RACE NOTES/QUOTES for DUAL 2 – May 31, 2015

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans
Verizon IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES for DUAL 2 – May 31, 2015


GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Obviously we would like to be winning but that’s three podiums in the last four road and street course races, and three in the past five overall for the Steak ‘n Shake team so I’m pretty proud of where we are at. I want to thank Honda for all the hard work they are putting in. The fuel mileage was really good there at the end. I would have like to have seen the race run full distance because I heard Bourdais was tight on fuel and we were definitely good. (On pass of Montoya:) Bourdais was doing these restarts where he would accelerate and then brake-check everybody. I don’t know how there wasn’t contact. Therefore everybody ahead of me just checked up and I heard green and I just went around him (Montoya). It’s great to move up to fourth in points and close the gap on all the guys in front of us which is what we came here to do. Yesterday, as frustrating as it was, this definitely makes it better. We don’t necessarily always have the fastest car but if we can get to the end and have good finishes, we can be right there.”
FAST FACTS: Was his eighth race here. Standing water cancelled qualifying 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 the position back 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. On Saturday, he started 13th but was in 15th place on a wet track on a Lap 6 restart. The field entered Turn 1 and Stefano Coletti attempted a pass by going three-wide but contact with James Jakes pushed Jakes into Tony Kanaan who bounced off the tires and into Rahal’s path. He sustained damage to the right side front suspension which the team was unable to repair in the pits and he retired in 23rd place… 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, 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… He is currently ranked fourth in series point standings with a total of 246. He trails third place Scott Dixon by six (252) and second place Will Power by 48 (294) after Round 8 of 16.

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT DETROIT … This was RLL’s 16th year to compete at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park and the team’s 18th and 19th races. It was the team’s fifth podium here (2nd: G. Rahal 2014, Jakes 2013 & Max Papis 2000; 3rd: G. Rahal – 2015),

NEXT UP: The series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for their sixth straight weekend of action for the Firestone 600 on Saturday, June 6.