Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing head home to Mid-Ohio for the July 4 weekend with the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sportscar course presented by HPD Ridgeline aiming for a strong result from their three drivers heading into what is effectively the NTT IndyCar Series summer break due to the Olympic games.

Graham Rahal will at home this weekend in the No.15 Fifth Third Bank Honda and is aiming to build on his fourth-place finish from here last season. Looking ahead to this weekend’s event, Rahal said:

Last year at Mid-Ohio was a double header and we finished fourth both days. We were pretty competitive; it was a toasty weekend and we expect the same this weekend. We weren’t able to get on the podium or the top step which is what we’d like to do at Mid-Ohio. We are excited for the weekend ahead. I feel like after Road America there’s a little frustration within the organization for not performing as well as we should have in the race. So you take that fuel and you add it to this weekend and hopefully we’ll have a really great run.
“The field is tight; the guys up front (in the points) have kind of taken off a little bit so that’s going to be a pretty big hurdle to climb at this stage. When I look around us (in the standings) with Simon, Colton, and a lot of guys like Takuma, who is behind me, there are a lot of guys that are very close that we can certainly get and so our goal is to try to do that. I feel like if we can have a strong weekend this weekend, we should be able to go forward and have really strong races the beginning of next month. I feel good about Nashville and the Indy GP again for the brickyard weekend. I know that we are very competitive there, I know that we can run up front and potentially win that race based on our performance the last time around. This is a big weekend for us points wise, we’ve had a lot of great finishes this year but we need to get over the hurdle and get another podium and get a win. If we can get one win, I think we can get many others. It’s kind of this deal where you’ve got to knock the wall down sometimes. It took us a few years to do it before, and once we did we won five times in only a couple of years.”

Takuma Sato in the No.30 Panasonic MiJack Honda heads to Mid-Ohio this weekend looking for redemption following a 17th and 18th place finish in last years doubleheader here and speaking ahead of the event he commented saying:

This weekend is Mid-Ohio, another great road course in the United States and pretty challenging as well. The racetrack is quite tricky because the track evolution is huge over the day and over the course of the weekend, so we have to be careful about chasing too much on that. To get the balance right, to get good grip is always the challenge at Mid-Ohio. We have good momentum at the moment from the last couple of races so we need to carry that over and we want to carry that even better into this weekend. Particularly since it’s a home race for Rahal Letterman Lanigan as well as having a big Honda plant in Mid-Ohio. Usually, we see lots of employees and families, and the fans generally speaking are very enthusiastic, one of the best road course fans that are very knowledgeable and it’s a great atmosphere. Last year we couldn’t have the fans back, but this year will be extremely exciting. Looking forward to seeing them all, and we will do our best to have a strong weekend

Santino Ferrucci returns to the team this weekend in the No.45 HyVee Honda and is looking to build on what was a career-best start of second place for him here in race two last season and looking ahead to the race this weekend he said:

“I’m super excited to be back in Mid-Ohio. The performance to date with the team has been pretty incredible. Three races and three top 10’s, two races where we were just outside of the top five at the 500 and Detroit Race 1. I’m really looking forward to being back; I really think we can get inside the top 5 and on the podium and possibly win one. I’m thrilled to be back at Mid-Ohio and I can’t wait. My highest start came at Mid-Ohio, actually last year, I started outside the front row and we were fastest in our group in the rain by about 2.5 seconds. I can definitely repeat it — by 2.5 seconds, probably not — but in the dry I’d like to think we can qualify in the Fast Six for sure. I think the car will have the pace.”

This year’s race has been extended by five laps to 80 and speaking about that prospect, Graham Rahal said:

“Last year’s races were 75 laps because of the double header. “A traditional race is longer than that which is what we are going to see this weekend. Strategy wise I don’t see a big change. We will have to sit down and look at it with the guys on our team when the time comes after we see where we start and what we can do. And if we are starting up front, you’re going to follow a pretty normal strategy. Tire wise we are going to have to see how the cars respond this year in the conditions on the track. There has been a lot of running in Ohio with other series over the last couple of days and weeks and so it’s going to be important to see how that works with us. But we are excited and we think we’ll be pretty strong.”

Santino Ferrucci says he is super excited about the 80 lap race this weekend saying:

“I’m super excited that they went back to the 80-lap race this year in Ohio. “It’s a little bit better because you can run a two-stop or three-stop strategy so it just makes people do different things. You can either do fuel savings, or you can run hard and fast. It definitely changes up the grid a little bit and I’m looking forward to it. I don’t think it’s a big deal with endurance since we aren’t doing a double header this weekend, but I definitely think it will make the racing more entertaining.”

Graham Rahal spoke about the fact that this weekend is his home race saying:

“This weekend I’m really excited to see a lot of fans. I anticipate a great crowd. Being the 4th of July is kind of an interesting time to have a race but I hope people look at it as a positive that it’s a great opportunity to come out and have a blast with your family this weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the fireworks going off, and I’m looking forward to going around and seeing the campgrounds on Saturday night. I know there’s no official judging this year but certainly going to go around and see everybody. The one thing I’m looking forward to with Harlan is to take her around the track. She loves golf cart rides which is something we found at Road America. And I did too as a kid so it’s kind of funny. We just put her on our lap and go cruise around. For me, its moments like that where my love for the sport came from, specifically at Mid-Ohio spending time with my family and going on golf cart rides. Guys that worked for the race team would take me out and I’m sure it was boring for them but for me it created memories that have lasted a lifetime and I hope the same for Harlan. On Saturday night to take her out to see everybody and cruise around in the golf cart will be awesome. We’ve always enjoyed Mid-Ohio, Mid-Ohio means a lot to our family and I think this particular weekend even more so.”

Santino Ferrucci concluded by saying how important this weekend’s race is for the team:

“I’ve known for quite a while that Mid-Ohio is a home race for Bobby and the team because every time I go there all you see is Graham Rahal jerseys, old Bobby memorabilia and stuff like that and it’s just really cool. It’s an honor to be driving at their home event in the Hy-Vee colors. Honestly I can’t wait to get going and to encounter some of those fans. I feel like Graham and I are like the great American duo so it’ll be a fun weekend for sure.”

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