After months of waiting due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was back to business for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team, partnered by Acronis, and their fellow competitors for IndyCar’s Genesys 300 at the Texas Motor Speedway.
With practice, qualifying and race all bundled into the one day, it was always going to be a tough challenge after such a long absence, but both Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato approached the opening race in confident spirits.
For Rahal, things started well, the American qualifying an encouraging seventh on the grid. But hope soon turned to despair as he was forced to pit during the warm-up laps and couldn’t get going off the grid before two stop and go penalties effectively ended his chances of points.
Very disappointed. Our @fleetcostcare car was fast, but we were doomed from the start. Sadly the car wouldn’t start on the grid, from there we managed to have 2 stop&go penalties, & too much bad luck. However, we did raise a lot of money for #TurnsForTroops & we’re proud of that! pic.twitter.com/glw4NyxSOh
— Graham Rahal (@GrahamRahal) June 7, 2020
For Sato, who had warned of the perils of the tough Texas Motor Speedway prior to the race, it was even more of a disappointment as the Japanese crashed out of qualifying on his warm-up lap, losing the back end of his car before impacting heavily into the barriers.
“It was only the warm-up lap, and I lost the back end immediately I turned in,” Sato told NBC’s Kelly Stavast afterward. “Usually is doesn’t happen that way, so it caught me by surprise. I feel sorry for the boys, obviously.”
.@TakumaSatoRacer was checked and cleared at the @IndyCar medical center at @TXMotorSpeedway.
Here is what he said to NBC’s Kelly Stavast. pic.twitter.com/LWlmD1ibnR
— Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (@RLLracing) June 6, 2020
The race was eventually won by a dominant Scott Dixon, who came home ahead of Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden after Felix Rosenqvist crashed out of contention late in the race.
It allowed Jack Veach to come home fourth, ahead of Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly and Colton Herta as Ryan Hunter-Reay, Oliver Askew and Tony Kanaan rounded out the top ten.
Relive all the action from the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opener, the #Genesys300 at @TXMotorSpeedway in less than five minutes.#INDYCAR pic.twitter.com/vA4ZJYSO9n
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) June 7, 2020