RAHAL - Indy 500 Qualifying Notes

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500
NTT IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, May 18, 2019

14th:       Takuma Sato     4-lap avg. of 228.300 mph    (L1: 228.779, L2: 228.257, L3: 227.866, L4: 228.299)  
17th:       Graham Rahal   4-lap avg. of 228.104 mph    (L1: 228.565, L2: 228.333, L3: 228.254, L4: 227.270)  
26th:       Jordan King       4-lap avg. of 227.502 mph    (L1: 227.789, L2: 227.702, L3: 227.444, L4: 227.075)  
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone:   "I just felt we underperformed today a little bit and our guys stayed calm.  I can't thank the United Rentals team enough for that. Allen (McDonald, race engineer) did a good job there.  We had a tough decision to make after that second run. I think everyone felt that we could go a lot quicker.  We just needed to go out and put it together. We thought the car didn't reflect the pace; it was close to being ideal.  It just takes a little tweak here and there and we got it right.  Had the driver not screwed up on Turn 3 of the last lap there, I think we would've started 13th or 14th  I moved my weight jacker all the way to the right and unfortunately, that's not ideal and we had to lift. To start where we start I'll take it.  It takes some balls, man (to withdraw the previous qualifying time).  I think Rico (Ricardo Nault, team manager) and I both felt like the car was way more capable than where we were at on the chart.  I knew the risk is you have to qualify tomorrow the reward is that we could qualify.  I knew that we were a lot better than where we were and ultimately, fortunately, it worked out.  Starting 17th was better than starting 28th."

  • FAST FACTS: Made three qualifying attempts, with the final one taking place while the gun went off to signal the end of qualifying at 5:50 p.m. Will be his 12th 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 seven of his 10 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 currently seventh in series standings with 113 points, only 33 out of third place.
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  "Qualifying day is reasonably stressful. The pressure's on, but usually, it's a quite exciting day for the qualifying.  It was a tough day.  It was warm with gusty wind.  Nobody had a perfect car I don't think.  The morning runners from 11-12 p.m. got a bit of a condition advantage, but then after that, we all struggled due to the temperature.  I’m kind of half satisfied.  The reason was we just couldn't make the most of it.  I ended up lifting on my third lap which cost me 0.1 mile down on average.  It didn't make a position difference but in the end, you want to make the most of it which was a little bit of a shame.  But having said that I think with the conditions and the circumstances, the team did a good job and we have decent speed.  I’m glad to be in the show.  We will just focus now for the next few days for making the best out of the racecar."
  • FAST FACTS: 2017 Champion of the Indy 500.  The 2019 race will be his 10th 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 FOUR IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval, 2018 - Portland road, 2019 - Barber road ) and EIGHT 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; 2019 Barber road).  He is fifth in series standings with 132 points.
JORDAN KING, No. 42 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  (On his third, full qualifying attempt after this first was waved off due to debris:)  "Whatever percent I went quicker it felt that much better.  We were chased by a margin of the whole field separated by thousands of a second.  That was a good run.  It was pretty consistent.  I think my drop off was only half a mile an hour which is probably the best out there.  I think the outright speed isn't quite where it was in the 27's, so gave me some breathing room. The first run was so mismatched with a yellow flag and then it was a bit of a fuffle to get ourselves back out, actually just go again and keep our cool.  The team did a great job staying relaxed, getting the car ready and making those small adjustments now we've got ourselves some breathing room.”
  • FAST FACTS: Made three qualifying attempts and four runs after his first ever ended abruptly due to a caution for debris as he was about to take the green flag to begin his run… Will be his first oval race and first Indianapolis 500... Competed in 11 road and street course races with Ed Carpenter Racing with a best start of fourth at St. Pete in his debut and a best finish of 11th at Toronto.  He participated in a 2018 pre-season test at the Phoenix International Raceway oval before the season-opener at St. Petersburg but that was his only oval experience. 

NEXT UP: Practice for those in the Fast 9 will take place from 10:15-10:45 a.m. tomorrow and practice for the last row will take place from 10:45-11:15 a.m. All three RLL drivers will participate in the group practice session from 3:15-6:00 p.m. NBC will cover the action from 12-3 p.m. and NBCSN will cover from 3-6 p.m. All times Eastern.  

Tom Beeler

Tom has been a contributor to RIS since 1992, 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.

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Volume 2019, Issue 5, Posted 3:06 PM, 05.19.2019