Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Bommarito Automotive Group 500 – Gateway Motorsports Park, Madison, Illinois
Round 15 of 17 in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series
DATE: August 24-25, 2018
PRACTICE BROADCASTS: Live on www.Indycar.com with analysis from the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network (AAPIRN) and on the INDYCAR YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indycar) on Friday beginning at 1:15 and 9 p.m. ET. Also on the INDYCAR 18 app.
QUALIFYING BROADCAST: NBCSN will air live coverage on Friday, August 24 at 5 p.m. ET, on the (AAPIRN), the INDYCAR 18 app and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis).
RACE BROADCAST: Live on NBCSN, Saturday, August 25 beginning at 8 p.m. ET and on the INDYCAR 18 app. The race will also air live on the AAPIRN, Sirius 217, XM 209 and www.indycar.com.
TRACK LAYOUT: 1.25-mile oval
RACE LENGTH: 248 laps / 310 miles
2017 WINNER: Josef Newgarden
2017 POLESITTER: Will Power (2-lap avg. speed 189.642 mph)
RAHAL’S BEST OVAL START/FINISH: Pole (Kansas 2009) / 1st (Fontana 2015, 500-miles; Texas 2016)
RAHAL’S BEST GATEWAY START/FINISH: 13th / 12th – both in 2017; will be his 2nd race here
SATO’S BEST OVAL START/FINISH: Pole (Pocono 2017) / 1st (Indy 500 2017)
SATO’S BEST GATEWAY START/FINISH: 6th / 19th – both in 2017; will be his 2nd race here
RLL’S BEST START/ FINISH AT GATEWAY: 2nd in 2003 by Kenny Brack / 5th in 1999 by Max Papis – six races (1997-2000, 2003, 2017)
NOTES & QUOTES:
RLL AT GATEWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK
The 2018 Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will mark the second open wheel race at the track since 2003 and will be the seventh event for the team here. The 1.25-mile oval hosted CART-sanctioned races from 1997-2000 and IRL races from 2001-2003 before the IndyCar Series returned in 2017. The team competed in all four CART races from 1997-2000 and one of the three IRL races (2003). The best starting position for the team of second place came in 2003 by Kenny Brack and the best finish of fifth place was in 1999 by Max Papis. Prior to 2018, the team prepared a total of 10 Indy car entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1997-1998), Bryan Herta (1997-1999), Max Papis (1999-2000), Kenny Brack (2000, 2003) and Graham Rahal (2017). The No. 15 Mi-Jack Honda entry for Graham Rahal and No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic entry for Takuma Sato will bring that total to 12 in 2018.
RAHAL ON HIS 2017 RACE AT GATEWAY AND EXPECTATIONS FOR A FUN RACE
In 2017, Rahal started 13th but during the pace laps, Kanaan spun and Rahal moved into 12th before the green. Once the race started, pole sitter Will Power spun and collected Carpenter and Sato to move Rahal into ninth place. He was able to stay out longer than a few cars and cycled into fifth before his first stop on Lap 61 of 248. He returned to the track in eighth place and held the position until his second stop on Lap 104 during a full course caution for JR Hildebrand. After the restart he passed Ryan Hunter-Reay for seventh on Lap 113. He held the spot until the next pit cycle approached and took over sixth place when Rossi pit before he made his third stop on Lap 158. He returned to the race in sixth place and held it through a full course caution for Chilton who spun. He passed Hinchcliffe for fifth on Lap 183 when the Canadian had to check up behind Dixon and Rahal got around him. During his fourth and final stop under caution for Hunter-Reay who hit the wall, Rahal pitted from fifth place but left the pit with the fuel probe still attached to the car. At the start of the race, telemetry showed that the fuel probe sensor wasn’t working so the team had to take extra precautions for the stops. The probe sensor ensures that the car cannot go into gear to depart until the fuel nozzle is out of the car. Race control ruled that Rahal had to go to the back of the field due to the incident and he moved back to 14th place. He passed Andretti on the restart and later passed Jones for 12th, which he held until the checkered flag.
“We didn’t test there so there will be a lot of unknowns when we go back. We were pretty good at Iowa in the race and I would anticipate we will be pretty strong at Gateway. Last year we didn’t qualify that well but in the race we were actually pretty competitive but we had a little fueling issue at the end which was my fault. We had a fuel probe sensor that went bad and I got a little too eager and left the pits before I should have. Unfortunately I got a penalty and had to go to the back. But we had a strong race; we were running fifth and would have had a top-five for sure so it was disappointing not to get those points. I’m excited to go back. I anticipate a good event with a great crowd. It should be a lot of fun.”
TAKUMA ON HIS 2017 RACE & WHY HE THINKS GATEWAY IS ONE OF THE BEST SHORT OVALS
This will be Takuma’s second race here but his first one didn’t last long. He qualified a strong sixth but the race went yellow when Tony Kanaan spun on the pace lap. Once the green flag flew, pole sitter Will Power lost control of his race car as did Ed Carpenter and collected Sato as he was spinning. Sato only completed six of 248 laps. He finished third at the previous short oval race this season at Iowa Speedway and is hopeful for a strong performance at Gateway.
“Unfortunately it was a short race for us last year but it is a very impressive facility. We tested there last year and then after that, the track and promoter’s commitment was very impressive and they made some improvements so when we went back it was a completely different track. It is a great, fun track. The characteristics of Gateway are very unique. I think it is one of the best short ovals because there is such high banking in Turns 1 and 2, and Turns 3 and 4 are kind of flat and, as we observed, it was one of the best short oval races last year. I think it was a great show. The fans were really excited and it was great to see so many enthusiastic fans at the race.”
GRAHAM ON THE BOMMARITO 500 AS A MAJOR EVENT IN A SPORTS TOWN
“The event is great and has quickly become a very strong race for the series. The promoters have done an amazing job with it. I have seen all of the promotions and (wife) Courtney and I were part of some of it with our media day last week. The city has really gotten behind the event which is so important. It certainly helps that St. Louis is such a great sports town. We felt that we had a really good race car at Pocono that we let slip with how the race start played out so we’re hoping to get to Gateway and make the most of every opportunity.”
TAKUMA ON THE TYPE OF RACING HE ANTICIPATES
“It is going to be a challenging race. Iowa was an exceptionally interesting race because there were so many lanes available so instead of following others, you can stagger so you have fresh air. Last year it worked really well at Gateway because Turn 3 and 4 were nearly flat (on the throttle) all the time even when you were following a car so that means essentially at the exit of Turn 2 until the entry to Turn 1 you can see down the long straight so you get a great tow effect therefore a lot of passing was happening in the Turn 1 entry. But this year, because there is a reduction of downforce, if we can follow cars in Turns 3 and 4, I think it will be great racing again. If not, it will be difficult to overtake. Since we had a very good race at Iowa, I am certainly looking forward to going to Gateway.”
THE POINT STANDINGS
The three remaining races in 2018 will take place on one oval and two road courses — Portland International Raceway and the double-points race at Sonoma Raceway. Rahal is eighth in series point standings with a total of 351 and is 60 points out of fifth place Ryan Hunter-Reay, 411. Takuma Sato is 13th in series point standings with 267.