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Takuma Sato And Honda Returning to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing For 2020 Season

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Chris Jones/IndyCar Series

MONTEREY, CA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is brining Takuma Sato back for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Season after exercising their option on the veteran driver.

Three of Sato’s five career IndyCar Series victories have come with the team, including the Bommarito 500 at World Wide Technology 500 at Gateway.  Sato also won from pole in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, claimed the pole for the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway and third-place podium finishes at the Indianapolis 500 and Race 1 in Detroit.

“We have been very pleased with the results and level of competition Takuma has shown this season,” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with David Letterman and Mike Lanigan. “His two wins and two poles don’t fully indicate how competitive he has been overall this season and the fact that he was a contender at many other races. He is an integral part of our team which I believe we have shown. This decision allows us to keep the continuity and continue to build upon our program for 2020.”

Sato drove for RLL in 2012 and returned in 2018.  2020 will be Sato’s third consecutive season with the team.

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“I am very happy to continue our path together again after this season,” said Sato, a native of Tokyo, Japan.  “Every single member of the team is extremely loyal and have given me unbelievable support. I truly feel at home here and I am so proud of the team. We have had another great season this year and even had some tough times but it only made our relationship stronger. I can’t thank Bobby, Mike, David and the entire team enough and I am looking forward to finishing the season strong and also looking forward to 2020.”

In addition to retaining Sato for 2020, RLL announced that Honda will continue to power the team in 2020 and beyond with a multi-year deal.  RLL has earned 12 wins, 13 poles and 81 top-five finishes with Honda.

“We are pleased to not only continue what is the longest-standing relationship our team has had but to also continue to strengthen it,” said Rahal. “We appreciate the belief Honda has put in our technical team and organization overall and our mutual respect will enable us to continue to grow as a team. The scope of the offseason projects we have lined up have us looking forward to the 2020 season and beyond as we approach the 30-year anniversary of the program in 2024.”

“We’re excited to continue our long and successful partnership with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” said Ted Klaus, President of Honda Performance Development. “As many fans know, Bobby Rahal and his team were our first partner when Honda entered Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) competition in 1994, joined us when Honda entered the IndyCar Series in 2003, and with driver Buddy Rice recorded our first Indianapolis 500 win in 2004. We look forward to additional success with RLL in the seasons ahead.”

IndyCar

Josef Newgarden quickest in Monday’s Indy 500 Practice

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Penske Entertainment: Matt Fraver

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (May 20, 2024) Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden is atop the speed chart after turning a fast lap of 226.238 mph in Monday’s two-hour Indianapolis 500 practice.

Andretti Global’s Colton Herta turned the second quickest lap on the day with a 226.222 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda.  Herta will start 13th on Sunday.

Front row starter Will Power was third fastest in the No. 12 Verizon Chevy at 226.137.

Pole-sitter Scott McLaughlin managed the 21st fastest lap in the No. 3 Pennzoil Chevy at 224.031.  McLaughlin ran 77-laps as teams focused on race runs.

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Scott Dixon turned the seventh fastest lap in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda to lead Chip Ganassi Racing.  Teammate and reigning series Champion Alex Palou was 19th fastest in the No. 10 DHL Honda.

CGR Rookie Linus Lundqvist was 23rd quick in the No. 8 American Legion Be The One Honda (223.842) followed by fellow CGR rookie Kyffin Simpson in 27th in the No. 4 Journie Rewards Honda (223.337) and Marcus Armstrong in 30th after turning a 222.936 in the No. 11 Ridgeline Honda.

The next and final on-track session is Miller Lite Carb Day practice from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. ET Friday (live, Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network). Live coverage of the race starts at 11 a.m. ET Sunday on NBC, Universo, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Monday Indy 500 Practice

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IndyCar

Scott McLaughlin Wins Pole Position For 108th Indianapolis 500

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Penske Entertainment: Chris Jones

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (May 19, 2024) Scott McLaughlin is on the pole position for the 108th Indianapolis 500 mile race leading a Team Penske sweep of the front row.

McLaughlin’s four-lap average of 234.220 mph in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet is the fastest four-lap average pole speed in the history of the race.

“To execute the way we he have as a team, that’s what’s really cool,” said McLaughlin. “You see the time, and then it’s all about just executing”

Joining McLaughlin on the front row are teammates Will Power and Josef Newgarden giving Penske his first front-row sweep since Rick Mears, Danny Sullivan and Al Unser Sr locked out the front row in 1988.

“Pretty cool to get a front row lockout,” said Power who will start second and also finished second in the Sonsio Grand Prix to start the month of May. “I definitely like second place this year. It’s just every single weekend it’s either second in the race or second in qualifying, so I’ll continue that for the rest of the year.”

Chevrolet-powered drivers swept the top eight spots in the 33-car field for the race Sunday, May 26 as Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi will start fourth followed by teammate and NASCAR Cup Champion Kyle Larson in fifth.

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AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci will start sixth with Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay in seventh and Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward in eighth.

Rounding out the third row is the first Honda driver, Meyer Shank Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist.

Four drivers fought for the final three starting spots with Dale Coyne Racing’s Katherine Legge starting 31 followed by Andretti Global’s Marcus Ericsson, the 2022 Indy 500 winner and Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal will start 33rd after getting bumped last year.

“Last year, it still stings,” said Rahal. “It’s not much better being 33rd. I can tell you that. At least we’re in the field, and we’re going to go racing. I know how much it stings on the flip side.”

Legge’s DCR teammate rookie Nolan Siegel failed to make race after crashing on his second attempt as time expired in the session.

“Yeah, super disappointed, obviously,” said Siegel. “Took a swing at it to try and find a half mile an hour to get to where Graham was at, and we were already on the limit of the trim. So I was going to go home because I went flat and did everything I could do. I wasn’t going to go home because I lifted, so here I am.”

Indy 500 Starting Lineup

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IndyCar

Team Penske and Chevrolet Dominate Day 1 of Indy 500 Qualifying

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Penske Entertainment: Walt Kuhn

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (May 18, 2024) Conspiracy theorists are having a field day after Team Penske swept the Top 3 spots in day one of PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The feat comes one month after the team was caught running illegal software in the warmup prior to the Long Beach Grand Prix.  An INDYCAR investigation determined that software, which allowed the push-to-pass system to be active on starts and restarts, was in use at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding.

Two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion posted the fastest four lap average of 233.758 mph, in the No. 12 Chevrolet.  Ironically, Power was the only Penske driver to not use the advantage in St. Petersburg.

Reigning Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden was second-quick with a four-lap average of 233.332 in the No. 2 Chevy and Scott McLaughlin was third quick in the No. 3 Chevy with a four-lap average of 233.293 mph.  Newgarden and McLaughlin were stripped of their St. Petersburg finishes as a penalty, so Saturday was quite the redemption for the team that has had a cloud hanging over them.

“We got an early draw, which helps,” said Power of the qualifying draw where all three Penske cars went out in the first hour when ambient and track temperatures were cooler.

Chevrolet was the story of Saturday as the brand with the bow tie sweeping nine of the Top 12 spots, which are eligible for Sunday’s Top 12 qualifying runs of which the Top 6 will go for the pole position late in the day in the Firestone Fast 6.

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The fastest Honda-powered entry was Andretti Global’s Kyle Kirkwood who posted a four-lap average of 232.764, good for fifth on the day.

The best Chip Ganassi Racing could muster on Saturday was reigning Series champion Alex Palou who posted a four-lap average of 232.306 in the No. 10 DHL Honda.

Palou’s teammates Marcus Armstrong placed 16th in the No. 11 Ridgeline Honda with a four-lap average of 232.183. Rookie Kyffin Simpson was two spots behind in 18th after posting a 231.948 average.

Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Scott Dixon will start 21st with an average of 231.851 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda and Linus Lundqvist will start 27th in the No. 8 American Legion Be The One Honda with an average of 231.506.

Four drivers failed to make the Top 30 and will fight for the final three spots in the 33-car field in Last Chance Qualifying on Sunday including Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal, who went through the same scenario last year when he failed to make the field on speed but ended up substituting for the injured Stefan Wilson.

Two of Dale Coyne’s cars also failed to make the field on speed including Nolan Siegel and Katherine Legge.

Perhaps the most surprising driver to not make the Top 30 is 2022 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, who is now driving for Andretti Global.

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