Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Verizon IndyCar Series
NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, March 29, 2015
RAHAL RAN AS HIGH AS FIFTH IN THE FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG AFTER STARTING 15TH BUT WAS PENALIZED FOR AVOIDABLE CONTACT AND FINISHED 11TH
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The car was really good, I was very pleased with it. I thought we had a car that could have won today. When we got into fifth place after passing Bourdais in Turn 1, Pagenaud in Turn 4 and then Charlie, I had Helio in my sights. I was strong on restarts so I thought I would be able to fight my way up there and catch up to Power. I knew we had reds (alternate tires) to come which in the end proved to be a strong suit. But then we got penalized. Kimball had a broken car and I didn’t know what he was doing. He was so slow off of Turn 9 that I thought he was pulling over and then he accelerates into the kink. He had a broken car and was slow. I went inside of him and then he broke deep. He was cranking in well before the apex so I was trying to bail out and I just tapped him. Sure enough, I dive inside him and he comes over. It’s a shame because the car was good today.”
FAST FACTS: Rahal started 15th and gained three spots on the first lap and ran as high as fifth place midway through the race but was penalized for “avoidable contact” after he made contact while trying to pass the damaged car of Charlie Kimball. He dropped to the back of the field and ultimately finished 11th in the 110 lap race… Made his eighth start at this track today. His best start here is pole in 2009 and best finish is a win in 2008 in his IndyCar Series debut – both history-making moments as the youngest driver to do so… In 2014, the start of qualifying was delayed over three hours after an afternoon storm. Rahal was in Group 1 that ran on a wet track on rain tires. Conditions improved as each of the three rounds took place and teams switched to “slick” tires. Rahal lost control of the car on the slick course and made contact with a tire barrier which brought out a red flag. His two fastest laps were omitted, one of which was sixth fastest and would have allowed him to progress to Round 2 and start in the top-12. On the opening lap, Rahal charged from his 21st place starting spot to 12th and was in 14th when he made his first pit stop. Different pit strategies played out in a race that saw only 10 caution laps of 110 total. In the closing laps of the race, Rahal was 13th but lost a position to Bourdais with two laps to go and finished 14th… Qualified 15th in 2013 for RLL and was in ninth place when the team discovered an electrical issue on Lap 22 under caution that shut the engine off intermittently 6-7 times and dropped him to 21st place. He soldiered on to finish 13th… He qualified 11th in 2012 and finished 12th and qualified 12th in 2011 and finished 17th – both for Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR). He qualified 16th and finished 9th for Sarah Fisher Racing in 2010. While with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, he won pole in 2009 and finished seventh and qualified ninth, led 19 laps and won in his series debut in 2008 at the age of 19 years, 93 days old… His highest series start is pole at St. Pete (2009; street) and Kansas (2009; oval) and his highest finish is a win in St. Pete (2008) in his IndyCar Series debut to make him the youngest winner in series history at 19 years, 93 days old.
NEXT UP: The series will take next weekend off before reconvening for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN beginning at 3:00 PM ET Sunday, April 12.