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

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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

Team Penske’s Will Power Wins GMR Grand Prix Pole Position

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SPEEDWAY, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Will Power is on the Pole Position for Saturday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES GMR Grand Prix on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Power’s fast lap of 110.1779-seconds (125.116 mph) was good enough to earn the former series Champion the 58th pole position of his career.

“We left nothing on the table in that lap in the Verizon Chevrolet,” said Power. “I knew that (Jack) Harvey had a pretty good time up there, so we put our best set on for the last run, and I just gave it my all. Fortunately, it was enough.”

Power’s pole win spoiled a terrific lap by Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey (1:10.3653/124.783), who will start second in the SiriusXM/AutoNation Honda.

“I thought we were pretty good in practice one,” said Harvey.  “Everybody at Meyer Shank Racing has been working their butt’s off to give us a really good car.  The car clearly was really good to be on the front row, which we haven’t done before.  We’re just really happy and hopefully will have a great race.”

Colton Herta will start in the third position after a fast-lap of 110.5197-seconds.

Graham Rahal will line up fourth in the No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda, his best qualifying effort in the GMR Grand Prix.

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“The Fifth Third Bank car feels strong,” said Rahal.  “We know we race better than we qualify so it’s a good start for us.  We certainly didn’t have Will’s (Power) speed.  We’ll take fourth and go race from there.”

Arrow McLaren SP rookie Oliver Askew will start fifth after a fast lap of 110.8404-seconds (123.946).

“We made some really good changes after the morning practice,” said Askew, the 2019 IndyLight’s Champion.  “It was just flawless.  I felt at one with the car and those are some really good feelings.”

Starting positions six through ten include two series Champions and a surprise or two.

Defending and two-time series Champion Josef Newgarden will start sixth after a tough start to his fast lap on the Firestone Red (Alternate) tires.

“I came out of the pits and just had a huge lock-up to start the lap going into the first corner,” said Newgarden.  “It just kind of snuck up on me.  It hadn’t done that all day.”

GMR Grand Prix Qualifying

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Fifth Third Bank Extends Partnership with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

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BROWNSBURG, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Fifth Third Bank is extending their partnership with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing through the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.

Fifth Third Bank will be the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s No. 15 Honda at the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Race 2 of the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America and the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  Fifth Third will also have an enhanced associate sponsor presence in key markets where the INDYCAR SERIES races including Indianapolis, Monterey California and St. Petersburg Florida.

“When this relationship began, I already had the utmost respect for Fifth Third Bank as a company,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal.  “As each year progresses, we continue to be inspired not only by how they conduct their business but also how they support the communities in which they service.  Fifth Third Bank is able to uniquely leverage the partnership with RLL to enhance their commercial banking position with clients across the INDYCAR paddock.”

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Fifth Third Bank first joined RLL in 2016 as an associate sponsor and the partnership has grown as the two organizations have continued to build up and pursue new collaborative business-to-business opportunities.

“Motorsports is such a vital part of the Indianapolis culture and as a corporate citizen Fifth Third Bank believes greatly in supporting the sport at the very heart of our state,” said Kevin Hipskind, Fifth Third Bank Regional President.  “Our partnership with the elite Rahal Letterman Lanigan team continues to create even more opportunity for long-term community impact and meaningful business relationships for the Bank.  We look forward to three more heart-racing years of collaboration and an exciting NTT INDYCAR SERIES ahead.”

The 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES resumes on Saturday July 4th with the GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.  The event is part of a historic INDYCAR/NASCAR tripleheader at the Brickyard.

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Citrone/Buhl Autosport with RLL Getting Ready For Debut At GMR Grand Prix At Indy

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BROWNSBURG, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Citrone/Buhl Autosport with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) is getting ready for their debut at the GMR Grand Prix, July 4th on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back in an INDYCAR at the GMR Grand Prix,” said Spencer Pigot, driver of the No. 45 Citrone/Buhl Autosport with RLL Honda.  “It’s obviously been a very different season this year so it’s exciting that we’re finally getting back to racing at IMS.”

The team announced on Tuesday that Shield Cleansers will server as the co-primary sponsor along with Mi-Jack.  Shield Cleansers is a new product line for RLL team partner Digital Ally, a company that develops, manufactures and markets advanced video recording and other critical safety products for law enforcement, emergency management, fleet safety and security.

“We’re thrilled to not only continue, but expand our relationship with RLL,” said Stan Ross, CEO of Digital Ally.  “We can think of no better opportunity to spread the word about our highly effective, less harsh, cleanser line.”

Shield Cleansers, which launched earlier this month, includes a disinfectant/sanitizer that is less harsh than many of the traditional products now widely distributed.

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Hypochlorous Acid (HOCI) is the active ingredient of Shield Cleansers.  HOCI falls under EPA category IV, which is the safest of the EPA’s toxicity categories.  While highly effective as a disinfectant and sanitizer, cleaning crews are not required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when applying and reapplying HOCI.

Also featured on the No. 45 car is EMBRACE Pittsburgh, which you may remember seeing on the virtual No. 45 Honda during the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. EMBRACE Pittsburgh is a powerful movement conceived and driven by Citrone 33 with the goal of championing mental strength throughout the Pittsburgh region.  Program resources include many “skills and drills” focused on learning to reduce daily stress, and to be mindful, empathetic, and accepting of yourself and others.

This will be the second race of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season but it will be the first road course race.  Pigot’s best finish on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course was fifth with Ed Carpenter Racing in 2019.

“Originally the first race for us was going to be about half-way through the season but with the schedule changes it’s going to be the first road course race of the year,” said Pigot.  “I think that will be an advantage for us as everyone will be on more of a level playing field.  We have a great group so the plan is to hit the ground running and be competitive right away.”

The GMR Grand Prix takes place Saturday, July 4 and will be televised live by NBC with race coverage beginning at 12 p.m. ET.  The event is part of the historic INDYCAR/NASCAR Doubleheader.

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