Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway
Verizon IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – August 23, 2015
CONTACT FROM VAUTIER FORCED RAHAL TO RETIRE FROM THE ABC SUPPLY 500 IN 20TH PLACE
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Obviously I’m frustrated. We had a pretty good race car today. It was slow initially but we were working on it and we got it pretty good. Then we had an issue in the pits that lost us a bunch of spots so we were trying to work our way back up. Vautier is not known as the smartest guy and you see why. It’s just a shame for this Steak ‘n Shake team going into this championship (fight) second in the points right now (“points as they run” at the time). We’re going to be watching the Verizon app to see how many points we fall back for the rest of the race. This one hurts. One race to go and this puts a big, big dent in things. Wilson and I were coming through Turn 2. There were a lot of guys driving pretty aggressively and Wilson lost momentum and I just stuck it inside of him and we ran from (turn) two down to three together and then Vautier just decided that he wanted to join the party there at the last moment and unfortunately just punted us. He says I turned in on him but there’s not any space. We’re already two wide, he knows that, he sees that. It just hurts us. As I said to him ‘You know I’m in the championship hunt for Honda. Why would you do something like that?’ He has no answers. We didn’t have the best of days going with the error in the pits but I knew my guys had gotten a good stop and we were going to fight our way back into this. We were only 90 laps into a 200 lap race. We’re down but we’re not out. We’ve had a good year, nothing to be ashamed about. We’ll go to Sonoma in attack mode.”
- FAST FACTS: Rahal started fifth and ran in the top-eight until a fueling problem on his second pit stop dropped him to 20thplace. On Lap 66/200, Rahal was in 16th place on a restart and got a run on Justin Wilson and pulled inside him on track. They were two-wide until Tristan Vautier decided to dive low inside, partially on the track, and make it three-wide. Vautier made contact with Rahal and spun the two into the wall. Both were checked in the medical center and neither was injured. Was his third Indy car race here. In 2014, he started 14th and moved into 11th on the opening lap but his helmet pad on the right side of the cockpit flew out of the car and he gradually dropped to 19th. The helmet pad helps the drivers head stay upright while sustaining high G-Forces for 200 laps and he was unable to see as well. Once he made his first stop and the team replaced the helmet pad he steadily climbed back up the field and ran 12th midway through the race and held the fastest lap of the race through his third stint. He was in 11th place when a problem surfaced on Lap 158/200. The car appeared to abruptly change and Rahal spun. The side of the car made contact with the Turn 2 wall and he ultimately retired in 19th place… In 2013 he qualified 17th, started 16th due to a grid penalty ahead and finished 18th… His top finishes this season are wins at the 500-mile race at Auto Club Speedway (June 27) and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Aug. 2) and his top start is fifth in Dual 2 in Detroit (based on Entrant Points) and Pocono… Rahal is second in series standings with a total of 466 points and trails leader Juan Pablo Montoya, who finished third in Pocono, by 34 (500) after Round 15 of 16.
NEXT UP: The Verizon IndyCar Series season-finale is next weekend at Sonoma Raceway. The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma is a double-points event.