Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Presented by PennGrade
Verizon IndyCar Series
RACE DAY NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, May 29, 2016
MULTIPLE CHALLENGES LED TO A 14TH PLACE FINISH FOR RAHAL IN THE INDY 500; TIMING OF CLOSED PIT CONTRIBUTED TO PIGOT RUNNING OUT OF FUEL UNDER CAUTION AND HE ULTIMATELY FINISHED 25TH
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Dallara/Honda/Firestone entered under the name Rahal Letterman Lanigan with Theodore Racing: “It just wasn’t our day. We just never had the pace all day which is kind of weird. We broke a left rear winglet in the pits. Someone was pushing the car and then we had to stop because Pippa (in the next pit) was coming in. The winglet was broken in the process which really hurt us because we lost a lot of downforce there but it also then left a blunt end on the car so it had a lot of drag and the car was really slow on the straights. Then we fought our way back up to the front and that final yellow killed us because we needed to pit and they didn’t open the pits. I don’t know why, but they waited an extra lap over what they normally do so we had to pit for a splash of fuel to make it until we could come in for a full stop. We kept our heads down and kept pushing. Our goal was to put the Steak ‘n Shake car in Victory Lane and we didn’t do it. We’re going to have to wait another year to think about this. We missed a golden opportunity here. We had a great race car but there were just too many little errors today, not necessarily any one thing. Hell, I’m just happy we finished. I think three or four guys crashed in front of me. Every time, it was everything I could do to get the car slowed down without hitting them. We couldn’t get the fuel mileage to make it to the end so we just bailed on that strategy and tried to run hard but it was too little, too late. I hate gas mileage races and feel pretty bad for some guys.”
FAST FACTS: Rahal ran 10th in the final stage of the race despite many challenges before a Lap 190/200 stop for a splash of fuel was followed by a 14th place finish in a race in a race where the outcome was dictated by fuel strategy. Rahal lost his left rear winglet and 100 lbs. of downforce after his Lap 96/200 pit stop, had to make an extra stop for a splash of fuel in a closed pit before it opened and avoid two near misses when Montoya and Aleshin crashed in separate incidents immediately in front of Rahal. He also took a hit to the right rear of the car by Servia. Despite those incidents, he would have been in a decent position if he had been able to stretch his fuel mileage until the checkered flag… Started his ninth Indy 500 from 26th place… His best qualifying position in the Indy 500 is fourth in 2009 with Newman/Haas/LaniganRacing and best finish is third with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 after he led six laps. He ran in the top-five in five of his eight previous races here. In 2008, with Newman/ Haas/Lanigan Racing, he was the highest Indy 500 starter of the Champ Car transitioning teams with his 13th place qualifying effort but made contact on L36 after driving high to avoid the slower car of Lloyd and retired in 33rd place. He qualified fourth for NHLR in the 2009 Indy 500 but made contact on L56 while fifth and retired in 31st. In 2010, he competed for his father’s team – RLL – for the first time in an Indy car. He qualified seventh and ran as high as second but a blocking penalty on L188/200 dropped him from third to a 12th place finish. He qualified 29th with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 and earned his best finish at Indy to date of third place after he led six laps. In 2012, he qualified 12th, ran as high as third and finished 13th for SCCGR. In 2013, he qualified 26th and pitted from ninth place for his second to last stop and his outside rear tire changer had a mechanical problem and Rahal returned to the track in 21st place. He was in 17th with eight laps to go and lost control of his car in Turn 2 and made contact with the wall. In 2014, he started 20th but finished 33rd due to an electrical problem that kept shutting his engine off. In 2015, he drove to a fifth place finish after starting 17th. … His best qualifying position of the season so far is third at the IMS road course (later DQ’d due to being a few pounds under weight) and best finish is second at Barber… He was fifth in series point standings before qualifying and the race but dropped to seventh after qualifying and 12th after the double-points-paying race with a total of 165.
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 16 RLL / Mi-Jack / Manitowoc Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The race was pretty eventful; it was pretty crazy out there. We continued to make the car better. We were struggling on the first stint but got it better throughout the race. We made some changes on the wings and we could definitely pass a bit better and run closer as the stints went on so I was pleased with that. But unfortunately we ran out of fuel on the back straight on a yellow that came out and closed the pits just as we were running out. I got stuck there and had to get pulled in and lost a few laps. Overall it was a great experience and I am glad we were able to finish the race. I think we had the potential to finish somewhere around 15th. I want to give a big thanks to all of the guys for their great stops and hard work for the Indy 500 and to Manitowoc, Mi-Jack, Grove and everyone for their support.”
FAST FACTS: By Lap 100/200 Pigot had moved into P22 and on Lap 148 he was P15. He had cycled up to P4 as others made their stops and was pitting on Lap 151 but the pits closed for a crash on Lap 147. He was on the back straight when he ran out of fuel on Lap 153, the same lap the pits opened. He was towed from the warmup lane in T4, where he came to a stop, and once he was towed to the pits and refueled it took a little time for him to build fuel pressure and get restarted. He returned to the track four laps down and ultimately finished 25th… He started the Indy 500 from the 29th position in his first IndyCar Series race on an oval and third overall… In his series debut in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Pigot ran as high as 12th and finished 14th… Pigot is the most successful driver since the formation of the Mazda Road to Indy in 2010 with 24 race wins to his credit in USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. He was the 15th driver to graduate from the Mazda Road to Indy into the Verizon IndyCar Series since 2010. He has won no fewer than four scholarship prizes from Mazda to maintain his career’s momentum to get to the IndyCar Series.