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Rahal Letterman Lanigan Drivers Feeling Winning Vibes Entering 104th Indianapolis 500

The calendar might show August, but there is a May feeling among the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing drivers in preparation for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, which opens for practice Wednesday, Aug. 12.

“Certainly, there’s not a day that goes by that you don’t think about – or dream about – winning the Indy 500,” Graham Rahal said. “Clearly, winning this year would be slightly different than maybe in other years, but (a win) all means the same.

“We want to go win the thing.”

Rahal will team with 2017 “500” winner Takuma Sato and Spencer Pigot in the three-car effort at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sato said once cars hit the track, the approach of the competitors will the same as in any other year.

“It’s just focus,” Sato said. “You just want to repeat (the winning feeling).

“(You’re) just as hungry as the first one.”

Rahal will drive the No. 15 United Rentals Honda in the race Sunday, Aug. 23 while Sato will be in the No. 30 Panasonic/PeopleReady Honda. Pigot will pilot the No. 45 Honda fielded by RLL with the new Citrone/Buhl Autosport partnership.

Pigot qualified on the front row for last year’s “500” in a car fielded by Ed Carpenter Racing. Sato finished third in the 2019 race, his fourth “500” with RLL. Rahal has a pair of top-five finishes in the annual race, the most recent a fifth in 2015.

Rahal said a combination of factors has him excited about this year’s race, different as it will be. He referenced a recent phone call with crew members after the NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader scheduled for this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.

“I called the engineers, the chief mechanic,” Rahal said. “The response was, ‘Hey, that’s great, now we can spend a little extra time massaging on (the car’s) suspension, now we can spend extra time doing this or that for Indy.’

“I’m proud of that mentality. They’ve kind of taken it in stride. We move on to the next battle.”

That’s Indy. It might be August, but it’s next.

Live NBC coverage of the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge begins at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday, Aug. 23, with the green flag at 2:30 p.m.

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