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What they’re saying: Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato

Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal
Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal. Photo provided by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing drivers Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato talk about Mid-Ohio doubleheader

With just five races left in the NTT IndyCar Series, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato discuss this weekend’s doubleheader. The track is near RLL Racing’s home in Hilliard, Ohio shop.

On being on the brink of a road course win this year

“I’m excited to get back home. It’s going to be very physical. I think everybody expects that it’s going to be a tough weekend for all of us but I feel good about my physical condition. I am excited to continue on down this path and get back to racing. Clearly having a doubleheader at home is always going to be fun for me. I’m looking forward to that challenge. I think INDYCAR is doing a great job to get these races in. From our standpoint, we’ve got to do the best that we can for all of our partners. We’re going to run the United Rentals car on Saturday and switch over night to the Fifth Third Bank car and hope we can get a good result in both races for them.”

“We have been competitive pretty much everywhere with the exception of the short ovals, where we struggled. I’m pleased with what I’ve seen on road courses. I think the guys have done an amazing job but we’ve just got to keep our heads down and keep pushing to try to improve a little bit further. We were competitive at the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis and at Road America. We didn’t maximize that but I feel like there is a lot of positive thoughts and beliefs to carry forward. We know that we can right in the hunt at Mid-Ohio so I fully anticipate us doing that. From a strategy point, 75 laps is probably going to be a two-stop race, no problem. It is going to be still physically tiring. The pit stops are going to be critical obviously as will not putting a wheel wrong on track. Typically, the weather is hot and steamy this time of year which does breed more and more mistakes.”

On being seventh in the points standings

“We’ve got some opportunities ahead of us with five races on tracks we should be good at. We feel like we’ve been better than a lot of the guys ahead of us or around us in points and we’re going to try to make this our best season yet.”

On the Mid-Ohio Road Course

“A doubleheader at Mid-Ohio will be more physical than (having a doubleheader at) Road America for sure. Mid-Ohio doesn’t have several long straights like Road America and has constantly continuous corners with a relatively short lap so it’s difficult to get any rest during a lap. However, I think the doubleheader is a good thing for the sport for this season under the circumstances. It’s certainly more challenging for a doubleheader weekend because naturally you lose a session for practice and it becomes a very compressed time schedule so engineers won’t have a enough time to analyze the data.”

On carrying momentum into the final five races

“The track’s characteristics are different (than the other road courses) but we believe we can carry good knowledge from the road course races at Indianapolis and Road America. (On lap reduction from 90 to 75:) It will affect the strategy for sure. We have to make sure everyone is healthy, strong and focused but other than that it will be the same as a usual race weekend.”

On being fourth in the standings

“We just try hard to have a strong race for each weekend and produce a best possible result. It’s extremely important to have strong finishes for the standings. Mathematically I think it’s (championship) still possible but I think Scott (Dixon) is on the way to win. Still we achieved a big win at Indy and another podium at St. Louis and want to end the season strong. We’re doing everything we can.”

Information provided by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato 

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