Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing had a strong race in thr Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park on Saturday night.
Starting the race from 13th place on the grid, 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato in the No.30 Mi-Jack Panasonic Honda finished the event in ninth place.
Speaking following the race he said:
It was a frustrating night, to be honest. Yesterday, we almost lost the first session due to a mechanical problem and virtually only got one practice session which put us behind. There was no qualifying, no data and you have to guess the setup. Coming into today, we had an opportunity with a three-stop strategy and we were looking good. We were one of the latest to pit and it was looking good, but the last yellow, the only yellow, basically, blew our strategy. We had an option to go for it like everyone else or try to save fuel and stretch the stint. We tried to stretch the stint, but the car didn’t have enough pace for the fuel and that’s why we lost a position after the restart. We tried and the guys did a good job. Clearly, we need to find speed, but it was a solid night.
Graham Rahal in the No.15 Mi-Jack Honda started the race from seventh and finished the event in tenth place and speaking following the race he said:
If the yellow hadn’t come out, we were sitting beautifully. I think there was only a few of us that were going to be able to actually make it in three stops. We were average, but better than those we were around, but we couldn’t get track position. We couldn’t get track position through strategy and we couldn’t get track position on track by passing, so we were kind of stuck behind Takuma (Sato) and Spencer (Pigot), who we were definitely better than, but there was nothing we could do. Then the yellow came out and really hurt us. We just tried to salvage our strategy and to do that last run that long. The fuel number we had to get was so extreme that I couldn’t keep up with the pack. It’s frustrating.”