Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Grand Prix of Portland
Verizon IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – September 2, 2018
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 One Cure Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I couldn’t see anything in front of me. Obviously I’m disappointed for One Cure. We were hoping for a strong day. I don’t know what happened in front of us but it was a cluster. I couldn’t see anything and I had nowhere to go. We made it through Turn 1 and 2 and I thought ‘Hey, clear sailing here’ and then bam. From what I hear, it sounds like Veach just put Hinch up on the curb which is pretty unfair. As you can see Dixie doing behind us, you can run two wide through there no problem. I’m disappointed. A lot of guys were driving aggressively, which is okay, but we’ve got to give each other room.”
· FAST FACTS: He started 10th and had gotten through Turns 1 and 2, which was expected to be action-packed, and after getting through Turn 2 Zach Veach squeezed James Hinchcliffe and the two made contact which set off a multi-car crash that collected James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, Rahal, points-leader Scott Dixon and his teammate Ed Jones. Rahal’s car was too damaged to continue so it was towed back to the paddock and after more than one hour he returned to the track to complete a handful of laps to collect two championship points, which was the maximum possible… It was the fourth overall race for Graham at PIR and second in the headline event. He competed in the 2007 Champ Car World Series race where he started eighth and finished ninth in his rookie season for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. He started from pole in the Atlantics race here in 2006 but was hit by Simon Pagenaud on Lap 1 and finished 27th. In 2005, he earned his first professional win at PIR in the Star Mazda race after starting fourth and winning by a margin of 0.0317 seconds over James Hinchcliffe. Has SIX IndyCar Series wins (2008 – St. Pete street course; 2015 – Fontana Super Speedway, Mid-Ohio road course; 2016 – Texas oval; 2017 – Race 1 & 2 Detroit streets) and THREE poles (2009 – St. Pete street course, Kansas oval; 2017 – Detroit Race 1 street). His highest series season-ending standing is fourth place in 2015. He is currently ranked fourth in series standings with 63 points. He maintained his eighth place rank in series point standings with 378 points but lost ground to fifth place Ryan Hunter-Reay, who finished third.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The strategy worked extremely well, the car worked well and the pit stops were fantastic. It was a beautiful race. I was of course looking at Ryan Hunter-Reay in my mirrors. I knew he had more Push to Pass and knew he was coming but I kept really cool. The last couple of weekends were difficult, especially at St. Louis. We tried the fuel strategy and it didn’t work but you have to keep on going and this time the fuel strategy worked really well. The yellow obviously helped it but, most importantly, the car had pace. Look at these fans in Portland, so enthusiastic. I think this is one of the most beautiful days in my life again. Since we failed to have good qualifying yesterday, we started from 20th which you have to have an open mind on strategy. I have to give thanks to Mi-Jack, Honda, Panasonic, Abeam and all of the guys and of course Bobby, Mike and Dave.”
· FAST FACTS: He won his third IndyCar Series race and first with RLL after starting 20th in his first race at PIR. He led a total of 23 laps including the final 20 on what was largely a two-stop strategy plus an early pit to top off on fuel during an opening lap caution that took out four cars including his teammate Rahal. On the start, he avoided a multi-car crash that was started by Zach Veach that collected James Hinchcliffe, Rahal, Marco Andretti, points-leader Scott Dixon and Ed Jones. Once the pits opened during the caution, Sato pit to top off his fuel and returned to the track in 16th place. Topping off on fuel enabled him to cycle as high as second place when he made his second stop for tires and fuel on Lap 39. He returned to the track in 17th place and maintained a good pace to those on two and three-stop strategies. He moved up to 10th on Lap 45 when drivers ahead took advantage of the caution for Will Power. He passed Chaves for 9th on Lap 47 and held the position until three-stoppers began to pit. He was in seventh when place when a caution came out for Veach. As the front runners pit during the caution, he stayed on track and cycled to second place. When the race went green on Lap 60/105, he held second place behind Ryan Hunter-Reay for a total of 14 laps before Hunter-Reay have to make another stop. He took over the lead on Lap 71 and held it until he made his final stop on Lap 76. He returned to the track in second place to Max Chilton, who still had to pit. A caution came out for Ferrucci. The race went green on Lap 81 and Chilton pit for fuel on Lap 85. Sato had a 0.74-second lead over Hunter-Reay which he build to one second by Lap 100 of 105. He held off Hunter-Reay and took the checkered flag 0.6084 ahead to earn his third series win and the 26th for RLL… Has THREE IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval; 2018 – Portland road course) and SEVEN poles (2011 Iowa oval, Edmonton street; 2013 Houston Race 1 street; 2014 St. Pete street, Detroit Race 2 street; 2017 Detroit Race 2, Pocono oval). He moved from his 13th place rank in series standings to 11th with 341.
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT PORTLAND … Sato earned the second race win for the team here and first since 2001 when Max Papis won from pole. It was the first time for the team to race in Portland since 2003 and 13th time overall. It is also the fourth podium finish for the team here (3rd – B. Rahal 1995, Herta 1998).
NEXT UP: The series will take next weekend off before returning to action for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season-finale at Sonoma Raceway on September 16. NBCSN will begin live coverage at 6:30 PM EDT.
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