RAHAL - Indy 500 Race Notes
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500
Verizon IndyCar Series
RACE DAY NOTES/QUOTES – May 27, 2018
RAHAL AND SERVIA LED THE INDY 500 AT VARIOUS TIMES, WITH SERVIA LEADING WITH LESS THAN 10 LAPS TO GO BUT BOTH CAME UP SHORT; CONTACT WITH A SLOW LAPPED CAR ENDED SATO’S RACE
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I thought our United Rentals car was very good, it just became a track position race and the yellows were way too long. The strategy that we played when we got to the lead on Lap 100 -- had the yellows not taken so long every single time -- we would have been one pit stop less than the rest. We were good to make it on one more stop and everybody else wasn’t. There were three or four of us in that situation. Me, Newgarden, I think Wickens maybe and Munoz. We had played it right. It obviously sucks to leave here another year and not get a win particularly when the race car was pretty good. I need to be more aggressive on the restarts. I didn’t really want to try the second lane because there was a lot at stake. I didn’t want to put the thing in the fence but I saw a lot of guys doing it (second lane) so the last restart I did, I made up three or four spots but I’m just disappointed because I want to get out of here with a win someday.”
- FAST FACTS: Pit strategy and a well-handling race car enabled Rahal to lead a total of 12 laps and the strategy was playing out well in the late stages of the race but extended cautions negated the full benefit. Rahal started 30th and finished 10th… Was his 11th Indy 500. His best qualifying position in the Indy 500 is fourth in 2009 with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and best finish is third with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 after he led six laps. He ran in the top-five in six of his nine previous races here. Detailed Indy 500 information available upon request. 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... He is ranked sixth in series point standings with a total of 183 points, only 35 behind fourth place Scott Dixon.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “James had a problem with speed and there was too much closing speed between us and I couldn’t avoid him. Once I realized, I backed off and even hit the brakes but just once you get into an air pocket like that, you just get sucked in. It’s’ really an unfortunate situation for both of us and I feel really sorry for the team, the fans and supporters. Robert (Wickens) and I were catching the front of the train, the pack we were in. Once he got it, I could see two cars side by side. At the time maybe James was too much in trouble and he had to back off and get in the grey. The speed differential was way too great between us. I tried to avoid it but unfortunately I couldn’t.”
- FAST FACTS: Started 16th and dropped to 17th on Lap 6. He held the position and reported a little understeer which the team planned to address on the first stop. He dropped to 18th for a few laps before the pit cycle started and he made his first stop on Lap 33 and returned to the track in 16th. On Lap 48/200 he was unable to avoid the slow, lapped car of James Davison between Turns 3 and 4 and the two made contact with Sato retiring in 32nd place… Entered the race as the reigning winner of the 2017 Indy 500. The 2018 race will be his ninth Indy 500 and second with RLL. In 2012 with RLL, he was alongside eventual winner Franchitti in Turn 1 on the final lap but his race ended due to contact after he was squeezed down on the apron and lost control of his race car. Prior to his 2017 win with Andretti from his best start of fourth place, his highest finish was 13th in 2013 and 2015 – both with A.J. Foyt Racing... Has TWO IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval) 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 is 15th in series point standings with 100 points.
ORIOL SERVIA, No. 64 Scuderia Corsa / Manitowoc Dallara/Honda/Firestone, entered by Scuderia Corsa with RLL: “I am really proud of the whole effort. When you come as a one-race team, it is really hard to beat the guys that are full season so just doing it for your run for the money like we did is really great. It was great running up front. It showed we had a good speed, great passes, and restarts. We took a risk on the strategy and it almost worked. I am very proud of everyone. Everyone at RLL and Scuderia Corsa were here to win and we showed that we really went for it.”
- FAST FACTS: After leading as late as Lap 193/200, he was two caution laps shy of having enough fuel to make it to the end without a late race pit stop for a splash of fuel. He started 26th, led a total of 16 laps by taking a fuel strategy gamble that nearly paid off but his pit stop with three laps to go led to a 17th place finish… The 2018 Indy 500 was Servia’s 10th in the famed race and fifth with RLL. His best finish overall is fourth in 2012 with Dreyer & Reinbold and best start is third in 2011 with Newman/Haas Racing. In the 2009 Indianapolis 500 with RLL, Servia was in ninth place halfway through the race when a mechanical failure led to his retirement in 26th place. In 2014, he competed for the team in Long Beach, at Barber Motorsports Park and two events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he led seven laps in the road course race but finished 12th, qualified 18th for the Indy 500 and finished 11th. In 2015, Servia retired in 29th place from the Indy 500 with RLL after Ed Carpenter attempted an inside pass while Servia was 15th and took both drivers out of the race after 112 of 200 laps… A native of Pals, Spain, Servia has made 202 starts in CART, Champ Car and the IndyCar Series since his rookie season in 2000. His Indy car highlights include one win (Montreal 2005) and one pole (Surfers Paradise, Australia 2005) as well as a total of 19 top-three, 51 top-five and 101 top-10 finishes.
NEXT UP: The Chevrolet Duals in Detroit will take place next Saturday, June 2 and Sunday June 3. Graham Rahal won the first Dual last year from pole and won the second one from a third place start. Takuma Sato won the second pole.
Tom has been a contributor to RIS since 1992. He was invited to join the staff as a full-time reporter/editor in 1995, and has covered IndyCar, Formula 1, NASCAR, Grand-Am, ALMS and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In addition to his RIS work, Tom has been a contributor for General Motors, Nissan, Toyota and the ACO.