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