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, 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.