Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
INDYCAR Classic — Circuit of the Americas
Round 2 of 17 in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, March 24, 2019
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 TOTAL Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I thought it was a good day, We battled. I thought we got lucky there with that yellow, all of us up front at the finish got lucky a little bit, but that’s okay, we’ll take it. Our car had pace all day. We just kept battling, kept battling with the same group, having to fight our race through the same group of guys. Realistically, we were a top-five, top-six car no matter what. Our guys worked hard to get this No. 15 TOTAL Honda to the front. I think the pit stops were really strong. We’ve got a lot of young guys on the pit stops, and they did a great job. We’ll put our heads down from here. The great sign is that RLL is competitive. We were competitive at St. Pete, we were competitive here. It’s a good start to the year. It’s great for (winner) Colton. I’ve obviously known him for a long time since his dad drove for the team, and he drives for our sports car team. Getting your first win is always special, period. No matter where it is, when it is. This is definitely a good one for him.”
FAST FACTS: Started 10th and moved to ninth ahead of Veach, who went off course but was 10th before the start/finish line on the opening lap when Ferrucci passed him. As the pit cycle started, Rahal moved up to fourth then passed Dixon for third and on into second before his first pit stop on Lap 14. He returned to the track on primary tires amid a group of cars on the faster alternate ones and he ultimately shuffled back to 11th after initially holding ground. He made his second stop from sixth place on Lap 26 and returned to the track in 12th to battle Dixon again. As others struggled on the primary tires, that degraded quicker, he moved into ninth. He passed O’Ward for 8th on Lap 38 and then Ericcson on Lap 41 for seventh. He was exiting his pit after his final stop on Lap 43 when Rosenqvist crashed. The caution benefitted those, like fourth place runner Herta and Rahal, who had pit, but hurt top three runners like Power, Rossi and Dixon. Once the front runners had to pit for fuel, Rahal moved up to fourth place for the restart. He had less Push to Pass than those around him but was able to maintain his position and finished fourth…Made his first start at this track … Has six IndyCar Series wins (2008 – St. Pete street course; 2015 – Fontana Super Speedway, Mid-Ohio road course; 2016 – Texas Super Speedway; 2017 Detroit Race 1, Detroit Race 2) and three poles (2009 – St. Pete street course, Kansas oval; 2017 – Detroit Race 1 street) and his highest series season-ending standing is fourth place in 2015… Is ranked fifth in series point standings with 50.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a very exciting race. At one point it was a shame but Harvey had an issue and he got slowed down and I was boxed in with Dixon. If it didn’t happen, I was a pinball right and left. If it didn’t happen I would have been fifth or higher. We had a failure on the air jack on the last pit stop so we lost a bunch of places. Considering that, I think the strategy and the yellow helped bring us back to seventh place. For the team, under the difficult circumstances, it was a good weekend.”
FAST FACTS: Started 14th and moved to 13th when Veach made contact with the rear of Rahal’s car and dropped back. He had started the race on the primary tires and pit early to exchange them for alternate tires on Lap 7 of 60 and returned to the track in 20th place. He went to make a move on Dixon on Lap 14 and was side-by-side with him in the turn complex and the two came up on Harvey, who was on cold tires and on his out lap after a stop. Sato being held up enabled Dixon to pass and Pigot was able to get ahead of both of them. He made his second stop on Lap 22 and returned to the track in 21st. He moved up as various pit cycles took place and was back in 14th by Lap 28. He took over 13th place on Lap 36 and passed Pigot for 12th on Lap 40. He made his third stop on Lap 41 but the airjack malfunctioned due to damage and he lost positions. He returned to the track in 21st and cycled up to 16th as others made their stops. A caution came out for Rosenqvist from Lap 44-49 and many drivers had yet to make their last stop so that were forced to under caution and give up their positions. He was ninth when the race restarted on Lap 50 and passed Pigot for eighth on the next lap. On the final lap, he passed O’Ward for a seventh place finish in his first race here… Has three wins (2013 – Long Beach; 2017 Indianapolis 500; 2018 – Portland) and seven series poles (2011 – Iowa (oval); 2011 – Edmonton (street); 2013 – Houston Race 1 (street); 2014 – St. Pete (street); 2014 Detroit Race 2 (street); 2017 – Detroit Race 2; 2017 – 2017 Pocono (oval).