AUSTIN, TX – The “Big 3” teams in the NTT IndyCar Series are excelling out of the gates in 2019. Between Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport, the three organizations combined to sweep the top five finishing positions in the season opener on the streets of St. Pete.
For practice this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas, they’ve been strong yet again. Take Saturday’s final practice for example, six of the top seven lap times belonged to drivers of these organizations. In the opening practice session on Friday, seven of the top nine were a combination of Penske, Ganassi and Andretti participants. Even in qualifying, they took five of the Fast Six positions and six of the top seven overall.
But, if you’re looking for a team to combat the “Big 3” look no further than Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing. Driver Graham Rahal said he had a great feeling heading into this weekend and that he felt his No. 15 Honda had a shot at the win in Sunday’s IndyCar Classic (1 p.m. ET/NBCSN/IndyCar Radio Network).
So far, he’s backing up those claims.
The top driver not of the “Big 3” teams has been that of Rahal. He was fifth fastest in session one on Friday morning and third on Saturday. He will start 10th for Sunday’s 60 Lap race. Among the nine cars in front of him, seven belong to Penske, Andretti or Ganassi.
His teammate Takuma Sato has been quietly strong too. He was eighth and 13th over the final two practice sessions respectively and will roll off 14th in his No. 30 Honda on Sunday afternoon.
Yes, a Penske, Andretti or Ganassi driver will likely win, but RLL may be there to shock them too.