Archives for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing PR

Graham Rahal Qualified Sixth for the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America

Rahal Letterman Lanigan KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America Verizon IndyCar Series QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – June 24, 2017 RAHAL QUALIFIED SIXTH FOR THE KOHLER GRAND PRIX AT ROAD AMERICA 1)         Helio Castroneves    1:41.3007 / 142.649 mph       (Group 2, Round 3; set on alternate tires) 6)         Graham Rahal           1:45.0464 / 137.562 mph       (Group 1, Round 3;…

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Rahal Set the Eighth Fastest Time in Practice for the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America Verizon IndyCar Series PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES – June 23, 2017 RAHAL SET THE EIGHTH FASTEST TIME IN PRACTICE FOR THE KOHLER GRAND PRIX 1) Josef Newgarden 1:42.8229 / 140.537 mph 8) Graham Rahal 1:43.7540 / 139.276 mph GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 GEHL / D-A Lubricant Dallara/Honda/Firestone:…

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Rahal Returns to Road America for the KOHLER Grand Prix in Search of His Third Consecutive Podium Here

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Pre-Race Notes KOHLER Grand Prix – Road America Round 10 of 17 in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series DATE: June 23–25, 2017 PRACTICE BROADCASTS: Live on Friday, June 23 at 11:45 a.m. ET and 4:15 p.m. ET on Indycar.com, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. And also live at 12 p.m. ET on…

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RAHAL QUALIFIED 11TH FOR SATURDAY NIGHT’S RAINGUARD WATER SEALERS 600 AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Rainguard Water Sealers 600 – Texas Motor Speedway Verizon IndyCar Series QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, June 9, 2017 RAHAL QUALIFIED 11TH FOR SATURDAY NIGHT’S RAINGUARD WATER SEALERS 600 AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY   POLE: Charlie Kimball  2-lap avg. speed of 222.556 mph           (L1: 222.364, L2: 222.747 mph) 11th:     Graham Rahal   2-lap…

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Rahal Returns to Texas Aiming for Repeat of 2016 Win Here and a Third Straight IndyCar Series Victory

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rainguard Water Sealers 600 – Texas Motor Speedway
Pre-Race Notes
Round 9 of 17 in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series

DATE:  June 9-10, 2017

PRACTICE BROADCASTS:  Live Friday, June 9 at 11 AM ET and 6:45 PM ET on Indycar.com, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

QUALIFYING BROADCAST: Live on NBCSN on June 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET and live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network (AAPIRN), the INDYCAR 17 app and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis).

RACE BROADCAST: Live on Saturday, June 10 at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN

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

TRACK LAYOUT:  1.455-mile oval

RACE LENGTH: 248 laps / 360.84 miles

2016 WINNER: Graham Rahal

2016 POLESITTER:  Carlos Munoz (2-lap average speed of 217.137 mph)

RAHAL’S BEST OVAL START/FINISH: Pole at Kansas 2009 / 1st in Fontana 2015 (500 miles), 1st in Texas 2016 

RAHAL’S BEST TMS START/FINISH: 3rd in 2012 / 1st in 2016; will be his 10th race here

RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES START/FINISH:  Pole at St. Pete (street) 2009, Kansas (oval) 2009, Detroit (street) 2017 / 1st in St. Pete in 2008, Fontana (oval; 500 miles) 2015, Mid-Ohio (road) 2015, Texas (oval) 2016; Detroit Race 1 (street) 2017, Detroit Race 2 (street) 2017

RLLR’S TOP START/ FINISH AT TMS: 1st by Scott Sharp 2007 / 1st by Graham Rahal 2016

NEWS & NOTES:

TEAM RETURNS TO TMS TO DEFEND 2016 HISTORY-MAKING WIN

The 2017 Rainguard Water Sealers 600 will mark the 15th event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR) 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 first came in 2016 with Graham Rahal.  The team earned another front row start in 2004 when Buddy Rice qualified second.  Overall the team has earned four top-five finishes and seven top-10’s at the track.

Prior to the 2017 event, the team prepared a total of 20 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) Takuma Sato (2012), James Jakes (2013) and Graham Rahal (2013-2016).  The No. 15 entry for Graham Rahal will bring that total to 21 in 2017.

GRAHAM ON MOMENTUM AFTER DOUBLE WINS IN DETROIT

After winning both races in Detroit, Rahal became the first repeat winner of the 2017 IndyCar Series season after eight of 17 races.  His wins Saturday from pole and Sunday from third place were done in dominant fashion after he led 96 of 140 total laps.  He scored all but one point of the maximum offered in Detroit to catapult him from his 15th place rank entering the weekend to sixth with a total of 251, only 52 behind leader Scott Dixon (303).

“It’s great to head to Texas not only as defending race winner, but also after a great weekend in Detroit. Those wins put us back in the championship fight and we want to continue the momentum obviously.  I’m excited about Texas.  We had a good test there in April so hopefully we can get another victory there and keep this string going. I think it’s going to be a crazy race.  Honda has been working hard and it shows.  We hope to put them in Victory Lane again.”

 

GRAHAM ON HIS RECOLLECTION OF THE HISTORY-MAKING WIN, ONE YEAR LATER

The originally scheduled June 11, and then June 12 Firestone 600 was postponed to August 27 due to rain. Once the race resumed, Rahal emerged victorious with a dramatic, last lap pass to win in the closest finish in TMS history — a scant 0.0080-seconds ahead of James Hinchcliffe.

“It was a good day obviously and a very, very competitive race. It was also challenging.  As much as went for us, went against us and there were a lot of things we had to battle through but overall it was a very special day.  To get a win and cap what was somewhat of a difficult season off that way felt great.  Those are some special memories for me.  My grandmother passed away that day so there was a lot going through my mind afterward.  I didn’t know it at the time.  Texas Motor Speedway is an exciting place. I’m looking forward to going back and hopefully getting another victory.

“There was a lot going on the last lap.  I was fighting and battling with Hinch (Hinchcliffe). I felt like my best move was that I needed to complete the pass on the bottom –I didn’t think that I would be able to go up top and get it done.  Fortunately the seas kind of parted on the back straightaway and I was able to cut to the bottom, get a good clean run and get by him. As you can see on the videos, he certainly closed up a lot on the back straight and made it close but fortunately we made it across the line first.”

GRAHAM’S OVERALL RESULTS AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

In his nine races here, his best start came in 2012 of third and best finish is his win in 2016.  The June 11, 2016 race was postponed until June 12due to rain which again postponed the race to August 27 after the field complete 71 of 248 scheduled laps before rain came again.  Rahal had qualified 13th for the race and was in 12th when it was halted.  On August 27, he restarted on Lap 72 and quickly moved to sixth place. He maintained a top-five position the majority of the time except after pitting and never was lower than eighth.  He ran second many times and only led once – the final lap – and won by a margin of victory of 0.0080-of a second in what is the fifth-closest finish in Indy car history and the closest finish at Texas Motor Speedway. In 2015, 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.

COMMEMORATIVE RAHAL BOBBLEHEAD AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

The first 20,000 fans attending the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 at TMS on Saturday, June 10 will receive a limited-edition bobblehead in Rahal’s likeness to commemorate his history-making 2016 win.  There is also a life-sized version that will be included in a display that TMS will showcase year round.  Bobbleheads of former RLLR driver Danica Patrick and fellow NASCAR star Kevin Harvick are also part of the 2017 TMS bobblehead series. Rahal is excited to share this experience with fans.

“I’m pretty geeked; it’s pretty cool. I’m thankful to Eddie (Gossage), Ziz (Mike Zizzo) and everybody at TMS for making it happen for me. It’s a pretty cool opportunity. I will enjoy it while I can and certainly get a lot of ‘you know what’ from my wife and family but I’m going to enjoy it, that’s for sure.”

DOUBLEHEADER WINS CATAPULTED RAHAL INTO POINTS BATTLE NEAR HALFWAY POINT

After racking up all but one point over the two-race-weekend in Detroit, Rahal catapulted from a pre-Detroit point standing of 15th place to sixth heading into Round 9 of 17 at Texas Motor Speedway.  He has a total of 251 points and trails leader Scott Dixon by 52 (303), second place Helio Castroneves by 44 (295), third place Takuma Sato by 41 (292), fourth place Simon Pagenaud by 27 (278), and fifth place Josef Newgarden by eight (259).

CHANGES AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

The 2017 race will mark the first at the track since it was repaved in the offseason and re-profiled in Turns 1 and 2 from 24 degrees of banking to 20 degrees.  Turns 3 and 4 remain banked at 24-degrees.

Sports Business Veteran Tom Knox Joins RLLR as Senior VP of Sales and Marketing

VETERAN TOM KNOX JOINS RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AS SENIOR VP OF SALES AND MARKETING

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (June 7, 2017) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR) announced today that respected sports business executive Tom Knox has joined the team as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Most recently Knox was Senior Vice President of Business Development for leading motorsports agency CSM Sport & Entertainment.  CSM was previously known as Just Marketing International (JMI).

“For us this is a major move to create a successful in-house sales and marketing program.” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with former Late Show host David Letterman and businessman Mike Lanigan. “Tom’s involvement with motorsports, from the highest levels on the sales and marketing side, is well known and we are thrilled to welcome him to our team.  There is no doubt in my mind that going forward our ability to attract more and more companies to our racing programs will be enhanced.”

At JMI, Knox focused on growth in the world’s preeminent motorsports arenas including F1, NASCAR, IndyCar, IMSA, NHRA, and MotoGP.  In addition, he consulted on strategic business development approaches for clients as well as consulted on a variety of programs. Tom also helped shape the company’s strategic business development initiatives.

“I am excited to be joining a championship caliber team in Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” added Tom Knox. “Bobby, David and Michael are proven winners who are committed to winning both on and off the track.  I look forward to building successful programs for the existing and future partners at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.”

About Tom Knox

Prior to joining JMI in April 2016, Knox spent eight years at WME-IMG as Vice President, Business Development where he developed new client and partner relationships for IMG’s North American premier portfolio of assets. This portfolio included the world’s leading clients and events in golf, tennis, college sports, motorsports, fashion, and entertainment, along with consulting, licensing, and the IMG Academy.  Before WME-IMG, Tom accumulated over 10 years of experience in the sports marketing world through various roles in the NASCAR industry. He worked with Richard Childress Racing (RCR), where he helped form marketing partnerships with Royal Dutch Shell, IHG’s Holiday Inn, AutoZone, U.S. Coast Guard, General Mills, and Emerson Climate Technologies. Before RCR, Tom was Vice President of Marketing for Rusty Wallace, Inc. (RWI), the NASCAR racing and marketing team operated by 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and television commentator, Rusty Wallace. At RWI, Tom secured multi-million dollar corporate partnerships with brands including Callaway Golf, Duraflame, Nikon Sport Optics, and Amtrak.

CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX DOUBLEHEADERS – RACE 2 NOTES/QUOTES – June 4, 2017

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Verizon IndyCar Series RACE 2 NOTES/QUOTES – June 4, 2017   RAHAL DOMINATED WITH BACK-TO-BACK WINS AT THE CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX DOUBLEHEADERS; A PIT PENALTY LIMITED SERVIA TO 19TH PLACE GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 SoldierStrong / TurnsforTroops.com Dallara/Honda/Firestone:   “Buckeyes like to win in this state. It…

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DETROIT RACE 1 NOTES/QUOTES – June 3, 2017

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix

Verizon IndyCar Series

RACE 1 NOTES/QUOTES – June 3, 2017

RAHAL WON HIS FIRST RACE FROM POLE IN DOMINATING FASHION IN RACE 1 OF THE CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX DOUBLEHEADERS; SERVIA RAN AS HIGH AS EIGHTH BUT A PIT PENALTY LIMITED HIM TO 20TH

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 SoldierStrong / TurnsforTroops.com Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I’m very fortunate for the team around me. The guys did a tremendous job. For United Rentals, SoldierStrong and Turns For Troops, we raised a lot more money and hopefully we sold some T-shirts today. We’re looking forward to tomorrow. First of all, I got to say thanks to my boys. The guys did a great job in the pits. You know, Eddie, Martin, Mike, Tom, all the engineers, Alex, all the guys that came up with this setup. As I said yesterday, we rolled off the truck and it was right there. So I’m definitely pleased with that because we changed one thing this weekend. That doesn’t normally happen. That’s why I felt like I just didn’t want to mess up today. Actually, I’ll be honest, I didn’t sleep great last night because I knew that I was good enough for the first time in a long time, that the car, myself, everything was good enough here to legitimately be on pole, and to set the tone here. That doesn’t happen all the time. You know, for us, it doesn’t happen that often. In fact, I can be honest and say I don’t know that I’ve ever felt that confident in my entire career going into a race day as we did today. I just felt like, you know, if everything went well, that we were going to be very hard to beat. And that proved to be true today. You know, I just didn’t want to mess up. I tried the entire race, Just give yourself a gap. I never pushed a single lap to 100% on purpose. I just wanted to keep my margins, you know, just hit my marks. The first, you know, 55 laps went quick. The last 15 seemed to take a decade. But, you know, it was a lot of fun out there.  We were firing on all cylinders today. We were able to match whatever pace we needed to. We were able to run some blistering fast times while saving a ton of fuel. So thanks to Honda for that. I could certainly do the number that I needed to. It’s been a good place to me in the past. Today we were very fortunate, you know, that the yellows weren’t poorly timed or anything like that. We were able to stay out front, to build the gap that we needed to, and obviously run hard. It seems like we’re in a pretty good spot going into tomorrow. You would think that’s obvious after having just been on the front row and been on pole. Been on the front row no matter what, but winning the race. It’s not as obvious as you think. Tomorrowmorning we’ll go out there, I can guarantee, being cooler temperatures, the potential of rain, everything else, it’s going to be a whole new day. Hopefully it’s ours again.”

FAST FACTS: Rahal led a dominating 55 of 70 laps en route to his fifth series victory and first from pole in Race 1 of the Detroit Grand Prix.  Earlier in the day he earned his third series pole and first since Kansas 2009. He handily held the lead with the exception of pit cycles and built a gap of more than 13 seconds at one point before he ultimately won by a six-second margin over Scott Dixon… The event was Rahal’s 11th here. In his previous 10 races here, his best finishes have come in 2014 with second place in Dual 1 and third place in Dual 2 in 2015.  Last year he finished fourth in Dual 1 and started seventh in Dual 2.  He was on track for the pace laps when an issue with his brakes surfaced so he pitted and the team checked the car. As the field took the green, a multi-car accident happened and the caution flag came out.  Rahal was sent back on track and stayed out until the pits opened then returned to the pits so the team could bleed the brakes. He returned to the track after the issue was fixed and had to catch up to the field but was able to stay on the lead lap due to the caution. Alternate strategy played out until he was running fifth as others cycled through their final stops. The team called him into the pits but before he could get to the entry, a caution flag was brought out on Lap 50/70 for Hawksworth’s crash and the pits were closed thus negating him to take advantage of the strategy that had worked out thus far.  Only four cars had yet to pit, including Rahal who was now third behind Bourdais and Kimball. He held the position through the restart and went on to take the lead on Lap 59/70 before he pitted for a splash of fuel only and ultimately finished 11th.

ORIOL SERVIA, No. 16 Fifth Third Bank Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We were running our race.  Starting last, we did what we had to do which was try to do the opposite of what most people were doing in terms of pitting.  We knew we had a good pace and it was working out except the driver pushed the pit speed button twice so it engaged and disengaged. And I didn’t realize that so once I pushed the throttle it went over the speed. Then I got the drive through penalty for speeding. It is what it is. At least the team got a win, and a dominant one at that.  I’m very happy for the whole team and Graham especially.  A win like this brings the morale up for the rest of the season and shows the pace and speed of the car and all of the work done.  I hope that I can at least be with him on the podium tomorrow and bring Fifth Third Bank a good result.”

FAST FACTS: Servia started the race in 22nd place and used a quick pace and alternate pit strategy to work his way into the top-10. After pitting from eighth place he served a pit speed penalty that dropped him to the back and he ultimately finished 20th… Today’s race was Servia’s fifth Indy car start here and his return to the track for the first time since 2012.  In four Indy Car races, his best start is third in 2008 with KVRT and best finish is third in 2000 with PPI, which was his first career podium finish.  In four Indy car starts, he has a third (2000, PPI), fourth (2008, KVRT), fifth (2012, Panther/DRR) and sixth (2001, Sigma) place finish. He also competed in two Indy Lights races here in 1998 and 1999 for Dorricott Racing where his best start – pole — and best finish of second place came in 1999.

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT DETROIT … Today Graham Rahal brought the team its highest start here of pole in their 18th year of competition at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.  It was the team’s 22nd race here. The team’s previous highest start of second place came in the inaugural running on Belle Isle in 1992 by Bobby Rahal and in 2013 by James Jakes in Dual 2. Bobby Rahal also brought the team a win in 1992, Jakes added a third podium for the team in 2013 with his second place finish and Graham Rahal added a fourth and fifth podium with his second place finish in Dual 1 in 2014 and third place finish in Dual 2 in 2015. In total, the team has earned six podiums (2nd – G. Rahal 2014, Jakes 2013 & Max Papis 2000), (3rd – G. Rahal 2015) eight top-five finishes and 16 top-10’s here (chart available).

NEXT UP:  Qualifying for Dual 2 will take place tomorrow from 10:45-11:15 a.m. ET and the 70 lap Dual 2 will take the Green Flag at 3:50 PM.  Timing and Scoring information and live streaming video is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com and includes live commentary by the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. The Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit Dual 2 will be televised live on ABC beginning at 3:30 PM ET Sunday, June 4.

 

Rahal was Second Fastest Overall in Practice for the Detroit Grand Prix Doubleheaders; Servia 15th in Return to the Track Since 2015

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix

Verizon IndyCar Series

PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES – June 2, 2017

 

 

RAHAL WAS SECOND FASTEST OVERALL IN PRACTICE FOR THE CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX DOUBLEHEADERS; SERVIA 15TH IN RETURN TO THE TRACK SINCE 2012

 

1)         Helio Castroneves    1:15.1511 / 112.573 mph      

2)         Graham Rahal           1:15.3328 / 112.302 mph       (1st in Practice 1)

15)       Oriol Servia               1:16.1488 / 111.098 mph       (11th in Practice 2)

 

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 SoldierStrong / TurnsforTroops.com Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “First of all, it’s great to be back here. We appreciate everything Roger (Penske) has done here in the city to put this on. Certainly they made some improvements on the track, on the straightaways, which is nice. It’s been a track that’s been good to me in the past. I had a couple podiums here and finished fourth last year in Race 1. Overall, it’s been a place I’ve had some success, which is nice. Obviously today started off on the right foot and the United Rentals car seems to be very strong, very competitive right off the trailer this morning. In the first session, we didn’t even change anything. There was no reason to. Definitely as the track heated up in the afternoon, it got slippery for me. I’m sure everybody will say the same. In fact, on my fastest lap, I was pretty much turning right — supposed to be turning right into Turn 11, but I was looking at the left-hand side wall. I know we had a couple more tenths in it. It’s going to be tricky out there. It’s bumpy. It’s going to beat us up pretty good. We’ll just have to go out there tomorrow and test it. Hopefully the car will be nice and reliable, we’ll get to the end and have a good day.”

 

FAST FACTS: The event will mark Rahal’s 11th and 12th races here. In his previous 10 races here, his best finishes have come in 2014 with second place in Dual 1 and third place in Dual 2 in 2015.  Last year he finished fourth in Dual 1 and started seventh in Dual 2.  He was on track for the pace laps when an issue with his brakes surfaced so he pitted and the team checked the car. As the field took the green, a multi-car accident happened and the caution flag came out.  Rahal was sent back on track and stayed out until the pits opened then returned to the pits so the team could bleed the brakes. He returned to the track after the issue was fixed and had to catch up to the field but was able to stay on the lead lap due to the caution. Alternate strategy played out until he was running fifth as others cycled through their final stops. The team called him into the pits but before he could get to the entry, a caution flag was brought out on Lap 50/70 for Hawksworth’s crash and the pits were closed thus negating him to take advantage of the strategy that had worked out thus far.  Only four cars had yet to pit, including Rahal who was now third behind Bourdais and Kimball. He held the position through the restart and went on to take the lead on Lap 59/70 before he pitted for a splash of fuel only and ultimately finished 11th.

 

 

ORIOL SERVIA, No. 16 Fifth Third Bank Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “The first session felt a little more challenging than I expected.  I had a very good record at this track and not only had my first podium here but also all top-six finishes and I like this place but I was having a hard time finding the limit of the car.  I can only put it down to the whole track being concrete vs. the last time I was here and it was asphalt.  Obviously concrete is a lot different and I was having a hard time finding where the grip is but the more laps I did, the more I got used to it.  And then the track started gripping up and there was more rubber down so it started to become more normal.  Thankfully the Fifth Third Bank car that the team gave me is awesome as we can see by the great job Graham is doing.  It’s great to have a reference like that.  I’m trying to not make a mistake and use every lap.  We were eleventh in Practice 2 and I lost a tenth-of-a-second and a half in the last corner so we would have been seventh.  I’m happy with the progress.  We are still not at the end of the tunnel but we are getting there. I’m very happy.”

 

FAST FACTS: The doubleheaders will be Servia’s fifth and sixth Indy car starts here and his return to the track for the first time since 2012.  In four Indy Car races, his best start is third in 2008 with KVRT and best finish is third in 2000 with PPI, which was his first career podium finish.  In four Indy car starts, he has a third (2000, PPI), fourth (2008, KVRT), fifth (2012, Panther/DRR) and sixth (2001, Sigma) place finish. He also competed in two Indy Lights races here in 1998 and 1999 for Dorricott Racing where his best start – pole — and best finish of second place came in 1999.

 

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT DETROIT … This will be RLL’s 18th year to compete at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park and the team’s 22nd and 23rd races. The team’s highest start of second place came in the inaugural running on Belle Isle in 1992 by Bobby Rahal and in 2013 by James Jakes in Dual 2. Bobby Rahal brought the team its highest finish with a win in 1992, Jakes added a third podium for the team in 2013 with his second place finish and Graham Rahal added a fourth and fifth podium with his second place finish in Dual 1 in 2014 and third place finish in Dual 2 in 2015. In total, the team has earned five podiums (2nd – G. Rahal 2014, Jakes 2013 & Max Papis 2000), (3rd – G. Rahal 2015) seven top-five finishes and 15 top-10’s here (chart available).

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Rahal and Servia Head to Detroit in Search of a Their Third and Second Motor City Indy Car Podiums

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Pre-Race Notes
Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix – The Raceway at Belle Isle Park
Round 7 and 8 of 17 in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series

DATE: June 2–4, 2017

QUALIFYING BROADCAST: Live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network (AAPIRN), the INDYCAR 17 app
and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis) from 10:05-10:35 a.m. ET on Saturday and 10:45-11:15 a.m. ET Sunday.

RACE BROADCAST: Live on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 – both at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC

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

TRACK LAYOUT: 2.35-mile, 13-turn temporary street course
RACE LENGTH: 70 laps / 164.5 miles (each race)
2016 WINNER(S): Sebastien Bourdais (Dual 1) and Will Power (Dual 2)
2016 POLESITTER(S): Simon Pagenaud (112.926; Dual 1) and Simon Pagenaud (, rain; Dual 2)

RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES START/FINISH: Pole at St. Pete 2009 (street) & Kansas 2009 (oval) / 1st in St. Pete in 2008, Fontana 2015 (super
speedway), Mid-Ohio 2015 (road)
RAHAL’S BEST DETROIT START/FINISH: 6th in 2008 with NHLR / 2nd in Dual 1 in 2014 and 3rd in Dual 2 in 2015; will be his 9th & 10th
starts here

SERVIA’S BEST INDY CAR START/FINISH: Pole at Surfers Paradise (street) in 2005 / 1st at Montreal (road) in 2005 – both with NHR

SERVIA’S BEST DETROIT START/FINISH: 3rd in 2008 with KVRT / 3rd in 2000 in rookie season; will be his 5th & 6th Indy car starts here;
also competed in two Indy Lights races here where he won pole and finished second in 1999.

RLL’S BEST START/FINISH AT DETROIT: 2nd – Bobby Rahal (1992) & Jakes (2013) / 1st – Bobby Rahal (1992 inaugural Belle Isle event)

NEWS & NOTES:

PODIUM FINISHES THREE OF THE PAST FOUR YEARS AT BELLE ISLE FOR RLL
The 2017 Chevrolet Indy Duel in Detroit will mark the Verizon IndyCar Series’ eighth visit to Detroit, and it’s sixth since 2008. The Motor City hosted Indy car racing from 1989-91 in Downtown Detroit. The race moved to Belle Isle Park from 1992-2001 and 2007-2008 and returned in 2012. The 2017 event will mark the 18th year for Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing to compete at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park and the team’s 22nd and 23rd races.

The team’s highest start of second place came in the inaugural running on Belle Isle in 1992 by Bobby Rahal and in 2013 by James Jakes in Dual 2. Bobby Rahal brought the team its highest finish with a win in 1992, Jakes added a third podium for the team in 2013 with his second place finish and Graham Rahal added a fourth and fifth podium with his second place finish in Dual 1 in 2014 and third place finish in Dual 2 in 2015. In total, the team has earned five podiums (2nd – G. Rahal 2014, Jakes 2013 & Max Papis 2000), (3rd – G. Rahal 2015) six top-five finishes and 14 top-10’s here (chart available). Prior to 2017, the team prepared a total of 26 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1998), Mike Groff (1993-94), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Kenny Brack (2000-01), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007-08) Takuma Sato (2012), Graham Rahal (2013-2016) and James Jakes (2013). The No. 15 SoldierStrong / TurnsforTroops.com Honda entry for Graham Rahal and the No. 16 Fifth Third Bank Honda for Oriol Servia will bring that total to 28 in 2017.

GRAHAM RAHAL HOPES TO RETURN TO THE PODIUM IN DETROIT AFTER A ONE YEAR HIATUS
The event will mark Graham Rahal’s 11th and 12th races here. In his previous 10 races here, his best finishes have come in 2014 with second place in Dual 1 and third place in Dual 2 in 2015. In 2016, he started 10th in Dual 1 and passed Power, Kimball and Dixon for seventh place on the opening lap. He was sixth when Kanaan pit right before his first stop on Lap 4. Many pitted early to change to the more durable primary tires. Through great driving and strategy, Rahal was up to fourth place by Lap 24 of 70 and held the position four laps before his second pit stop on Lap 28. When Hinchcliffe crashed on Lap 42 just ahead of Rahal, many took advantage of the caution to pit and Rahal restarted the race in second place. The caution was longer than expected due to the series attempting to determine what to do with Power’s car that was on three wheels and this impacted the team strategy as Rahal now had a shorter amount of laps to run with clear track. On the restart, he was able to hold off Dixon and maintain second place for a total of eight laps. After he made his third and final stop from second place on Lap 52/70, he returned to the track in 10th place as others had yet to stop. Track position was key to the outcome as Rahal was held up in a pack of cars behind Munoz, who must have been saving fuel, and then later Pagenaud and Castroneves. Once he got around them and was fourth, he tried to close on the leaders, which he did but it was not enough to attempt to gain a position and he finished fourth. In Dual 2, he qualified seventh but while he was on track for the pace laps, an issue with his brakes surfaced so he pitted and the team checked the car. As the field took the green, a multi-car accident happened and the caution flag came out. Rahal was sent back on track and stayed out until the pits opened then returned to the pits so the team could bleed the brakes. He returned to the track after the issue was fixed and had to catch up to the field but was able to stay on the lead lap due to the caution. Alternate strategy played out until he was running fifth as others cycled through their final stops. The team called him into the pits but before he could get to the entry, a caution flag was brought out on Lap 50/70 for Hawksworth’s crash and the pits were closed thus negating him to take advantage of the strategy that had worked out thus far. Only four cars had yet to pit, including Rahal who was now third behind Bourdais and Kimball. He held the position through the restart and went on to take the lead on Lap 59/70 before he pitted for a splash of fuel only and ultimately finished 11th… In 2015, he started 13th in Detroit Race 1 but was in 15th place on a wet track on a Lap 6 restart. The field entered Turn 1 and Coletti attempted an ambitious three-wide pass but contact with Jakes pushed Jakes into Kanaan who bounced off the tires and into Rahal’s path. Right-side front suspension damage forced him to retire in 23rd place. Standing water cancelled qualifying for Race 2 and the grid was set by entrant points so Rahal started fifth. He lost positions to Newgarden, Munoz and Bourdais in the opening laps but regained seventh when Munoz had mechanical problems. After the first cycle of stops concluded he regained seventh place and moved to sixth when Power pit to change his steering wheel. He came out eight from his second stop as those who took over the top three didn’t pit. On a restart, he lost a position to Castroneves but later gained it back by passing Newgarden when Castroneves did. He moved to sixth once Hunter-Reay made his out-of-sequence stop. Sato attempted a pass on Lap 48 but Rahal was able to stay ahead. Dixon, who was on rain tires while the majority of the field were on slicks, held up a pack of cars until Rahal and others were able to pass him. He moved into fourth when Power also pit. He lost traction on the exit of Turn 11 and made his one move to the outside in front of Sato but the series deemed it blocking and he had to give up a position during the caution for Dixon and Kimball. On the restart, he passed Montoya for third. Fuel was tight for race leader Bourdais and a 10 minute red flag to clear debris from contact between teammates Power and Castroneves deemed the race a timed event once it resumed. Once it was restarted, Rahal closed on Sato but was unable to pass and finished third to Sato and Bourdais who was able to stretch his fuel in the shortened race and win… In 2014 he qualified 9th for Dual 1 in Detroit, led 10 laps, challenged for the win and finished second. He started 14th in Dual 2 after the team elected to qualify on primary tires to save a set of red alternate tires for the race – a strategy that didn’t pay off. On the opening lap, Power, who was later penalized with a drive through penalty for avoidable contact, squeezed Newgarden in Turn 4 and the two made contact. Rahal was behind the two and had nowhere to go and hit Newgarden before Wilson ran into the rear of the No. 15 entry which resulted in gear problems. By the time the team replaced the front nose and repaired the gear sensor, he returned to the track seven laps down. He ultimately retired in 21st place after he brushed the wall and damaged his suspension after completing 43 of 70 laps… He qualified 14th for Dual 1 in Detroit in 2013 but started 23rd due to an unapproved engine change at Indy. He gained three spots on the opening lap and another two on the first restart on Lap 4. The team elected for an alternate strategy and the timing of the caution flags worked in the team’s favor and Rahal was able to climb 14 spots to finish ninth. He qualified 15th for Dual 2 in Detroit and finished ninth… In 2012, he qualified seventh with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing but had a 10-grid penalty for an unapproved engine change and started 17th. He was eighth when he made his final stop on Lap 45/60 but during the red flag stop to repair the track, a clutch problem surfaced and he was unable to continue and retired in 19th place. In 2008 he drove for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and progressed to the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying for the first time in his series career and qualified sixth. The team chose the same pit strategy as then race leader Dixon which almost worked but a late race fourth caution botched the plan and he had to stop for a splash of fuel with three laps to go and dropped to 13th.
“We had a decent race going for both of the races last year. After finishing fourth in the first one, unfortunately the brake line came loose before the start in the second one. We had a decent starting position and had a good car actually but went to the back because of the brake line and had to recover from that. Overall I feel like we should be very competitive going back. We had podium finishes in 2014 and 2015 so hopefully we can get it done and get more trophies. It hasn’t always come easy to us there but it’s one of those tracks that a lot can happen in the races there. You get a lot of variation between good qualifying cars and good race cars. A lot of good guys can beat up the tires there. Hopefully we can go out there, have a good, consistent car, wear them down and get good results for United Rentals and SoldierStrong.

SERVIA’S TOP-SIX STRING IN DETROIT AND REVENGE FROM INDY
The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheaders will be Servia’s fifth and sixth Indy car starts here and his return to the track for the first time since 2012. In four Indy Car races, his best start is third in 2008 with KVRT and best finish is third in 2000 with PPI, which was his first career podium finish. In four Indy car starts, he has a third (2000, PPI), fourth (2008, KVRT), fifth (2012, Panther/DRR) and sixth (2001, Sigma) place finish. He also competed in two Indy Lights races here in 1998 and 1999 for Dorricott Racing where his best start – pole — and best finish of second place came in 1999. He has fond memories of his first podium celebration.
“I got my first Indy car podium in my rookie year at Detroit and since then I have finished in the top six each time I raced there so I hope to continue that at the two races this weekend and get a good result for Fifth Third Bank in their first time as a primary sponsor on an Indy car. Hopefully we get a little revenge from this past weekend in Indy. I thought we had a great run and would at least challenge for the win and be a top-three car for sure but we couldn’t finish that way. This weekend we have two chances to get that revenge and hopefully we get two podiums – one of which is a win at least, which is what I feel the whole team deserves. We’re going to work hard. It’s a short weekend with only one day of practice so hopefully it stays dry so I can get as many miles as possible.

SERVIA ON HIS FIRST PODIUM MEMORIES AND A SPIDERMAN SIGHTING
“I remember a couple of things about my first podium. First of all I remember it was a great race and that I was very happy because it was my first podium. But I remember more about the people I was with at the podium. Finishing second was Max Papis, who looked me in the eye and said ‘Oriol, you got your first podium very early in your Indy car career and you think they are going to come easy, but it’s not that easy.’ And he was right, it’s tough. And also it was Helio’s first win and the first time he climbed the fence so I witnessed his first act as Spiderman. That was something for the history books.”

GRAHAM AND ORIOL ON THE DOUBLE-HEADER CHALLENGE
Coming on the heels of a hectic three weeks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, first for the INDYCAR Grand Prix and then the Indy 500, Graham and Oriol know the physical demands of not one, but two street races within the same amount of days.
“Everyone is tired,” Rahal said about the post-race physical state after Dual 1. “Saturday night is a brutal night. You’ve just done one race and you have to get in shape and get hydrated to go do the second. No matter whether you are big or small, it’s a physical race that beats you up. There are a lot of bumps, bruises and blood; it’s going to be another one of those weekends. You expect it and anticipate it. It’s kind of nice to get to the street course in Detroit after being at Indy and on the oval for so long. It’s a great way to get a reset and do it immediately versus waiting any set period of time before going racing again. Particularly if Indy doesn’t go your way, it’s a good way to be able to move on pretty quick.”
“I have been preparing for the physical aspect of a street race which I didn’t the past two times I raced on a road or street course because I didn’t have a lot of notice (Sonoma 2015, St. Pete 2016),” added Servia, whose last doubleheader was in Houston in 2013. “I had a lot of notice for this race and I worked hard to be in very good shape but at the end of the day, any Indy car street race is tough and this will be two so I’m sure I will be pretty beat up but I hope I am just a little less beat up than the others.”

GRAHAM ON THE RETURN OF THE LIVERY HE RAN AT THE INDY GRAND PRIX
“The American red, white, and blue United Rentals Turns for Troops car is one of my favorite liveries and I’m happy to have it back in Detroit. It’s beautiful and pulls at everyone’s heart strings. With the laps completed program and shirts we have for sale, it’s a great cause. I’m proud to be part of it and excited to see the car on track again. I want to thank Chris Hummel and everyone at United Rentals for allowing us to run it again and for being such a great, unselfish partner to our team. It’s really bringing light to an important situation and I’m happy to help raise money for SoldierStrong.”

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