Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Honda Grand Prix of Alabama
Verizon IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, April 26, 2015
RAHAL FINISHED SECOND IN THE HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA AFTER HE LED TWO TIMES FOR A TOTAL OF 17 LAPS
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I’m really proud of these Steak ‘n Shake guys. They’ve worked extremely hard and today I drove that race 110 percent every single lap. We knew when we made the strategy call to stay out we had to go fast in order to make up the gap. I’ve got to say Honda did a great job for me today. It’s still tough to follow, but obviously I passed a lot of guys. This team has come a long way and I think we have proven that. Eventually one of these days we’ll win one of these things. I hope everybody enjoyed the race because we were pushing there until the last second. It was great racing with Ryan (Hunter-Reay), Will (Power) and (Scott) Dixon – he gave me room there in those last couple turns. That’s pretty nice of him – not a lot of guys do that. (On if he’d had a chance to win) Hawksworth got out of the pits in front of me and that held me up and we lost a few seconds right there, so we had to pit a little earlier than we wanted to. A couple laps earlier we would have gotten him I think.”
FAST FACTS: Rahal started eighth and passed Kanaan on the opening lap. He later lost a position to Filippi but passed Dixon for seventh place. He pitted and ran ninth place but moved to third as others made their stops. He held off charges from fourth place Hinchcliffe on several restarts and later built a gap on him while leading laps 35-46. Rahal pitted from the lead for his second stop and dropped to 15th but cycled back into the lead for laps 65-69. He made his final stop on Lap 71 and returned to the track in sixth place. With new tires and more fuel than others, he consistently turned lap times that were one-to-two seconds quicker than those in front of him and eventually passed Power, Hunter-Reay and Castroneves before he was able to close the gap on second-place Dixon in the closing laps. With less than two laps to go, he passed Dixon but ran out of time to attempt to catch eventual race winner Newgarden… Was his sixth race here. In 2014 he started 18th on a wet track, ran as high as 10th, dropped four places after being hit by two cars and ultimately finished 17th. In 2013, Rahal set a lap time fast enough to progress to Round 2 and qualify in the top-12 if he had been in Group 2 but he was in Group 1 and ultimately qualified 21st. He had to pit for a new nose on the opening lap after the field checked up and he hit Servia. Moved up to 12th place but he ran out of fuel on the final lap due to a malfunction in the fueling system and dropped to 21st… Started 8th, led 1 lap and finished 4th here in 2012 for Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR). Started 10th and finished 18th in 2011 for SCCGR. Started 15th and finished 17th for Sarah Fisher Racing in ‘10… Rahal is ranked 8th in series point standings with a total of 103 and is only seven points out of a sixth place rank (Hinchcliffe & Kanaan, 110).
RLL AT BARBER: This was the fourth Indy car race for RLL at Barber Motorsports Park (BMP). Last year, Rahal started 18th on a wet track, ran as high as 10th, dropped four places after being hit by two cars and ultimately finished 17th. Servia started 19th, ran as high as 14th and finished 20th. In 2013, Rahal set a lap time fast enough to progress to Round 2 and qualify in the top-12 if he had been in Group 2 but he was in Group 1 and ultimately qualified 21st. He had to pit for a new nose on the opening lap after the field checked up and he hit Servia. He moved up to 12th place but ran out of fuel on the final lap due to a malfunction in the fueling system and dropped to 21st. James Jakes qualified 11th in 2013 but had to pit early in the race when the camber shims fell out of the left rear upright which put him two laps down to the leader. He soldiered on through fueling issues, set the fastest lap of the race and finished 23rd. In 2012, Takuma Sato set the third fastest time in Friday’s first practice and was fastest in the wet second session but traffic limited his qualifying performance to 16th. In the race he passed four cars for 12th place on red alternate tires but struggled on primary tires and ultimately retired in 24th place due to mechanical failure after 52/90 laps.
NEXT UP: The team will participate in a series-wide open test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 3. Oriol Servia will join Graham Rahal for their first test on the track since the 2014 Indianapolis 500.