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.