RLL Inching Closer To “Big 3”

There’s no doubt about it, the “Big 3” of the NTT IndyCar Series is still Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport. Combined, the trio has won 27 of the last 34 (79%) races run in Indy Car competition. Furthermore, if you go back to 2015, they’ve won 64 times in 84 tries (76%).

But, they’re starting to get some company up top. While Penske is no doubt pulling away from even the other two in the “Big 3” Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing is starting to inch up closer to third.

Takuma Sato chats in pit lane during the Laguna Seca race weekend in 2019 – INDYCAR Media Site

Penske, has won 15 times since 2018 (the year the new car debuted). That’s more than double than the rest of the field. Andretti Autosport is next best with seven trips to victory lane. Chip Ganassi Racing is tied for third best with five victories.

Since 2015, Penske has won 38 of those 64 times between the “Big 3” while Andretti (13) and Ganassi (13) make up the remaining 26.

But, look who’s lurking right there behind them – RLL.

RLL is tied with Ganassi with three wins since 2018. They’re fourth since 2015 with eight wins, five shy of Ganassi and Andretti. While it’s clear that Penske has separated themselves from everyone else, Andretti is starting to pull clear of Ganassi while RLL is closing up to Ganassi.

RLL has made it clear, their resources and budgets don’t pale to what the “Big 3” has. They’re growing and doing so the right way. They’re hiring the best engineers they can find and keeping continuity between Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato.

Rahal, has been the most consistent of the two in all of these seasons but it’s Sato who’s won the three races. Rahal, hasn’t won since the doubleheader in Belle Isle in 2017. His area to improve has to be turning top 10’s into top fives.

He’s had 23 top 10 finishes over the last 34 races run but just seven of them were in the top five and only two of those seven were on the podium.

For Sato, he’s only had 15 top 10’s finishes in that same time frame, but out of those 15, eight of which were top five finishes and six of those eight were podiums including three trips to victory lane.

If Rahal can turn top 10’s into top fives and podiums and Sato can keep his top fives and podiums going and turn those finishes outside of the top 10 to just solid top 10 days, then RLL will certainly make this a “Big 4.”

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