Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing heads to Laguna Seca this weekend for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey aiming for some more success at the circuit where they won here in 1998 with Bryan Herta whose son, Colton now races in the NTT IndyCar Series.
Graham Rahal says:
“I have always loved going to Laguna Seca. It’s a tremendous race track that suits our cars and a community that supports our series, which we’re all grateful for. It is a spectacular place to go race. Obviously, Monterey County, Carmel and the surrounding areas are a beautiful part of the world. Its always great to go up the Rahal Straight and always great to hear about how much success my dad had there. Obviously, it would be great to have some myself so hopefully we can make that happen.
“Testing (in July) was good but what we found at the Indy GP translated well to Portland and I’m hopeful that it’s going to translate really well as we go into Laguna Seca this time around. Testing is always valid but I think that we’ve been able to find things after testing that will be able to help us a little bit more. We’ll just have to wait and see on Friday.
Takuma Sato commented saying:
Laguna Seca is an iconic road course – not just in North America but in the world. I think everybody knows that Laguna Seca is such a challenging track. It’s a beautiful track with lots of high-speed flowing corners with unbelievable elevation changes where the one corner — the corkscrew — goes downhill with massive elevation change. Virtually we can’t see anything while braking before turning so it’s incredibly challenging. But also, it’s hugely demanding for the technical side too, for the engineering perspective it’s difficult to get the car well balanced through the medium speed, high speed, and low speed areas. We need a good front end, as well as a high stability on the rear too so it gives us heavy braking while cornering. It’s quite challenging, but it’s one of the most beautiful tracks. I’ve only raced there once in the past, and we had a little issue so it didn’t go well – but certainly I enjoyed the race, and of course we missed it in 2020. I’m very much looking forward to getting back to Laguna and the Monterrey area is just a beautiful area. Great wines, great food, and we will have lots and lots of guests come over to enjoy and be part of the racing. I’m sure they will enjoy the weekend. It’s the last road course race for us and it’s going to be a quite-tight field. The team had a successful test in the mid-season, and hopefully that turns out and we will be very competitive. I’m looking forward to being back in the car and get ready for the big one in Laguna Seca.
Oliver Askew in the No.45 Hy-Vee Honda returns for his second race with the team and speaking ahead of this weekend he said:
I had some time to reflect on this past weekend’s event in Portland. I think there are a lot of positives to take away from this weekend. Obviously, it was my first race weekend with Rahal Letterman Lanigan in the Hy-Vee colors. It was a very exciting Saturday for us, qualifying in the top 10 and fighting for the fast six. It was good to have both Graham and I starting in the top 10 there. It was great working with this team, obviously a very experienced group both on the engineering side and with Taku and Graham. I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can from those two over the next two weekends. Unfortunately, the race didn’t pan out the way we wanted. It was my mistake there at the start which ultimately put us on the back foot but I’m looking forward to bouncing back from that this weekend in Laguna. I haven’t driven Laguna Seca in an Indy car, but I have had some experience there in the past both in Indy Lights in 2019, and from the Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship Shootout in 2016. It’s a track that I’ve had success at, and it’s a very enjoyable track to drive. It’s not like many other tracks on the calendar. It can be very low grip with all the dust around it but I absolutely love that area in Monterrey, and I’m looking forward to welcoming a bunch of fans back at the track this weekend. I’m looking forward to another positive weekend with Rahal Letterman Lanigan
Graham Rahal spoke about the addition of Oliver Askew to the team saying:
“I thought Oliver had a great weekend. Being that Takuma had the issues that he had, which is so unfortunate, I thought Oliver did a great job adjusting last weekend. Portland is a tough track. Its not easy to go out and be fast. I thought he did an excellent job.
Speaking about the points race, Rahal said:
We’re seventh in points and have a shot at sixth, which might be our ceiling this year based on the way the point standings look. “I am very proud of that considering the tough go’s that we’ve had. If you look at the Indianapolis (500), Road America and even the bad luck we had at Portland, not finishing St. Louis and what happened at St. Pete (Rossi contact), when our bad, bad races are 10th or 11th place its not bad. We’ve been consistent but just haven’t gotten a win. I thought we were going to get that monkey off our back in Portland but it just didn’t happen but we will keep our heads down. If we can get to sixth, we can be proud. I’m just focused on what we need to do to be at our best