Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma – Sonoma Raceway
Verizon IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, September 18, 2016
RAHAL FINISHED SECOND IN THE GOPRO GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA INDYCAR SEASON FINALE AND FIFTH IN SERIES STANDINGS
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “For Steak ‘n Shake, United Rentals, Hyatt, PennGrade, all our other sponsors, and especially everyone we had here this weekend supporting us, it was a great way to finish the season. That means a lot. They have been supportive through thick and thin and they came out to support us today. It was also cool to have Sergeant Rose with us. He is paralyzed and he stood for the national anthem with us which was pretty awesome. We would have liked to get another win but we were struggling with the rear (of the car). Overall we had our ups and downs (this season) but I’m really proud of this team and proud to be the top Honda once again. We led the charge for them the last couple of years and they did a great job. I wanted to get (Simon) Pagenaud for the win but when I would get close, my car would get massively loose. I thought at one point that it was just best that I salvage a second place than do something stupid. We’re a one car team and obviously today we were fighting with the big boys — with Penske — who is the standard. To run like we did means a lot. It feels great to go into the off-season like this. Once again we proved that with the quality of the people we have in this organization, keeping their heads down and working hard puts us in the position to fight for wins. I’m proud and honored to work with these guys. We will be better next year.”
- FAST FACTS:Rahal started the race fifth and held the position until his first stop on Lap 15. He returned to the track in sixth place. Once he passed Daly, who had yet to stop, on Lap 16 he returned to fifth place. Third place Castroneves, who was on a four stop strategy to Rahal’s three-stop one, pitted on Lap 29 and he moved into fourth. Championship contender Will Power, who had previously been second, had gear issues after Lap 30 and Rahal moved to third before his second stop under caution for Power on Lap 36. He returned to the track in fourth place behind Kimball, who was on a four stop strategy. On Lap 42, he passed Kimball for third and moved into second on Lap 50 when Castroneves pitted. He took the lead on Lap 61 when Pagenaud pitted before he went one lap longer and made his final stop on Lap 62. He returned to the track in third place but reclaimed second once Castroneves pitted on Lap 69. He closed to one second on leader Pagenaud for much of the time but the rear of his race car was loose when he got too close and he was unable to make a pass. He took the checkered flag in second place in his ninth Indy car race here and moved to a fifth place rank in series standings. His earned his best start here of fifth place and best finish of second in 2016. His previous best start was sixth place with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) in 2009 and RLL in 2015 and best finish is fifth with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR) in 2012. He has finished in the top-10 in four of his eight races… In 2015, he started sixth and struggled with the handling of the rear of the race car for the majority of the race and the field also dealt with tire management. He was in sixth place with 9 laps to go when Sebastien Bourdais hit him from behind and he dropped to 19th. Bourdais was penalized for “avoidable contact” and had to serve a drive through but the incident dropped Rahal from a third-place series standing to fourth and he finished the race in 18th place… In 2014, he avoided a multi-car collision on the start in Sonoma and moved from his 14th place qualifying position to 12th. He pit out of sequence on Lap 8 and climbed up to run fourth before his second stop where he pit under caution with Sato and Conway, but those two topped off two additional times before green conditions which helped them later. Rahal climbed back into fourth when the majority of the field pitted during a caution for Saavedra and later passed Briscoe, Kanaan and Conway to take the lead on Lap 64 of 85 which he held until Lap 81 when he had to pit for 2.2 gallons of fuel. Due to extreme fuel conservation, the fuel setting he had been running in didn’t have Pit Lane Speed control and he was given a drive through penalty for speeding when he entered the pits for his splash of fuel and served it on Lap 84 of 85 which ultimately resulted in a 20th place finish… Rahal qualified eighth in 2013, ran as high as sixth but contact while in the middle of a three-wide situation dropped him to the back and he rallied to finish 11th… He qualified 15th for SCCGR in 2012, started 13th after grid penalties were served and finished fifth… He qualified 13th for SCCGR in 2011 and finished eighth. In 2010, he qualified 16th with NHR and finished 9th. Made the final Firestone Fast Six in qualifying six times in the seven road/street races in 2009 and started sixth in Sonoma for NHLR. Contact on the opening lap with Marco Andretti forced an early stop for a new front wing but his drive shaft broke when he attempted to leave the pits. After the car was repaired in the garage area, he returned to the track many laps down in 21st position and ultimately retired in the same place after completing 30 of the 75 laps… He started 15th and finished 8th here in 2008 with NHLR… His top finish overall this season is a win at Texas Motor Speedway (oval) and his top road/street course finishes are second place at Barber Motorsports Park and Sonoma Raceway. His top start is fifth (Sonoma 2016). He also qualified third for the Indy GP but his car was disqualified for being a few pounds underweight… He ended the season fifth in series standings with a total of 484 points.
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT SONOMA … The race marked the ninth Indy car event for RLL here. The highest start for the team is FIFTH (2016) by Graham Rahal, who also matched the team’s best finish here of second place by Buddy Rice in 2005.