Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing on Fast Friday…

103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500
NTT IndyCar Series
FAST FRIDAY NOTES/QUOTES – May 17, 2019

FAST FRIDAY PRODUCED MIXED FEELINGS HEADING INTO QUALIFYING WEEKEND

1)         Conor Daly                  231.704 mph                22nd on the No Tow Report
3)         Takuma Sato               230.755 mph                16th on the No Tow Report
22)       Graham Rahal             229.449 mph                6th on the No Tow Report
32)       Jordan King                 228.046 mph                27th on the No Tow Report

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I think it’s hard to know exactly what you’ve got.  Actually today was a good day for our team in the sense that the majority of the laps that we got today were clean (no tow).  So I think we got a good sense of where the United Rentals Honda is, but I don’t really know where a lot of other guys stack up.  I didn’t really see Conor by himself today and I didn’t even really see Takuma by himself so there are a bunch of guys that we don’t know exactly where they stand but tomorrow we will find out.  (On how challenging the cars are to drive this year:) It’s tough, these cars are always tough, but for sure the downforce levels have made them a little bit trickier.  So you’re trimming to an extreme all the time.  It’s difficult on us and difficult on the engineers and everybody to find a little bit of speed.  It’s tough man.  I think for us and the position we’re in, we just need to get into the top 9.”

  • FAST FACTS: 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:  “It (tow vs. no tow times) is obviously irrelevant.  Today a lot of people, it’s not intentional maybe, but they have a big tow and speeds bump up quite a few miles.  You really have to see the no tow speed which in my case is not special at the moment.  I don’t know how much we can do tomorrow, but we need to look at the data for all three cars tonight and see what we have tomorrow.  If it’s a track temperature of over 110 degrees it’s going to be quite tricky.  Now you need to put on some downforce and obviously the balance and how you’re going to manage the tires for four laps are the key and that’s challenging, but I think we will be on the right side. It’s always difficult to say how good the car is because conditions are changing all the time.  At the moment I had a midday track temperature of 117 degrees or above and the car felt sketchy, but no cars were in front of us so it was representative of qualifying.”

  • 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:  “Yeah it’s still a little bit tricky to really say how today was because time of day is a big part of everything.  I’m pretty confident in the car, I feel happy.  We just need to have a bit of a look to see what’s different between all of the cars and maybe go in the direction of the other guys because they seem to have some pace.  Tomorrow is crunch time when people aren’t going to have tows.  It’s not so much that it (the track) changes, or it changes the car behavior.  You do a lap and you’re still flat the whole way around, and you feel like you’ve taken some weight out of the car but you don’t go quicker but the wind has changed direction, or it’s gotten hotter or whatever it is.  And then someone goes really quick and you want to know if they’ve done anything or is it just the track conditions and then you go out and you go slower or faster.  It’s a moving target. (On his approach to his first Indy 500 qualifying:)  I think you have to visualize it.  You get four laps, you don’t get any warm up; you just go straight into it.  So you must be mentally ready and be prepared to just nail everything perfectly.  So yeah, I will definitely take myself into a dark room and talk to myself a little bit on that one.”

  • FAST FACTS: 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 will take place from 8-9:30 a.m. tomorrow and qualifying will begin at 11 a.m. NBC Gold will cover the action from 11-6 and NBC will cover the final hour from 5-6 p.m. All times Eastern.