Rahal Second in Series Standings After Fourth Place in Iowa; Unlapped Himself Twice After Two Different Problems

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Iowa Corn 300 – Iowa Speedway
Verizon IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, July 18, 2015

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “That was my hardest race ever. First we had the right rear go down and then the car just wouldn’t shift. You don’t know how tough that is around here when you’re in traffic and you need to go down to fifth, fourth gear at times and I couldn’t do anything. It was a killer for me. We were quicker than (winner) Hunter-Reay, that’s for sure, which is frustrating. When the car was working right, we passed all those guys but dude I’m spent. I’m ready for a good beer and a nice sleep. The car was good, very competitive, very consistent tonight over the long run and that’s what helped me. On my starts and restarts I tried to be a little aggressive and go high (on track) there and it worked out for me. Nights like tonight are what build character, and what builds champions so I hope we can get there. It speaks volumes for this team that we are second in the points. We can win Honda a championship. We’ve got three more races to go and are going to two tracks I think we can be really strong at, and Pocono. A day like today when the car wouldn’t shift and we were down and out but were able to fight back shows what this team is made of. I think that is something I have learned in my time in this series. Hopefully we can keep it going three more. I’m so proud of this Mi-Jack Steak ‘n Shake team to be second in the standings. We’re just going to keep our heads down and go forward.”

* FAST FACTS: Rahal started 17th in his eighth race here and was 10th when he had to pit early due to his right rear tire deflating and went two laps down to the leader. Later he got back on the lead lap and reported a shifting issue on Lap 98/300 that slowed his return to the track from his second pit stop after having to reboot and he dropped a lap down again. Later in the race, the team took advantage of a caution period to pit for fuel and new tires which would enable them to go further than the leaders on the next stint and possibly pick up a yellow that would put them back on the lead lap. While leading and with five laps to go before they were forced to pit for their last stop, Sato brought out a caution period and the team stopped for fuel and tires. Due to the reoccurring shifting issue, he had to leave the pits in sixth gear rather than first and returned to the track in eight place, and on the lead lap. The race restarted with 23 laps to go and Rahal moved from eight place into fourth by Lap 294/300. He held his position and finished fourth and moved to second in the series point standings with 403… In 2014, he started 15th and stayed on the lead lap with the help of the timing of the caution periods. He made his sixth stop on a late race caution period for Montoya and returned to the track in 10th place. Once the race was restarted with six laps to go he moved up to eighth place and passed Castroneves on the final lap for seventh. He set the 19th fastest lap time in single-car qualifying in 2013 to determine that he would be in Heat Race 2. He drove to victory in Heat Race 2 after starting seventh and progressed to Heat Race 3 where he also started seventh. Contact with Ed Carpenter on Lap 16 of 50 damaged his front wing and he held on to finish ninth of 10 cars to match his best start at Iowa of ninth. He started sixth after engine penalties were served and charged from 10th to second on his second stint. He challenged for the win and led Lap 160 until the last 20 laps where he dropped to fourth while navigating traffic and then fifth on the final lap. In 2012 he qualified 10th, started 20th (penalty for unapproved engine change) and finished ninth with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR). In 2011 he qualified 20th and finished 15th with SCCGR. In 2010, he qualified 17th with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, led 11 laps and finished ninth. In 2009 he qualified ninth and finished 11th with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) and in 2008 he qualified 16th and finished 10th with NHLR… His top finish this season is a win at Auto Club Speedway (June 27) and his top start is fifth in Dual 2 in Detroit… Rahal is second in series standings with a total of 403 points and trails and leader Juan Pablo Montoya by 42 (445) after Round 13 of 16.

NEXT UP: The series will take next weekend off before returning to action for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday, August 2. Graham Rahal’s best start at his home tack is fourth in 2009 and his best finish is fifth in 2014.