Has led 58 laps to date in 2012… In 34 starts in 2010 – 2011, has 17 career top-10 starting spots including four top-five starts and two poles ( Edmonton and Iowa 2011). He has earned eight top-10 finishes including three top-five spots (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifth at Texas and St. Peters­burg in 2011).  Led a total of 61 laps from 2010-11.


JAY O’CONNELL, Tech­nical Director: “Starting at the back due to the 10-position grid penalty, Takuma did a good job on the first stint to make the most of the car and to move up to midfield. He was 13th on his first pit stop on Lap 62.  After the subse­quent yellow he came out 11th on a good restart and then continued to move his way forward and was 10th on the second pit stop. On the final restart he was in the middle of the field, three cars wide and was 13th when it got sorted out. He tried to pass Jakes, who was a lap down and was unable to finish the pass in Turn 1. He had a good car up until that point and I think he was making steady progress to the front.  It looked like Jakes was fairly low on the track and making it tougher for Takuma to get by. Takuma was down on the dark part of the pave­ment which tends to have a little less grip and made it more diffi­cult to complete the pass.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT MILWAUKEE The Milwaukee IndyFest marked the 18th for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at the legendary Milwaukee Mile oval.  The team WON here twice (Kenny Brack 2001 & Michel Jour­dain Jr. 2003), started from POLE three times ( Bobby Rahal 1999, Kenny Brack 2001, Vitor Meira 2004), made four FRONT ROW STARTS (2nd – Jour­dain Jr. 2003) and earned FOUR PODIUMS (2nd: Rahal 2004, Rice 2004).  Prior to the 2012 event, the team prepared a total of 33 entries for drivers such as Rahal (1992 – 98), Mike Groff (1993 – 94), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996 – 99), Max Papis (1999 – 2001), Kenny Brack (2000 – 2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jour­dain Jr. (2002 – 03), Buddy Rice (2004 – 06), Vitor Meira (2004 – 05), Danica Patrick (2005 – 06), Jeff Simmons (2006 – 07), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008). The team has earned 10 top-five finishes and 19 top-10’s at the track.  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato brought that total to 34 in 2012.

NEXT UP: The series will recon­vene at Iowa Speedway for next Saturday night’s Iowa Corn Indy 225.  Takuma Sato earned his first IZOD IndyCar Series pole at the track last year.

Sato Qualified 14th for the Milwaukee Mile IndyFest; Will Start 24th After 10-Grid Penalty for Unapproved Engine Change at Texas

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Milwaukee IndyFest – The Milwaukee Mile
IZOD IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES — June 15, 2012


TAKUMA SATO QUALIFIED 14TH FOR THE MILWAUKEE INDYFEST; WILL START 24TH AFTER 10-GRID PENALTY FOR UNAPPROVED ENGINE CHANGE AT TEXAS

POLE:   Dario Fran­chitti             2-lap avg. speed of 168.737 mph           (L1: 168.326, L2: 169.150)
14th:     Takuma Sato                2-lap avg. speed of 165.285 mph           (L1: 165.670, L2: 164.901)

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was quite a tough day, very chal­lenging. I like this track and the way you have to drive so hard. We couldn’t come to the test here and the prac­tice session we had today was not enough to work through all of the things we wanted to try on our program.  We needed more time.  The car was a little sketchy and maybe a bit tipped over for qual­i­fying and the speed we demanded and we had a little over­steer.  We ended up in 14th place and with the penalty we have to start from the back of the grid.  We made good progress through the sessions and will continue to work hard tonight to put all of the posi­tive things together and make a stronger car for the race. I felt it was diffi­cult to over­take with this config­u­ra­tion. The main chal­lenge of the race will obvi­ously be staying on the lead lap and we need to move up the posi­tions as soon as we can. That will be chal­lenging. Hope­fully a strong car and good strategy will help us get to the front.”

FAST FACTS: Will be his second race here. He started fifth and finished 8th here in 2011 with KV Racing Tech­nology… His best oval qual­i­fying is pole at Iowa Speedway in 2011 and his best finish is fifth in Race 1 at TMS in 2011… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar and it appears to be the start of his best season to date in the series… Sato led three of seven races this year – including 31 laps at the only other oval race this year – the Indy 500 — and nearly won the event. Has led 58 laps to date in 2012… In 34 starts in 2010 – 2011, has 17 career top-10 starting spots including four top-five starts and two poles ( Edmonton and Iowa 2011). He has earned eight top-10 finishes including three top-five spots (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifth at Texas and St. Peters­burg in 2011).  Led a total of 61 laps from 2010-11.
 

GERRY HUGHES, Race Engi­neer: “We have a much better car than our starting posi­tion shows. We have a lot of data to go through on the long runs that we performed in the second prac­tice session to give Takuma the best race car that we can. It is going to be a long race tomorrow and we want to make sure we are there at the end.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT MILWAUKEE The Milwaukee IndyFest will mark the 18th for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at the legendary Milwaukee Mile oval.  The team WON here twice (Kenny Brack 2001 & Michel Jour­dain Jr. 2003), started from POLE three times ( Bobby Rahal 1999, Kenny Brack 2001, Vitor Meira 2004), made four FRONT ROW STARTS (2nd – Jour­dain Jr. 2003) and earned FOUR PODIUMS (2nd: Rahal 2004, Rice 2004).  Prior to the 2012 event, the team prepared a total of 33 entries for drivers such as Rahal (1992 – 98), Mike Groff (1993 – 94), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996 – 99), Max Papis (1999 – 2001), Kenny Brack (2000 – 2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jour­dain Jr. (2002 – 03), Buddy Rice (2004 – 06), Vitor Meira (2004 – 05), Danica Patrick (2005 – 06), Jeff Simmons (2006 – 07), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008). The team has earned 10 top-five finishes and 19 top-10’s at the track.  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will bring that total to 34 in 2012.

NEXT UP: The 225-lap Milwaukee IndyFest will take place tomorrow, Saturday, June 16, and will be tele­vised live by ABC at 1 PM (ET). It will also be broad­cast by the IMS Radio Network on Sirius XM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com.

RLL Aims to Add to Their Two Wins and Three Poles at the Milwaukee Mile; Sato to Make His Second Start Here


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – 21st Season
Pre-Race Notes
Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by XYQ – The Milwaukee Mile
Round 8 of 16 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series

 

DATE:                                       June 15 – 16, 2012

QUALIFYING BROADCAST:   LIVE on www.indycar.com (timing & scoring with audio commentary)

RACE BROADCAST:               Live on Saturday, June 16 at 1 p.m. ET on ABC

RADIO BROADCAST:             The race will air on IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM (XM 94 & Sirius 212)

TRACK LAYOUT:                    1-mile oval

RACE LENGTH:                       225 laps / 225 miles

2011 WINNER:                         Dario Fran­chitti

2011 POLESITTER:                 Dario Fran­chitti (170.841 mph avg.)

SATO’S HIGHEST
OVAL START:                          Pole at Iowa Speedway in 2011

SATO’S HIGHEST
OVAL FINISH:                          Fifth at Texas Motor Speedway 2011 (Race 1)

SATO AT MILWAUKEE:          In one event here, Sato started 5th and finished 8th in 2011

RLL’S TOP START/
FINISH AT MILWAUKEE:        3 poles (Rahal ’99, Brack ’01, Meira ‘04) / 2 wins (Brack ’01, Jour­dain Jr. ’03)

 

NEWS & NOTES:

2 WINS, 3 POLES, 4 PODIUMS &FRONT ROW STARTS AT MILWAUKEE MILE FOR RLL RACING
The Milwaukee IndyFest will mark the 18th time for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) to compete at the legendary Milwaukee Mile oval.  The team competed in CART/Champ Car races here from 1992 – 2003 and in IndyCar Series events from 2004 – 2008 but did not compete in the 2009 and 2011 events.

The team won here twice (Kenny Brack 2001 & Michel Jour­dain Jr. 2003), started from pole three times (Bobby Rahal 1999, Kenny Brack 2001, Vitor Meira 2004), made four front row starts (2nd – Jour­dain Jr. 2003) and earned four podiums (2nd: Rahal 2004, Rice 2004).  Prior to the 2012 Milwaukee event, the team prepared a total of 33 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992 – 98), Mike Groff (1993 – 94), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996 – 99), Max Papis (1999 – 2001), Kenny Brack (2000 – 2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jour­dain Jr. (2002 – 03), Buddy Rice (2004 – 06), Vitor Meira (2004 – 05), Danica Patrick (2005 – 06), Jeff Simmons (2006 – 07), Scott Sharp (2007), and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008). The team has earned 10 top-five finishes and 19 top-10s at the track.  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will bring that total to 34 in 2012.

SATO ON GETTING BACK ON THE LEAD LAP TO FINISH EIGHTH IN HIS LONE START HERE
Takuma raced at the legendary Milwaukee Mile in 2011 where he started fifth and finished eighth.  It was a tough, long race but I enjoyed it a lot,” recalled Sato. “I was able to run a good pace at the begin­ning of the race but during the pit stop I got tangled up getting into the pit box so I got a drive through penalty, which put me at the back of the field and down a lap, but over the next two caution yellows I managed to get my lap back and I fought my way back into the top-10. There was a non-stop battle and racing the whole field all the time and that was an exciting weekend.”

SATO ON THE CHALLENGES OF THE MILWAUKEE MILE
“It is a very chal­lenging track simply because there is no banking to help the car so the driver has to work very hard to turn and really needs to drive the car. Over­taking is not easy but still it’s doable so it seems always nose to tail racing here. Also you cannot go through the corner flat (on the accel­er­ator) so that makes it natu­rally very chal­lenging. Qual­i­fying could be just flat or very close to do it.”

SATO ON THE TYPE OF RACING HE EXPECTS AT THE THIRD OVAL OF THE SEASON
“Indi­anapolis was the fastest aero package and Texas we were close to the drag level but had reduced down­force and these tracks are very different types of ovals but both races had a lot of action so Milwaukee, where we will have signif­i­cant increase of down­force as we use the road course wings, brings good expec­ta­tions for exciting race as there is always very close racing here.”

RLL HOPES TO AGAIN CONTEND FOR THE WIN IN THE THIRD OVAL RACE OF THE SEASON
Sato has run well in the other two oval races run so far in the 2012 season.  At the Indy 500 on May 27, Takuma led the third most laps at 31.  He pulled along­side even­tual winner Dario Fran­chitti in Turn 1 on the final lap to take the lead but lack of trac­tion led to a crash and he finished 17th.  He earned his best qual­i­fying posi­tion of the season of 10th at Texas Motor Speedway but was assessed a 10-grid penalty for an unap­proved engine change. He charged into sixth from 20th place but lost control of his race car on Lap 64 of 228 and retired in 22nd place.

SATO’S SEASON TO DATE
Sato has run compet­i­tively in all races to date this season although his 15th place rank in series stand­ings with a total of 124 points does not reflect that perfor­mance.  He is only 32 points from a top-10 rank (10th: Wilson, 156 pts) and only 75 out of the top five (5th: Page­naud, 199 pts.).  He led three of seven races to date and ran as high as second and sixth in three others but has only seen the check­ered flag in Brazil where he finished third. Of the six races he failed to finish, two were mechan­ical fail­ures, one was the result of “avoid­able contact” by Hunter-Reay (Long Beach while third), and he retired due to contact in another three (Indy while attempting to win from second place on the final lap; launched into wall after hitting the curb in Detroit while sixth; was sixth in Texas when he hit the wall).

SATO ON PROS / CONS OF HIS SEASON AT THE HALFWAY POINT
“Already halfway?!  I didn’t think we have gone that much into the season!  I think we showed really good perfor­mance at most of the races and improved a lot race by race. Those are the good parts and certainly getting very close to win the Indy 500 was the best. However there were a few races that we strug­gled with some fail­ures and unfor­tu­nate situ­a­tions and I put the car the wrong way too so we need to improve that one as well as need to improve the whole strength of the team.  Obvi­ously it’s not a simple answer (on how to turn season around) because a lot of things are related but we need to finish the race. We will continue to push but we need to focus on finishing the race for sure.”

SATO ON 10-GRID PENALTIES IN TEXAS AND MILWAUKEE
The team was assessed a 10-grid penalty for an “unap­proved engine change” prior to the race at Texas Motor Speedway. Due to the spec of the engine that the team elected to change to, Sato will also be assessed a 10-grid penalty after qual­i­fying at the Milwaukee Mile.  Sato discusses the extra chal­lenge this presents.

Texas was not so big a problem for the grid posi­tion as that track is rela­tively not so diffi­cult to over­taking other cars – although this year it was very diffi­cult with reduced down­force though. Milwaukee could be much more diffi­cult to over­take so it will be very chal­lenging but it is still better than to have the penalty at a road or street course.”

HOME RACE OF SORTS
Bobby Rahal and Mike Lanigan both reside in the Greater Chicago area so the race can be consid­ered a “home race” for each.  Lanigan will also enter­tain many corpo­rate clients of Mi-Jack Prod­ucts.  Lanigan started his career with Mi-Jack Prod­ucts in 1973, and accepted the posi­tion of Pres­i­dent of Mi-Jack in 1989. During his tenure as Pres­i­dent, Mike along with his brothers, Jack, Bill and Dan have solid­i­fied their core busi­ness by entrenching Mi-Jack as America’s premiere mobile gantry crane manu­fac­turer and the nations leading supplier of inter­modal lift equip­ment. In addi­tion, Mike has success­fully launched Mi-Jack into the inter­na­tional busi­ness arena through ventures in Central and South America. He resides in New Lenox, Ill. with his wife Mary Kay and has five grown chil­dren.

 

- RLL – 

Sato Was Sixth When Contact Ended His Bid for a Strong Finish in the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Fire­stone 550 – Texas Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES — June 9, 2012

 

TAKUMA SATO WAS SIXTH WHEN CONTACT ENDED HIS BID FORSTRONG FINISH IN THE FIRESTONE 550 AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was an exciting and quite chal­lenging race. We made a solid start and made a few posi­tions up and then we settled into the race and moved up one-by-one. Today we all ran less down­force so that it was very diffi­cult to follow and you had to lift for every single corner which made it very chal­lenging which was great. Then the pit stop was good and we gained more posi­tions; the guys did a great job.  On the restart I made a good start and gained a few more posi­tions and all seemed good. But then after the pit stop the car was quite nervous and at the exit of Turn 2 suddenly I lost the back end of the car and lost control and it was the end of the race.  It is a big shame, so disap­pointing. I think we showed good perfor­mance again so hope­fully we have a strong finish in the next race.”

FAST FACTS: Earned his best starting posi­tion of the season of 10th but was assessed a 10-grid penalty for an unap­proved engine change and started 20th. Had moved up 14 places to sixth when the rear of the race car lost trac­tion and he made contact with the wall and retired in 22nd… His best oval finish of fifth place came at TMS last year (Race 1) after he started fourth. He drew the 25th starting posi­tion in Race 2 and finished 12th.  He started 11th and retired in 25th in 2010 after contact.  It will be his third race at TMS… His best oval qual­i­fying is pole at Iowa Speedway in 2011 and his best finish is fifth in Race 1 at TMS in 2011… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar and it appears to be the start of his best season to date in the series… Sato led three of six races this year – including 31 laps at the only other oval race this year – the Indy 500 — and nearly won the event. Has led 58 laps to date in 2012… In 34 starts in 2010 – 2011, has 17 career top-10 starting spots including four top-five starts and two poles ( Edmonton and Iowa 2011). He has earned eight top-10 finishes including three top-five spots (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifth at Texas and St. Peters­burg in 2011).  Led a total of 61 laps from 2010-11.
 

TOM ANDERSON, Managing Director Motor­sport Oper­a­tions: “As a famous person in the Hall of Fame once told me, you are going to lose more races than you win. That’s one of the things that happened tonight. Its disap­pointing because we are running strong, we’ve got a good stretch of races here where we have been compet­i­tive. I’m really fortu­nate to be with a team running up front in an expan­sions season. I’m very proud of these guys for all the effort they are putting forward. The whole team is starting to come together. Pit stops are good and Takuma is starting to qualify well. It’s a learning curve. A simple problem tonight turned into a bigger one than we could rebound from. You learn from your mistakes. We’ll look more at what happened here after we look at the replay and the data down­loaded from the car and learn from this one and we’ll be a stronger team when we get to Milwaukee next weekend. It’s a great part of the season. There are some exciting places to go and we’re looking forward to the other oval races to finish out the month of June.”

NEXT UP: Round 8 of 16 in the IZOD IndyCar Series season will be the Milwaukee IndyFest at the legendary Milwaukee Mile. Sato started fifth and finished 8th there in 2011 in his only race at the track. The team won T HREE poles with Bobby Rahal (1992), Kenny Brack (2001) and Vitor Meira (2004) and TWO races with Brack (2001) and Michel Jour­dain Jr. (2003).

Sato Earned His Best Qualifying Position of 10th for the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Fire­stone 550 – Texas Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES — June 8, 2012

TAKUMA SATO EARNED HIS BEST QUALIFYING POSITION OF THE SEASON OF 10TH FOR THE FIRESTONE 550 AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

POLE:   Alex Tagliani     2-lap avg. speed of 215.691 mph                       (L1: 215.795, L2: 215.587)
10th:     Takuma Sato    2-lap avg. speed of 214.196 mph                       (L1: 214.211, L2: 214.181)

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was quite an adven­ture today. We are using a different aero­dy­namic package here than we did in the Indy 500 and it was the first time for us to run at Texas this year.  We only had a one hour session and there were so many things for us to work on.  The car wasn’t as comfort­able to drive as we wanted but we had good data from the prac­tice session and put it all together for qual­i­fying.  We should be happy with our perfor­mance in qual­i­fying consid­ering the situ­a­tion. It’s good to start in the top-10.  The race setup is quite different from the qual­i­fying setup and we will continue to work on it in the next prac­tice session.”
  

FAST FACTS: His best oval finish of fifth place came at TMS last year (Race 1) after he started fourth. He drew the 25th starting posi­tion in Race 2 and finished 12th.  He started 11th and retired in 25th in 2010 after contact.  It will be his third race at TMS… His best oval qual­i­fying is pole at Iowa Speedway in 2011 and his best finish is fifth in Race 1 at TMS in 2011… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar and it appears to be the start of his best season to date in the series… Sato led three of six races this year – including 31 laps at the only other oval race this year – the Indy 500 — and nearly won the event. Has led 58 laps to date in 2012… In 34 starts in 2010 – 2011, has 17 career top-10 starting spots including four top-five starts and two poles ( Edmonton and Iowa 2011). He has earned eight top-10 finishes including three top-five spots (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifth at Texas and St. Peters­burg in 2011).  Led a total of 61 laps from 2010-11.
 

JAY O’CONNELL, Vice Pres­i­dent Tech­nology: “The one-hour prac­tice was short­ened a bit today due to the weepers and so forth but we did our best to get Takuma comfort­able and figure out what ride heights and gears the car wants with this aero package. Since we didn’t test here on May 7 we were a little bit behind the other teams but we worked as quickly as we could to dial in those basic settings and get Takuma comfort­able and then went straight in to qual­i­fying and Takuma did a great job with the trim level that we accom­plished in our qual­i­fying. Having not pre-run that setting, he went out there and did a great job and put it in 10th place.  We are obvi­ously going to focus on running in traffic in this next prac­tice and start from where we left off to improve the car another step and try to increase the stability and the ability to run behind other cars and carry the momentum.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT TEXAS The Fire­stone 550 will mark the 10th event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval.  The team’s highest start of POLE with Scott Sharp came in 2007 and highest finish of SECOND came in 2005 with Vitor Meira.  The team earned another front row start in 2004 when Buddy Rice qual­i­fied second.  Prior to the 2012 event, the team prepared a total of 16 entries for drivers such as Kenny Brack (2003 x2), Buddy Rice (2004 x2; 2005, 2006), Vitor Meira (2004 x2; 2005), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008) and Jay Howard (2011, Schmidt/RLL).  The team has earned three top-five finishes and six top-10’s at the track.  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will bring that total to 17 in 2012.

NEXT UP: The 228-lap Fire­stone 550 will take place tomorrow, Saturday, June 9, and will be tele­vised live by NBC Sports Network at 8 PM (ET). It will also be broad­cast by the IMS Radio Network on Sirius XM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com.

Sato and RLL Racing Hope to Carry Momentum of Strong Indy 500 Run to Second Oval Race of the Season — The Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – 21st Season
Pre-Race Notes
Fire­stone 550 – Texas Motor Speedway
Round 7 of 16 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series

 

DATE:                                        June 8 – 9, 2012
QUALIFYING BROADCAST:     7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network on June 8; LIVE on www.indycar.com (timing & scoring with audio commen­tary)
RACE BROADCAST:                 Live on Saturday, June 9 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network
RADIO BROADCAST:                The race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM channel 94 & Sirius channel 212
TRACK LAYOUT:                      1.5-mile oval
RACE LENGTH:                        228 laps / 342 miles or 550 km
2011 WINNER:                          Dario Fran­chitti (Race 1) and Will Power (Race 2)
2011 POLESITTER:                  Alex Tagliani (215.186 mph avg.)
SATO’S HIGHEST
OVAL START:                          Pole at Iowa Speedway in 2011
SATO’S HIGHEST
OVAL FINISH:                          Fifth at Texas Motor Speedway 2011 (Race 1)
SATO AT TMS:                         In two previous events here, Sato’s best start is 4th and best finish is 5th (Race 1, 2011)
RLL’S TOP START/
FINISH AT TMS:                       1st by Scott Sharp 2007 / 2nd by Vitor Meira 2005

 

NEWS & NOTES:


 1 POLE, 1 PODIUM, 2 FRONT ROW STARTS IN NINE EVENTS AT TMS FOR RLL RACING
The Fire­stone 550 will mark the 10th for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval.  The team’s highest start of POLE with Scott Sharp came in 2007 and highest finish of SECOND came in 2005 with Vitor Meira.  The team earned another front row start in 2004 when Buddy Rice qual­i­fied second.  Prior to the 2012 event, the team prepared a total of 16 entries for drivers such as Kenny Brack (2003 x2), Buddy Rice (2004 x2; 2005, 2006), Vitor Meira (2004 x2; 2005), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008) and Jay Howard (2011, Schmidt/RLL).  The team has earned three top-five finishes and six top-10’s at the track.  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will bring that total to 17 in 2012.

 

RLL HOPES TO AGAIN CONTEND FOR THE WIN IN THE SECOND OVAL RACE OF THE SEASON
The only other oval race run so far in the 2012 season was the Indy 500 on May 27 and Takuma Sato led the third most laps at 31.  He pulled along­side even­tual winner Dario Fran­chitti in Turn 1 on the final lap to take the lead but lack of trac­tion led to a crash and he finished 17th.

SATO EARNED HIS HIGHEST OVAL FINISH OF FIFTH AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY LAST YEAR
The Fire­stone 550 at TMS will mark Sato’s third time to compete here.  Last year he earned his best IndyCar Series oval finish of fifth in Race 1 after starting fourth.  He drew the 25th starting posi­tion in Race 2 and finished 12th.  He started 11th and retired in 25th in 2010 after contact.

SATO ON THE TEAM’S COMPETITIVENESS AT INDY TRANSFERING TO THE SECOND OVAL OF THE SEASON
“Although Indi­anapolis and Texas will be quite a lot different, there are number of the things we can trans­late as a generic oval setup so I expect we will have a strong package at Texas too.”

SATO ON THE CHALLENGES OF THIS WEEKEND’S RACE AT TMS
“We will have a different aero package at TMS and we haven’t run that yet so to find the best perfor­mance from that package in a short amount of time will be a challenge.”

SATO ON THE TYPE OF RACE HE’S EXPECTING WITH THE DW12 AT TMS FOR THE FIRST TIME
“There should be less down­force as it’s a different concept from last year, so we should see less pack racing and more sepa­ra­tion through the field. However, as we saw at the Indy 500, the DW12 will create many over­taking possi­bil­i­ties so it will be a very chal­lenging and exciting race.”

SATO ON HIS SERIES BEST OVAL FINISH OF FIFTH PLACE AT TMS LAST YEAR
It was really an exciting race with a lot of side-by-side racing the whole way through the field and I enjoyed it.  The second race was quite chal­lenging and diffi­cult as I had to start from the back of the grid but overall I had good races.”

SATO’S SEASON TO DATE
Sato has run compet­i­tively in all races to date this season although his 13th place rank in series stand­ings with a total of 112 points does not reflect that perfor­mance.  He is only 64 points out of the top five (5th: Hinch­cliffe 176 pts.).  He led three of six races to date and ran as high as second and sixth in two others but has only seen the check­ered flag in Brazil where he finished third. Of the five races he failed to finish, two were mechan­ical fail­ures, one was the result of “avoid­able contact” by Hunter-Reay (Long Beach while third), and he retired due to contact in another two (Indy while attempting to win from second place on the final lap; launched into wall after hitting the curb in Detroit).

- RLL -