Rahal Qualified 13th for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio After a Challenging Round

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Verizon IndyCar Series

POLE: Scott Dixon 1:04.5814 / 125.869 mph (Round 3; Group 2)
13th: Graham Rahal 1:05.9650 / 123.229 mph (Round 1; Group 1)

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Sage (Karam; qualified 19th) cost us that lap which would have been second or third quickest and we would have advanced to Round 2. The Steak ‘n Shake car was really good, we got it fixed for qualifying. I caught him and it absolutely just killed the entire momentum and I lost the entire lap. It’s just a shame, this is a huge, huge race for us and we’re going to start 13th. We’ve got to win this. I’m not saying it can’t be done from there but I definitely think we had a car good enough to be in the top six. With everybody that we are competing against, it’s a shame when back markers like that get in the way of the championship. I’m pretty frustrated. Obviously this is a home crowd, home race and we want to get a win for Steak ‘n Shake and Honda. We’ve got some work to do tomorrow.”

* FAST FACTS: Will be his eighth Indy car race here. His best start is fourth in 2009 and his best finish is fifth in 2014. He has competed in many other series at his “home track.” In 2014, he qualified seventh and avoided an opening lap, multi-car crash to take over fourth place. He maintained a top-five position throughout the race with the exception of pit cycles and ran as high as third at one point. An alternate strategy played out for eventual winner Scott Dixon who started 22nd and made four pit stops in comparison to the majority who made three. Rahal took the checkered flag in fifth place to better his previous best finish at this track of eighth place in 2009. In 2013, Rahal qualified 22nd, and ran as high as eighth on a three pit stop strategy but finished 18th after being held up by drivers on a two-stop strategy. In 2012 he qualified 22nd, started 21st (engine penalty ahead on grid) and finished 11th with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR). In 2011 he qualified sixth, stalled in the pits after his first stop and finished 24th with SCCGR. In 2010, he qualified 25th with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) and had moved up to 14th when he attempted to pass Wheldon for 13th on Lap 61/85 in T2 and went off course and dropped to 21st. Finished 20th. In 2009, he started fourth with NHLR and looked likely to finish fourth before an off-track excursion while fifth late in the race led to an eighth place finish. In 2008, he started 14th with NHLR and ran as high as eighth, but an off track excursion on lap 53 limited him to a 16th place finish. At the age of 16 in 2005, he became the youngest to claim the SCCA National Formula Atlantic championship at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs here by a dominant 43-seconds. He also competed in the Star Mazda race here in 2005 (S/F 4/9). Tested a Grand Am car here in 2007… 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.

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT MID-OHIO … The Honda Indy 200 will mark the 18th Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here. The team also competed in the Atlantic Series race in 2003 with Danica Patrick and has competed in ALMS races here in 2007 and from 2009-2012. The highest IndyCar finish for the team here is two third place finishes (Rahal 1997, 1998) and the highest start is pole (Herta 1997). Another front row start came in 1999 (Herta; 2nd). Prior to the 2015 event, the team prepared a total of 27 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) Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007-2008), Takuma Sato (2012), Graham Rahal (2013-2014) and James Jakes (2013). The team has earned TWO podiums (3rd – Rahal 1997, 1998), 10 top-five’s and 14 top-10 finishes at the track. The No. 15 entry for Graham Rahal will bring the Indy car total to 28 entries in 2015.

NEXT UP: The morning warm-up will take place tomorrow from 9:45-10:15 a.m. ET and the 90-lap race will take the Green Flag at 2:07 p.m. The Honda Indy 200 will be televised live on CNBC beginning at 1:30 PM ET Sunday, August 2.