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Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Firestone 600 – Texas Motor Speedway

Pre-Race Notes

RESUMPTION of Round 9 of 16 in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series

NEWS & NOTES:

 

DATE:  August 27 – initially scheduled for June 11, 2016

RACE BROADCAST:  Live on Saturday, August 27 at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN

RADIO BROADCAST: The race will air on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209 and www.indycar.com

TRACK LAYOUT: 1.455-mile oval

RACE LENGTH:  Complete the final 177 of 248 total laps / 360.84 miles

2015 WINNER:  Scott Dixon

2015 POLESITTER: Will Power (two-lap average speed of 218.519 mph)

 RAHAL’S BEST OVAL START/FINISH:  Pole at Kansas 2009 / 1st in Fontana 2015 (500 miles)

RAHAL’S BEST TMS START/FINISH: 3rd / 2nd – both in 2012; ninth race here

RAHAL’S POSITION WHEN RACE WAS STOPPED 8-12: 12th

RLL’S TOP START/  ]FINISH AT TMS:  1st by Scott Sharp 2007 / 2nd by Vitor Meira 2005

NEWS & NOTES:

1 POLE, 1 PODIUM, 2 FRONT ROW STARTS IN 13 EVENTS AT TMS FOR RLL RACING

The 2016 Firestone 600 marks the 14th event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at the 1.5-mile, high-banked Texas Motor Speedway oval.  The team’s highest start of pole with Scott Sharp came in 2007 and highest finish of second came in 2005 with Vitor Meira.  The team earned another front row start in 2004 when Buddy Rice qualified second.  Overall the team has earned three top-five finishes and six top-10’s at the track.

Prior to the 2016 event, the team prepared a total of 19 entries for drivers such as Kenny Brack (2003 x2), Buddy Rice (2004 x2; 2005, 2006), Vitor Meira (2004 x2; 2005), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Jay Howard (2011, Schmidt/RLL) and Takuma Sato (2012), James Jakes (2013) and Graham Rahal (2013-2015).  The No. 15 entry for Graham Rahal brings that total to 20 in 2016.

GRAHAM ON THE FORMAT FOR THE CONCLUSION OF THE FIRESTONE 600

Two days of inclement weather forced the postponement of the Firestone 600 from its original date of Saturday, June 11 to Sunday, June 12 and once showers returned after 71 laps were complete on Sunday the race was rescheduled for Saturday, August 27.  A total of 177 laps remain and Rahal will pick up where he left off in 12th place.  After setting the fastest time in the final practice session on Friday night, Rahal started the race from his 13th place qualifying position on Sunday and was in 11th when he made his first pit stop on Lap 35. A full course caution came out on Lap 42 for contact between Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden.  The race remained under caution to clear debris before the red flag came out after 71 laps were complete due to rain with Rahal in 12th place.  Each entrant will have a 10-minute practice session between 4:35-5:00 p.m. CT, there will be a 45-minute autograph session and the field will take the Green Flag at 8:15 p.m. CT.

“I think it will be a pretty tricky race but it’s going to be the same for everybody.  In the big scheme of things, I think it’s going to be tough because you really get no practice. When we go race, the track is going to be pretty green but we just need to go have a good race and gain some good points which is the biggest key to this deal.”

 

GRAHAM ON THE CHALLENGE THE ABBREVIATED FORMAT AT TMS PROVIDES

“Texas is tough simply because it takes a while to get your visual bearings straight. With the bumps and the banking and everything else, it always takes a little time to get your eyes settled there. The way I look at it is the challenge I face is the same as everybody will face and we just have to do a better job of it than the others.”

 

GRAHAM ON OVAL ADVANCEMENTS SINCE THE ORIGINAL TMS RACE DATE

Since the race was rescheduled August 12, the series has raced on two ovals: the Iowa Speedway short oval and 2.5-mile triangular Pocono Raceway oval. In addition, many teams participated in tests at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway before that race but Rahal doesn’t think advancements that have come since the series was at TMS in June will be implemented this weekend due to the compressed schedule.

“We’ve talked a lot about that and at this point we’re going to probably have a similar setup to what we ran before just simply because there is no practice time. If you were to accidentally get the setup and balance wrong, you’re going to find yourself in a world of hurt so we have to be cautious and smart about it so I don’t think we are going to be taking any massive swings at it for sure.”

 

TIGHT POINTS BATTLE FOR THE TOP-10 AT THE HALFWAY POINT

Rahal is currently ranked ninth in series standings with a total of 343 points and is only 41 points behind fifth place Helio Castroneves (384).  Remaining races include the resumption of the Firestone 600 at TMS, the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Glen (Sept. 4) and the double-points paying GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Sept. 18).

 

GRAHAM’S RESULTS AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

In his eight races here, his best start and finish came in 2012 when he qualified third and finished second.  Last year,he qualified sixth and finished 15th.  In 2014, he qualified 21st and finished 12th and in 2013 he qualified 19th and finished 21st after struggling with the handling of his race car. He qualified third in 2012, led 27 laps and looked close to earning what would have been his second series victory but a slight brush of the wall with two laps to go forced him to settle for second place with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR).  He qualified 20th for the first of two heat races in 2011 and finished ninth with SCCGR. He drew the fourth starting spot for Race 2 in 2011 and finished 30th.  He did not compete in Texas in 2010 during his partial season of competition.  He qualified 12th with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) in 2009 but retired in 22nd place after contact. In 2008, he qualified 18th and finished 11th with NHLR.