Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma – Sonoma Raceway
Pre-Race Notes
Season-Finale in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series


DATE: August 28-30, 2015

PRACTICE BROADCAST: *NEW* Saturday, August 29 at 1:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network.

QUALIFYING BROADCAST: Saturday, August 29 at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network; LIVE on www.indycar.com
(timing & scoring with audio commentary from INDYCAR Radio Network).
RACE BROADCAST: Live on Sunday, August 30 at 4:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN
RADIO BROADCAST: The race will air on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209 and

TRACK LAYOUT: 2.385-mile, 12-turn road course
RACE LENGTH: 85 laps / 202.73 miles

2014 WINNER: Scott Dixon
2014 POLESITTER: Will Power (1:17.4126 / 110.912 mph)

STREET START/FINISH: Pole at St. Pete (street) 2009 / 1st at St. Pete in 2008 and Mid-Ohio in 2015
START/FINISH: 6th in 2009 with NHLR / 5th in 2012 with SCCGR; will be his eighth Indy car race here

FINISH AT SONOMA: 6th / 2nd — both in 2005 by Buddy Rice


The 2015 GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma race will mark the eighth Indy car event for RLL here. The highest start and finish for the team here is by Buddy Rice in 2005 when he started sixth and finished second. Prior to the 2015 event, the team prepared a total of 13 Indy car entries for drivers Buddy Rice (2005-2006), Vitor Meira (2005), Danica Patrick (2005-2006), Jeff Simmons (2006), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007-2008), Takuma Sato (2012), Graham Rahal (2013-2014) and James Jakes (2013). The team has earned one podium (2nd – Rice 2005), one top-five and four top-10 finishes at the track. The No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake entry for Graham Rahal will bring the Indy car total to 14 entries in 2015.

Last year here, Rahal led Laps 64-81 of 85 total while hoping for a caution to enable him to get to the end of the race but had to pit for 2.2 gallons of fuel. Due to extreme fuel conservation, the fuel setting he had been running in didn’t have Pit Lane Speed control and he was given a drive through penalty for speeding when he entered the pits for his splash of fuel and served it on Lap 84 of 85 which ultimately resulted in a 20th place finish.

All drivers and teams are competing with a heavy heart after well–respected driver Justin Wilson passed away due to injuries sustained at Pocono Raceway.
“Justin was the epitome of a great guy, an incredible teammate, great father and a wonderful friend. My time spent with him will forever be time I cherish, and I learned more from him than any other teammate I ever had. He led by example, he cared about others and the greater good, and he had a genuine way about him that you always knew you were safe when he was around you on the racetrack. We will race to honor him this weekend.

After contact by Tristan Vautier led to a crash and subsequent 20th place finish in Pocono, Rahal’s pre-Pocono deficit to series points leader Juan Pablo Montoya grew from 9 to 34 heading into the season finale. Rahal has a total of 466 points to leader Montoya’s 500. He is 13 points ahead of third place Scott Dixon (453), 27 points ahead of fourth place Will Power (439), and 43 ahead of fifth place Helio Castroneves (423). The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma is a double points race.
“Last year (at Sonoma), we got through a bunch of challenges and we were able to get to the front of the pack and lead a bunch of laps, but unfortunately we didn’t top off with fuel on one of the last yellows so while we led 18 laps late in the race we needed a yellow the entire time. We saved a lot of fuel and damn near made it, but we had to stop with a couple of laps to go for a splash. With that in mind, I feel pretty confident that we can have a similar sort of race this year in the Steak ‘n Shake Honda in terms of running up front and being a contender. At this point we have to go there to win, we have no other choice. In order to beat (Juan Pablo) Montoya, we have no choice. We’re going to go all out, do the best we possibly can and see what happens. I still have a lot of confidence going into race weekend. Obviously I would have liked to have the type of momentum we had after Mid-Ohio going into Sonoma, but it is what it is. We went from the highest of highs after Mid-Ohio to the lowest of lows, but we’re going to go out there with a fresh mentality, attack as hard as we can and get the best result we possibly can.”

The 2015 event will his eighth Indy car race here. His best start is sixth place with Newman/Haas/ Lanigan Racing (NHLR) in 2009 and best finish is fifth with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR) in 2012. He has finished in the top-10 in four of his seven races. In 2014, he avoided a multi-car collision on the start in Sonoma and moved from his 14th place qualifying position to 12th. He pit out of sequence on Lap 8 and climbed up to run fourth before his second stop where he pit under caution with Sato and Conway, but those two topped off two additional times before green conditions which helped them later. Rahal climbed back into fourth when the majority of the field pitted during a caution for Saavedra and later passed Briscoe, Kanaan and Conway to take the lead on Lap 64 of 85 which he held until Lap 81 when he had to pit for 2.2 gallons of fuel. Due to extreme fuel conservation, the fuel setting he had been running in didn’t have Pit Lane Speed control and he was given a drive through penalty for speeding when he entered the pits for his splash of fuel and served it on Lap 84 of 85 which ultimately resulted in a 20th place finish. Rahal qualified eighth in 2013, ran as high as sixth but contact while in the middle of a three-wide situation dropped him to the back and he rallied to finish 11th. He qualified 15th for SCCGR in 2012, started 13th after grid penalties were served and finished fifth. He qualified 13th for SCCGR in 2011 and finished eighth. In 2010, he qualified 16th with NHR and finished 9th. Made the final Firestone Fast Six in qualifying six times in the seven road/street races in 2009 and started sixth in Sonoma for NHLR. Contact on the opening lap with Marco Andretti forced an early stop for a new front wing but his drive shaft broke when he attempted to leave the pits. After the car was repaired in the garage area, he returned to the track many laps down in 21st position and ultimately retired in the same place after completing 30 of the 75 laps. He started 15th and finished 8th here in 2008 with NHLR.