Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato in the No.30 Fifth/Third Bank Honda secured his best finish of the season in the opening race of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix presented by Lear.
Starting the race from seventh place on the grid, the 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner finished the event in fifth place and speaking following the race, Sato said:
It wasn’t the best day for us, but at least it was a solid result. After last year’s result for the team, obviously we had high expectations, but we struggled a little bit and had a technical issue on the first day and I think we came back really strong. The track is now nicely rubbered down. We can expect to have quite a competitive qualifying tomorrow and hopefully we have a good car.
It was a disappointing race for Graham Rahal in the No.15 United Rentals Honda as although he ran up front all day and was on target to finish the race on the podium until he hit the wall retired from the race.
Speaking following the race, Rahal said:
I’m OK. It was about the worst hit you could take around here. I think the car did its job. Obviously, we were going to finish third, at worst, and it looks like a lot of our competitors are struggling today. I’m disappointed in myself. We’ve got to go back and look at what happened. I just lost it before I even really turned in. I don’t really know what happened. It was shaping up pretty good for the United Rentals team so it’s disappointing. We were the only ones that were bold enough to do it (start with Firestone primary tires), but it put us in a good spot in the race and then we could manage the pace from there. On the red (Firestone alternate tire), it was certainly ugly for me. It was a handful to hang on there, but it was my out lap on the last set there when I lost it and I’m not really sure what happened. It was feeling OK. We just decided to try something different, get off strategy there and it worked. In my head, I had it all played out where I felt like if I could start on blacks, I could hold off others the first few laps so that I could make my way through the guys and it worked out.