Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Pre-Race Notes Chevrolet Dual in Detroit – Raceway at Belle Isle Park
Round 7 and 8 of 16 in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series
DATE: May 29 – May 31, 2015
QUALIFYING BROADCAST: None; LIVE on www.indycar.com (timing & scoring with audio commentary)
RACE BROADCAST: Live on Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31 – 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 andwww.indycar.com
TRACK LAYOUT: 2.35-mile, 14-turn temporary street course
RACE LENGTH: 70 laps / 164.5 miles (each race)
2015 WINNER(S): Will Power (Dual 1) and Helio Castroneves (Dual 2)
2015 POLESITTER(S): Helio Castroneves (1:17.5362; Dual 1) and Takuma Sato (1:16.1371; Dual 2)
RAHAL’S BEST ROAD/
STREET START/FINISH: Pole at St. Pete (street) 2009 / 1st at St. Pete in 2008
RAHAL’S BEST DETROIT
START/FINISH: 6th in 2008 with NHLR / 2nd in Dual 1 in 2014 with RLL; will be his 7th & 8th starts here
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 THE PAST TWO YEARS AT BELLE ISLE FOR RLL
The Chevrolet Indy Duel in Detroit will mark the Verizon IndyCar Series’ sixth visit to Detroit, and it’s fourth 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 2015 event will mark the 16th year for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) to compete at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park and the team’s 18th and 19th 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 with his second place finish in Dual 1 last year. In total, the team has earned four podiums (G. Rahal 2014, Jakes 2013 & Max Papis 2000 – 2nd), five top-five finishes and 13 top-10’s here (chart available). Prior to 2015, the team prepared a total of 24 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 (2013-2014) and James Jakes (2013). The No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake entry for Graham Rahal will bring that total to 25 in 2015.
Last year in Detroit, Rahal qualified ninth for Dual 1, led 10 laps, challenged for the win and finished second to Will Power, who said Rahal was so fast that had he been able to pass, there was no way the Australian would have been able to get back by. Rahal 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 later. On the opening lap, Power, who was later penalized with a drive through penalty for avoidable contact, squeezed Josef Newgarden in Turn 4 and the two made contact. Rahal was behind the two and had nowhere to go and hit Newgarden before Justin 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 hissuspension after completing 43 of 70 laps.
GRAHAM ON EXPECATIONS AT DETROIT AFTER 2014 SECOND PLACE FINISH
“I feel really good about Detroit. I felt that if we could continue to stay close in points after Indy we would have a pretty good opportunity ahead of us with as strong as we were in Detroit last year. Detroit is a very similar place to St. Pete and obviously with it being a doubleheader, it’s a huge weekend for the championship. We are right on Helio’s heels in fifth place in the point standings and just a couple of points behind Dixon. We will just keep working hard and we’ll be there in the hunt. This race is a one of attrition a lot of times because it’s a pretty bumpy track. I heard Roger (Penske) has done a lot of great work up there to make the track conditions a little bit better. You have to be smart, patient and let it come to you. I think we did that pretty well last year and this year we’re going to have to do even better.”
GRAHAM AND THE TOP FIVE IN THE POINT STANDINGS
Rahal has run in the top five in six races this season with the exception of Long Beach and has led the race five times for a total of 26 laps. A penalty in St. Pete for avoidable contact while trying to pass a damaged race car and a shortened race due to weather in NOLA potentially limited his points take-home in those events but he is currently ranked fifth in series standings with a total of 204. He trails fourth place Helio Castroneves by two points (206), third place Scott Dixon by seven (211) and second place Will Power by 43 (247) after Round 6 of 16.
GRAHAM RAHAL IN DETROIT
The event will be Graham’s seventh and eighth races here. In 2014 he qualified ninth for Dual 1 in Detroit, led 10 laps, challenged for the win and finished second to Will Power, who said Rahal was so fast that had he been able to pass, there was no way the Australian would have been able to get back by. 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, Will Power, who was later penalized with a drive through penalty for avoidable contact, squeezed Josef Newgarden in Turn 4 and the two made contact. Rahal was behind the two and had nowhere to go and hit Newgarden before Justin 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.
BOBBY RAHAL IN DETROIT
Bobby Rahal competed in downtown Detroit from 1989-1991 with two second place finishes to his credit. When the series moved to Belle Isle, he won the inaugural event in 1992 and went on to compete there through 1998. In total, he competed in Detroit 10 times (three downtown, seven on Belle Isle) with one win (1992), three podiums (2nd – 1990, 1991), four top five finishes and five top-10’s. A chart is available upon request.