Rahal Returns to One of His Favorite Ovals for the Milwaukee IndyFest; Jakes Aims to Carry Momentum from Strong Runs to The Mile
Story posted - Jun 12 2013 10:56 PM
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Milwaukee IndyFest - The Milwaukee Mile
Round 9 of 19 in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series
NEWS & NOTES:
DATE: June 14-15, 2013
QUALIFYING BROADCAST: June 14 at 7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network and live from 5:15-6:30 ET on www.indycar.com
(timing & scoring w/radio commentary)
RACE BROADCAST: Live on Saturday, June 15 at 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network
RADIO BROADCAST: The race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM & Sirius channels 211
TRACK LAYOUT:1-mile oval
RACE LENGTH: 225 laps / 225 miles
2012 WINNER: Ryan Hunter-Reay
2012 POLESITTER:Dario Franchitti (two-lap average speed of 168.737 mph)
RAHAL'S BEST OVAL START/FINISH: Pole (Kansas 2009) / 2nd (Texas 2012 and Milwaukee 2011)
RAHAL'S BEST START/ FINISH AT MILW: 2nd in 2008 & 2009 / 2nd in 2011
JAKES' BEST OVAL START/FINISH: 10th (Texas 2013) / 10th (Texas 2012)
JAKES' BEST START/FINISH AT MILW: 20th in 2012 (started 16th due to engine penalties of others) / 15th in 2011
RLL'S TOP START/FINISH AT MILW: 1st by Rahal (1999), Brack (2001), Meira (2004) / 1st by Brack (2001) and Jourdain Jr. (2003)
NEWS & NOTES:
2 WINS, 3 POLES, 4 PODIUMS & 4 FRONT ROW STARTS AT MILWAUKEE MILE FOR RLL RACING
The Milwaukee IndyFest will mark the 19th event for RLL at the legendary Milwaukee Mile oval. The team won here twice (Kenny Brack 2001 & Michel Jourdain Jr. 2003), started from pole three times (Bobby Rahal 1999, Kenny Brack 2001, Vitor Meira 2004), made four front row starts (2nd - Jourdain Jr. 2003) and earned four podiums (2nd: Rahal 2004, Rice 2004). Prior to the 2013 event, the team prepared a total of 34 entries for drivers such as Rahal (1992-98), Mike Groff (1993-94), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Kenny Brack (2000-2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jourdain Jr. (2002-03), Buddy Rice (2004-06), Vitor Meira (2004-05), Danica Patrick (2005-06), Jeff Simmons (2006-07), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008) and Takuma Sato (2012). The team has earned 10 top-five finishes and 19 top-10's at the track. The No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires entry for Graham Rahal and the No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts entry for James Jakes will bring that total to 36 in 2013.
LAST YEAR AT MILWAUKEE
Sato qualified 14th at Milwaukee last year but started 24th due to an engine change penalty from Texas. He ran as high as 10th and was 13th when contact ended his race after 107/225 laps. He collected current RLL driver James Jakes when he crashed.
GRAHAM AT MILWAUKEE
The 2013 Milwaukee IndyFest will mark Graham's fifth race here. He narrowly missed winning his first pole in 2008 by 2/10ths of a second over a four lap average and started a career best second to Andretti in what was the first Andretti/Rahal front row since 1992 in Loudon, NH. He ran between second and fourth until L130 when he drove over "marbles" and lost control of his car after trying to go around the slower car of Darren Manning and retired in 25th place. He qualified second in 2009 and briefly took the lead at the start but dropped to third by the end of the lap and ultimately finished fourth, his highest finish on an oval at the time. In 2010, he ran a partial season and did not race at Milwaukee. In 2011 he qualified 12th and earned his best finish at Milwaukee to date of second. Last year, he qualified 17th, started 11th after many ahead served an engine change penalty and finished ninth.
"Milwaukee is very challenging for teams, drivers and engineers; I think possibly one of the hardest with it being a very fast one mile, flat oval. I am however really looking forward to it. When its right, there is no track more rewarding than Milwaukee. It's great because there is a huge range of good cars versus bad, and the way cars fall off over the stint is very different. It should be a very exciting race."
JAKES AT MILWAUKEE
The 2013 Milwaukee IndyFest will be the third event at the Milwaukee Mile for James Jakes, 25. He qualified 20th in 2012 and started 16th after engine penalties of others were served but retired in 21st after contact with Takuma Sato near the halfway point in the race. In 2011 he qualified 23rd and finished 15th. Both events were with Dale Coyne Racing.
"Milwaukee is a really fun track. It's really crucial to get the car working well in the practices because qualifying is usually so tight that every tenth (of a second) counts. Again this is another track I really enjoy racing at, and we have showed great pace there in the past but we haven't been able to capitalize on it. Last year was short lived when Sato lost his car on the inside and took me out."
GRAHAM ON PAST RESULTS AT MILWAUKEE AND HIS EXPECTATIONS THIS YEAR
"I've always performed well at Milwaukee; it's a track I truly love. I am excited to get out there and get running Friday! I am hopeful that we should be very strong. I know we are working very hard and at some point hard work pays off. I think that time is now."
JAKES ON HIS EXPECTATION OF COMPETITIVE RUNS ON OTHER OVALS TRANSFERING TO MILWAUKEE
Jakes has run competitively since the start of the season but various challenges prevented him from better results. At the Indy 500, he led five laps but a pit penalty early on dropped him one lap down which was hard to recover from and he finished 20th but was very happy with the handling of his race car. He earned a career best start of fourth for Dual 1 in Detroit but battled with alternate tire wear and finished 10th. The team worked to improve that for Sunday's Dual 2 where he improved his career best start with second place and despite dropping back, he was a contender for the win and earned his best series finish of second. Another strong run in Texas had him in fourth place but he had to make a stop for fuel with 16 laps to go and was relegated to 12th. He is hoping for another competitive run at Milwaukee this weekend.
"Yes, I believe it will," Jakes said of being able to carry over the competitiveness from other ovals to Milwaukee. "The crew of the Number 16 car seem to be clicking well at the right time of the year so I'm really looking forward to getting back in the car this weekend. We showed great place last weekend in Texas and unfortunately we didn't get the result we wanted but we know we had great speed. The weekend prior to that we finished second, so things seem to be working well we just need to make sure we make the right calls at the right time."
JAKES ON WHETHER THERE COULD BE ANOTHER "FIRST TIME" WINNER IN 2013
The 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season has seen seven winners in the first eight races. The seven different winners who have won from Barber to Texas - including three first-time winners - is the longest stretch of different winners since 2010 when seven different drivers won from St. Petersburg to Iowa.
"I think we are close to a win at the moment," said Jakes. "We have been knocking on the door the last two events so I expect the same this weekend. IndyCar is so competitive at the moment so you really have to make sure you are maximizing everything possible."
GRAHAM AND JAMES ON THE BUSY SCHEDULE AND THEIR FITNESS ROUTINES
"I am keeping up pretty well, doing a lot of cardio and it seems to be serving me well," said Rahal. "I know I have ramped it up a bit this year, and I really feel strong through all phases of the races."
"I try to train twice a week if we have back to back races," added Jakes. "I also play soccer once a week with my buddies for a couple of hours; I think it's really important to mix up your training so you don't get to bored."
GRAHAM AND JAMES ON THE FATHER'S DAY WEEKEND
"I would love to win," said Rahal. "Milwaukee is a great place for us as it's so close to where my family is from in Chicago. I am very eager to get going and hope to have a great Fathers Day weekend."
"My dad has always been a great inspiration for me," added Jakes. "He never got the opportunity to race, but he has these stupid ideas in his head that he is quicker than me. Hopefully one day I will get the chance to teach him a few things. I think the Fathers Day's fall differently in the USA and UK but maybe we will celebrate twice."