Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
MAVTV 500 – Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif.
IZOD IndyCar Series – Season Finale
RACE NOTES/QUOTES — Saturday, September 15, 2012
SATO RAN IN THE TOP FIVE THE MAJORITY OF THE MAVTV 500 SEASON FINALE INCLUDING LEADING SIX LAPS BUT CONTACT WHILE FOURTH ON THE FINAL LAP DROPPED HIM TO SEVENTH
TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was an exciting race really; a long one. We were working on the car during the race and it was getting better most of the time but after the sun set the track speed increased and I was struggling a little bit on the top speed and the balance. We were close to leading the race at one stage but we had an over-boost on a late restart and the engine started coughing and there was no acceleration at that time which was a real shame; I lost some positions. The end of the race was a real shame. I was side-by-side with Ryan through Turns 1 and 2 and I suddenly lost the back end on the final lap. I feel sorry for the guys who have done a great job over the course of the weekend and also the whole year really. It was a fantastic season so it is a real shame to finish this way. It was an exciting race.”
- FAST FACTS: Sato climbed through the field from his 21st place start and into the lead for Laps 38 – 39, 150 – 152 and 228 and ran in the top five the majority of the race. He was in fourth place when he lost control of the race car and crashed exiting Turn 2 on the final lap… He ended the 2012 season ranked 15th with a total of 281 points… His best oval qualifying is pole at Iowa Speedway in 2011 and his best finish is fifth at Texas Motor Speedway in 2011… Sato led three street races this season (St. Pete, Long Beach & Baltimore) and at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he nearly won with a last lap pass. Has led 70 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 Motorsports Operations: “The finale turned into a repeat performance of our exciting finish at Indianapolis unfortunately. It was a great run for 499 miles though. We are obviously disappointed in our finish but fortunately no one was hurt. Our congratulations go out to Ed Carpenter for winning the race and to Ryan Hunter-Reay for winning the championship. It’s been an exciting season for the IndyCar Series and it was a very exciting race for the fans. It was a good call to bring out the red flag so the race and season didn’t end under caution.”