Rahal and Sato optimistic of strong showing for final Oval Race of 2019 NTT IndyCar Series Season

Following on from a dramatic race at the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway, the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team and drivers Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal head to the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 for the final Oval Race in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series Season.

After Sato’s frightening crash at Pocono, the Japanese will be hoping to restore some confidence at a circuit where he started sixth in 2017 and finished ninth last year. And after a strong showing at another short Oval circuit in Iowa, Sato is confident of a strong finish to the season.

“I think we have a good car on ovals this year, generally speaking, and in particular that is true on short ovals,” said Sato in his team’s race preview. “Iowa was promising this year. That was the same tendency last year with the exception of St. Louis where we didn’t have the pace. With the 2019 general oval setup, it will hopefully bring us to the next level.

“St. Louis is a great, unique track. Turns 1 and 2 have a lot more banking but Turns 3 and 4 are flatter. I think that if you can make a very good exit from Turns 3 and 4, there are tons of overtaking opportunities going into Turn 1. I really enjoy it. Hopefully we will have a competitive car and have a great shot at the win.”

Teammate Rahal managed to escape the carnage of Pocono to finish a respectable ninth. And after his strongest showing in three starts at the World Wide Technology Raceway in 2018, he is hopeful that strong upwards trajectory can continue in 2019.

“I feel good about how competitive we should be at St. Louis,” added Rahal. “I think we had a lot of potential at Iowa; we were pretty strong and I think there is quite a lot that we can carry over from Iowa to St. Louis. We didn’t test there and some other teams did which might hurt us a little bit but I think we should be able to go there and be pretty strong.

“We will do the best that we can for our sponsors, try to perform well and put a good show on for the fans, and Curtis (Francois) and his staff there that makes it happen. They do a great job.”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.