Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Iowa 300 – Iowa Speedway
Round 12 of 17 in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series
DATE: July 19-20, 2019
PRACTICE BROADCASTS: Live on INDYCAR Pass, the direct-to-consumer streaming product from NBC Sports Gold, on Friday from 11-12 p.m. ET and 7-8 p.m. ET. Also live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network (AAPIRN) and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis).
QUALIFYING BROADCAST: Live on NBCSN and INDYCAR Pass from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET on Friday, July 19. Also live on the AAPIRN and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis).
RACE BROADCAST: Live Saturday, July 20 beginning at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN, INDYCAR Pass and the AAPIRN. Coverage will also air on Sirius 113 and XM 209.
TRACK LAYOUT: 0.875-mile oval
RACE LENGTH: 300 laps / 268.2 miles
2018 WINNER: James Hinchcliffe
2018 POLESITTER: Will Power (2-lap avg. speed 182.391 mph)
RAHAL’S BEST IOWA START / FINISH: 6th in 2013 / 4th in 2015; will be his 12th race here
RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES START / FINISH: 3 Poles – St. Pete (street) 2009, Kansas (oval) 2009, Detroit (street) 2017 / 6 Wins – St. Pete 2008, Fontana (oval; 500 miles) 2015, Mid-Ohio (road) 2015, Texas (oval) 2016; Detroit Race 1 2017, Detroit Race 2 2017
SATO’S BEST IOWA START / FINISH: 1st in with 2011 with KVRT / 3rd in 2018; will be his 11th race here
SATO’S HIGHEST SERIES START / FINISH: 9 Poles – Iowa (oval) 2011, Edmonton (street) 2011, Houston Race 1 (street) 2013, St. Pete (street) 2014, Detroit Dual 2 (street) 2014, Detroit Dual 2 2017, Pocono (oval) 2017, Barber (road) 2019, Texas (oval) 2019 / 4 Wins – Long Beach (2013), Indianapolis 500 (2017), Portland (road) 2018, Barber 2019
RLL’S TOP START / FINISH AT IOWA: 4th by Sharp in 2007 / 3rd – 2007 by Scott Sharp, 2018 by Takuma Sato
NEWS & NOTES:
RLL AT IOWA SPEEDWAY
The 2019 Iowa 300 will mark the 10th event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at Iowa Speedway. The best finish for the team is third place (2007 by Scott Sharp, 2018 by Sato). Sharp also earned the top start for the team of fourth in 2007. Prior to the 2019 event, the team prepared a total of 12 entries for drivers Scott Sharp (2007), Jeff Simmons (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Takuma Sato (2012, 2018) Graham Rahal (2013-2018) and James Jakes (2013). The team has earned two podiums (3rd – Sharp 2007, Sato 2018) and seven, top-10 finishes at the track. The No. 15 One Cure entry for Graham Rahal and the No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic entry for Takuma Sato will bring the total number of cars entered in the race to 14 in 2019.
GRAHAM AT IOWA SPEEDWAY
The 2019 Iowa 300 will be Graham Rahal’s 12th race here. He has earned eight top-10 finishes in 11 starts with his best being fourth in 2015. In 2018, he qualified 12th and mostly ran in that position, on the lead lap, until Lap 35/300 when he was passed by leader Newgarden and also lost a position to run 13th. The team made some changes to hopefully help the handling of his race car when he made his first stop on L70. He moved up to 11th by L101 and was almost two laps down when the caution came out for Veach, who brushed the wall, on L139. He made his second stop under caution on L146 after being waved around and back on the lead lap. He was 10th after that stop and the last car on the lead lap. He held the position until L222 after passing Carpenter for ninth. By the time he made his third stop on L226, he had cycled up to seventh. He went a lap down when he made his stop and returned to the track in eighth place. He moved into seventh on L279/300 when Pagenaud brushed the wall and maintained it despite taking advantage of a late race caution to pit for new tires during a caution for Carpenter who got loose in Turn 2 and made slight contact with Sato. The new tires would not be needed as the race never returned to green conditions and he took the checkered flag in seventh place. In 2017, he ran fourth most of the race but finished fifth after starting 10th. The race was halted after 200 of 300 laps for approx. 20 minutes due to light sprinkles while Rahal was fourth. Late in the race, he lost track position due to being behind a lapped car of rookie Gutierrez and once he was able to pass, he ran out of time to move higher than fifth. In 2016, he started 12th and was up to fifth during the pit cycle before his first pit stop on Lap 58/300. He received a wave around during the caution period for Hunter-Reay (L109-127) to get back on the lead lap before his second stop to run eighth. He had previously reported a vibration before his second stop and the problem kept appearing mid-stint and until the end of the race which forced the team to pit earlier than expected on the remaining stops and Rahal ultimately finished 16th. Rahal earned his best finish at Iowa Speedway of fourth place in 2015 despite dropping a total of three laps down during the race. He started 17th and was 10th when he had to pit early due to his right rear tire deflating and went two laps down to the leader. Later he got back on the lead lap and reported a shifting issue on Lap 98/300 that slowed his return to the track from his second pit stop after having to reboot and he dropped a lap down again. Later in the race, the team took advantage of a caution period to pit for fuel and new tires which would enable them to go further than the leaders on the next stint and possibly pick up a yellow that would put them back on the lead lap. While leading and with five laps to go before they were forced to pit for their last stop, Sato brought out a caution period and the team stopped for fuel and tires. Due to the reoccurring shifting issue, he had to leave the pits in sixth gear rather than first and returned to the track in eighth place, and on the lead lap. The race restarted with 23 laps to go and Rahal moved from eighth place into fourth by Lap 294/300. He held his position and finished fourth but he and the team felt like they had earned a victory of sorts. In 2014, he started 15th and stayed on the lead lap with the help of the timing of the caution periods. He made his sixth stop on a late race caution period for Montoya and returned to the track in 10th place. Once the race was restarted with six laps to go he moved up to eighth place and passed Castroneves on the final lap for seventh. He set the 19th fastest lap time in single-car qualifying in 2013 to determine that he would be in Heat Race 2. He drove to victory in Heat Race 2 after starting seventh and progressed to Heat Race 3 where he also started seventh. Contact with Ed Carpenter on Lap 16 of 50 damaged his front wing and he held on to finish ninth of 10 cars to match his best start at Iowa of ninth. He started sixth after engine penalties were served and charged from 10th to second on his second stint. He challenged for the win and led Lap 160 until the last 20 laps where he dropped to fourth while navigating traffic and then fifth on the final lap. In 2012 he qualified 10th, started 20th (penalty for unapproved engine change) and finished ninth with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR). In 2011 he qualified 20th and finished 15th with SCCGR. In 2010, he qualified 17th with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, led 11 laps and finished ninth. In 2009 he qualified ninth and finished 11th with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) and in 2008 he qualified 16th and finished 10th with NHLR. He is looking forward to the return to a Saturday night race.
“Iowa is a tough track, its super small, really intense with no margin for error,” said Rahal. “It’s gotten pretty bumpy over the years. It’s an interesting place to go race. It always puts on a great race and having it on Saturday night will be even better so I’m excited. We’ve had some good results there before, we’ve been competitive there before and expect to be competitive this time around and will try to get a win there. At night the track cools down and it’s a greater spectacle, there is more passing but overall it is just a greater spectacle to watch and be a part of.”
TAKUMA AT IOWA SPEEDWAY
In his previous 9 races at Iowa Speedway, Takuma’s best start is pole in 2011 with KV Racing where he also led seven laps and his best finish is third last year after he qualified 10th. In the race, he passed Carpenter on the start for ninth place and ran no lower than 11th before he steadily climbed to seventh and then into sixth before his first stop on L77. He maintained sixth place once his stop was complete and passed Hunter-Reay for fifth on L105/300 and was the last car on the lead lap. He passed Pagenaud for fourth on L125 before Veach brought out a caution on L139. He made his second stop on L142 when the pits opened and maintained fourth place. He now had a bigger gap on the leader with 10 cars back on the lead lap. On L171 he passed eventual second-place finisher Pigot for third and remained ahead of him the entire stint including when he passed eventual winner Hinchcliffe for second on L213 and later took over the lead on Laps 224-226 before his third and final stop on L226. Track position dictated his return to the track in fifth place with a lot of lapped traffic between himself and the frontrunners which hindered his pursuit. He held his position until L294 when Carpenter got loose in Turn 2 and made light contact with the right rear of Sato’s car when he had nowhere to go to avoid him. He sustained light damage to his race car but didn’t think it would hinder him on the late race restart. When the pits opened on L297/300, second and third place runners Newgarden and Wickens pitted for new tires to challenge for the win on a restart but the race never went back to green conditions and Sato took the checkered flag in third place.
“Iowa is a fun place,” said Sato. “It’s extremely tight as a short oval. We had a great race last year and have a very good baseline car setup. Obviously, this year is going to be a night race, so the conditions will be very different from last year, but we hope and believe we can have a competitive car at Iowa Speedway.”
POINTS BATTLE AFTER 11 OF 17 RACES
With six races yet to be run — and seven races worth of points available — this season, Sato is ranked sixth in series point standings with a total of 301 and Rahal is eighth with 266. Leader Josef Newgarden has 434, second place Alexander Rossi has 430, third place Simon Pagenaud has 395, fourth place Scott Dixon has 348 and fifth place Will Power has 306.