Rahal Aims to Continue Streak That Brought Podium Finishes in Three of Past Four Road/Street Course Races at Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Honda Indy Toronto – Streets around Exhibition Place
Pre-Race Notes
Round 10 of 16 in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series
DATE: June 12-14, 2014
QUALIFYING BROADCAST: Tape delayed on NBCSN on Saturday, June 13 5 p.m. ET and live on www.indycar.com (timing & scoring w/radio commentary)
RACE BROADCAST: Live on Sunday, June 14 at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN
RADIO BROADCAST: The race will air on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209 and www.indycar.com

TRACK LAYOUT: 1.755-mile, 11-turn temporary street course
RACE LENGTH: 85 laps / 149.17 miles

2014 WINNER(S): Sebastien Bourdais, Race 1 & Mike Conway, Race 2
2014 POLESITTER(S): Sebastien Bourdais (107.179 mph) & Helio Castroneves (Entrant Points)

RAHAL’S BEST ROAD/STREET START/FINISH: Pole at St. Pete (street) 2009 / 1st at St. Pete in 2008
RAHAL’S BEST TORONTO START/FINISH: 3rd in 2009 / 5th in 2010; will be his 9th Indy car race here and 10th overall

RLL’S BEST START/FINISH AT TORONTO: Pole 1992 (B. Rahal) / 2nd (B. Rahal 1992, 1994, 1995; Jourdain Jr. 2003)


The Honda Indy Toronto will mark the 16th year of Indy car racing for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here and fourth since 2003. The team also competed in the Atlantic Series races here in 2003 and 2004. The team earned a total of four second place finishes (Rahal 1992, 1994, 1995; Michel Jourdain Jr. 2003) and best start was pole in 1992 by Bobby Rahal. Prior to the 2015 event, the team prepared a total of 28 Indy car entries for drivers Bobby Rahal (1992-98), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jourdain Jr. (2002-03), Takuma Sato (2012), Graham Rahal (2013 x 2; 2014 x2), James Jakes (2013 x 2) and Luca Filippi (2014 x2). The team also prepared three Toyota Atlantic entries (Danica Patrick 2003-2004; Chris Festa 2004). The team has earned FIVE podiums (3rd – Rahal 1996), 9 top-five’s and 17 top-10 finishes at the track. The No. 15 Rousseau Metal entry for Graham Rahal will bring the Indy car total to 29 entries in 2015.

Of the seven road and street races so far this season, Graham Rahal has run in the top-five in all but two and has finished on the podium in three of the past four. Rahal is ranked fifth in series point standings with a total of 261. He trails fourth place Castroneves by 25 (286), third place Scott Dixon by 44 points (305), and second place Will Power by 52 (313) after Round 9 of 16. With a disappointing finish of 15th place at Texas Motor Speedway after qualifying sixth and setting the second fastest time in the final practice, Rahal lost a little ground in the point standings but hopes to regain that this weekend.
“I am happy with where we are right now in the standings but disappointed after Texas,” said Rahal. “I expect the most of myself and the team, and unfortunately we made a mistake in not running enough downforce there. However I do think we can make a charge in the coming weeks and get the points chase back where it should be. I know we can contend with those we are around, and we will be doing our best to make sure we are right there in the hunt.”

“I have high expectations for Toronto. I think this is a place I have been fast at before and run up front, but always ran into some sort of issues. I have had some really good days there, and some bad. However with the team’s reenergized spirit and focus I think we should be able to have a really good weekend and hopefully close back up in points to those in front of us. I do feel pretty good about where we are heading lately. I am just excited to get out there this year and hopefully have our best result yet!”

“It’s always a very tricky course because the amount of concrete-to-pavement transitions on the track is a really difficult thing to get a handle on. I think we are up to the task for sure but I always find this track difficult because of the variation in speed of the corners, and the bumps that exist mid corner due to pavement changes. It’s a great track though and I am really excited to get there and get going.”

The 2015 Honda Indy Toronto will be Graham’s ninth Indy car race here and 10th overall. In 2014 in Race 1, he qualified 14th but started 11th in the race due to issues with three competitors in Saturday’s attempted race that was postponed until Sunday morning. After an opening lap multi-car crash that brought out a red flag he restarted the race in ninth place. He moved into eight when Filippi made contact and retired and later passed Wilson for seventh. He later moved into sixth place and held the position until the checkered flag. In Race 2 at Toronto, he started 19th based on Entrant Points and took over 15th after Lap 1. The team elected to pit early (Lap 7) to go on an alternate strategy and he was running 21st but light rain began to intermittently fall. As the rainfall picked up, many drivers slid off course and the majority of the field pitted for rain tires on Lap 14. With 19 laps to go Rahal passed Wilson for seventh place before the race was deemed a “timed event.” Once he made another stop to switch rain tires for slicks on the rapidly drying course, he returned to the track in 14th place and was in 13th when a shifting issue surfaced. He ultimately stopped on course after he completed 50 of what would become a 56 lap race after a red flag for a multi-car accident that blocked Turn 3 and led to a subsequent restart. He retired in 20th place due to a shifting barrel failure… In Race 1 of 2013, he started 18th and moved to 17th when Justin Wilson (and also Newgarden, behind) stalled before the standing start. On the rolling start he gained two spots and another when he passed Sato on the following lap. He was later hit by Tristan Vautier, who was assessed a drive through penalty for avoidable contact, on Lap 35 and fell three laps down by the time he got restarted and pitted. He finished the 85-lap race in 20th place. In 2013 Race 2, he qualified 20th but started 19th after gaining a position due to Ryan Briscoe breaking his wrist in Race 1 and being replaced by Carlos Munoz, who started in the back. He drove to a 13th place finish… In 2012, he qualified 12th, started 10th after penalties were served to two competitors ahead on the grid and was sixth when contact in Turn 1 forced him to retire from the race in 23rd with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR)… In 2011 he qualified fifth, led 23 laps and finished 13th for SCCGR… In 2010, he started 14th with Newman/Haas Racing and earned his best finish since his 2008 win in St. Pete of fifth place… In 2009, he started third with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) but was hit by second place starter Will Power, who squeezed him to the wall on the opening lap before T1. A forced stop to replace his front wing dropped him to the back but he charged through the field into seventh place. He held his position behind Patrick but flat-spotted his tires which led to losing three positions before his next stop. He tried to pass the lapped car of Ed Carpenter on the inside on a right-handed turn but the contact ended his race in 20th place after 57/85 laps… There was not a race in Toronto in 2008… Started 15th in the 2007 Champ Car race as a rookie for NHLR but an evasive move to avoid a pile up on Lap 1 led to him hitting the wall and a subsequent stop for a new front wing. Had to pit again for another front wing later in the race after running as high as second. Retired in 11th place after he made contact for the third time due to a broken steering rack… Started from pole in the 2006 Atlantic race but was hit by Raphael Matos on the first lap. Repaired the damaged suspension and returned to the track a few laps down, set the fastest race lap but later retired in 15th place.