After Top-Five Runs in the Past Two Races, Rahal Looks Forward to Long Beach in the Steak ‘n Shake Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Pre-Race Notes
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – Streets of Long Beach, California
Round 3 of 16 in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series
DATE: Friday – Sunday, April 17-19, 2015
QUALIFYING BROADCAST: NBC Sports Network at 6:30 p.m. ET Saturday, April 18; live on the IMS Radio
Network and (timing & scoring)
RACE BROADCAST: Live on NBC Sports Network, Sunday, April 19 at 4 p.m. ET
RADIO BROADCAST: The race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM 211 & Sirius 211
TRACK LAYOUT: 1.968-mile, 11-turn street course
RACE LENGTH: 80 laps / 157.4 miles
2014 WINNER: Mike Conway
2014 POLESITTER: Ryan Hunter-Reay (1:07.8219 / 104.462 mph)

RLL’S BEST START/FINISH AT LONG BEACH: 3 poles (Herta 1998, Vasser 2002, Jourdain, Jr. 2003) / 2nd – four times (Rahal 1992-1993,
Vasser 2002, G. Rahal 2013)
RAHAL’S BEST START/FINISH AT LONG BEACH: 5th in 2007 / 2nd in 2013; will be his ninth Indy car race here and 10th overall

RAHAL’S BEST INDY CAR START/FINISH: Pole at St. Pete 2009 & Kansas 2009 / 1st in St. Pete in 2008


The 2015 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (TGPLB) marks the first race for Steak ‘n Shake as a primary sponsor of an Indy car. The team announced in March that Steak ‘n Shake would be the primary sponsor of the No. 15 entry for Verizon IndyCar Series events in Long Beach, two events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Detroit, and Mid-Ohio. Maxim Magazine branding will also be featured on the race car. Both are owned by Biglari Holdings Inc. Steak ‘n Shake is a definitive American brand and home of the original Steakburger(TM) and hand-dipped milkshakes. Rahal is making an appearance at their Third Street Promenade location in Santa Monica from 12-2 PM PT Wednesday. After running in the top-five in the 2015 season-opening race in St. Petersburg and last weekend in New Orleans, Rahal can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the Steak ‘n Shake entry in Long Beach.
“I have been pleasantly surprised by the fan support and excitement since we announced Steak ‘n Shake as a sponsor. The fans have taken the news by storm and the support has been pretty incredible. It seems that every day someone tags me in a tweet with a picture of themselves at Steak ‘n Shake. I’m looking forward to getting out there in the Steak ‘n Shake Maxim car and seeing how we can do. It’s a racy-looking machine; I think the colors suit the car well. The last time we ran red and white, we finished second at Long Beach (2013, Big O Tires) so hopefully that carries forward.”

The 2015 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (TGPLB) marks the 16th time for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) to compete in the event. Although the team didn’t compete in Indy car races here from 2004-2011 while they fielded a fulltime entry in the Indy Racing League (2004-2008), they did compete in the 2003 and 2004 Atlantic races with Danica Patrick and in the 2007 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race. In 2009, the team returned to the streets of Long Beach in the ALMS with BMW Team RLL and has finished on the podium each year since then including a win in 2011 with Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller and a 1-2 finish in 2013 with Bill Auberlen and Maxime Martin (1st) and Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand (2nd). In 2014 the team finished second and sixth.

In their 15 previous Indy car races in Long Beach, the team entered 27 cars for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1998),
Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-1999), Max Papis (1999-2001), Kenny Brack (2000-2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Jourdain (2002-2003), Takuma Sato (2012), Graham Rahal (2013-2014), James Jakes (2013), Mike Conway (2013) and Oriol Servia (2014). In total, the team won three poles (Herta 1998, Vasser 2002, Jourdain, Jr. 2003); made five front row starts including an all-Team Rahal front row in 1998 (2nd – Rahal 1998, Brack 2001); earned their best finish of second place four times (Rahal 1992-1993, Vasser 2002, G. Rahal 2013) and earned six podiums (2nd – Rahal 1992-1993, Vasser 2002 & G. Rahal 2013; 3rd – Herta 1998-1999).

In 2014, Rahal drove to a seventh place finish after struggles in practice led to a 23rd place start. The team also prepared an entry for Oriol Servia who qualified 12th but contact with Conway and Andretti broke two different front wings in the race and he soldiered on to finish 13th.

The team has prepared three cars for the Long Beach weekend – the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry for Sunday’s Verizon IndyCar Series race and two entries under the name BMW Team RLL that will compete in the GTLM class of the United SportsCar Series race on Saturday.

“Long Beach is kind of a home race for me these days so it will be exciting to be out there with a lot of friends and family,” said Rahal who is tied for seventh place in the point standings with 43. “Hopefully we can put on a good show for them. The St. Pete and Long Beach tracks are a little bit different but I do think that having had a competitive run at St. Pete indicates that we should have a good run at Long Beach. I feel pretty confident in our street course car. Long Beach has kind of been one of our strong suits as far as the street courses have been, certainly the last couple of years, so I’m looking forward to it. Long Beach is a very technical track, there are a lot of bumps, a lot of different variations of speed and cornering; it should be a lot of fun.”