Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Verizon IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – August 2, 2015
STEAK ‘N SHAKE DRIVER RAHAL EARNED HIS THIRD CAREER INDYCAR WIN AND SECOND OF THE SEASON AT THE HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO TO CLOSE ON SERIES POINTS LEADER MONTOYA
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Honestly, if I’d won a lot of races in my career but I never won this one, I think I’d be pretty disappointed. For me and the Steak ‘n Shake team, that win means more to me than anything else, means more than my first win to me. This is the best day. Strategy just worked today. Sometimes things just go your way and today was one of those days. For the Rahals, when it goes back to Jim Trueman and everyone else, this track has been pretty special to us for so, so many years. Jim was the man who founded this place, got this place going. He was also the one who got my dad started in racing. It’s come full circle. I used to go to the Steak ‘n Shake about 5 to 8 miles from here and play around, eat a lot of cheese fries and stuff. It’s funny how this whole thing has come together. I’ve got the Buckeye helmet; this is all amazing. The tires were awesome; reds, blacks, it didn’t matter for me. Used reds were good for me, particularly at the end, I was just able to just absolutely gap anyone I needed to at the end. I didn’t have any push-to-passes left on that last restart so I was pretty nervous (Justin) Wilson would get me. I can’t thank all the fans enough. The crowd today was absolutely unbelievable. This hometown crowd was amazing and I appreciate the support so much. I remember standing on the podium with my dad here way back, I think it was his last year (racing here). There is a picture of me on the podium with him as a little kid. I was joking a couple of days ago that I have been on the podium at Mid-Ohio before but never on my own. There is no better way to go than to get to the top step I guess.”
- FAST FACTS: Started 13th and was 11th when the team elected to pit early for their first stop due to the fact that Rahal was unable to drive to the car’s potential in traffic. Once in clean air, Rahal gained track position and leapfrogged cars ahead when they pitted and he moved up to third. On a restart he dropped to fourth when Justin Wilson passed him. He maintained a top-four spot for the majority of the stints. Later Rahal pit right before a caution came out for Sage Karam and once the pits opened and all other cars made their stops, Rahal was in the lead. Ultimately he led a race-high 23 laps and held off Justin Wilson for two restarts and steadily built his gap to take the checkered flag 3.4 seconds ahead… It was 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 are wins at Auto Club Speedway (June 27) and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (today) and his top start is fifth in Dual 2 in Detroit… Rahal is second in series standings with a total of 456 points and trails leader Juan Pablo Montoya by 9 (465) after Round 14 of 16.
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT MID-OHIO … The Honda Indy 200 marked 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 today’s win by Graham Rahal. In addition the team has 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 brought the Indy car total to 28 entries in 2015.
NEXT UP: The series will take the next two weekends off before the ABC Supply 500 on August 23.