Rahal Nearly Recovered from Brake Line Issue at Start of Dual 2 in Detroit But Timing of Caution Negated Strategy and He Finished 11th

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing logo

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans

Verizon IndyCar Series





GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “Right away on the first lap off the grid the brake line came loose so we came in to fix that and I didn’t get to take the start which is frustrating. That was pretty much the tone of our day, a whole bunch of bad luck. Right when we were looking like we were back in contention, it went yellow for Hawksworth which killed us because we were on our in-lap for the pits. It is what it is. That pretty much takes us out of contention for the championship for this year so we might as well go have some fun now.”


FAST FACTS: Rahal qualified seventh but while he was on track for the pace laps, he reported an issue with his brakes so he pitted and the team checked the car. As the field took the green, a multi-car accident happened and the caution flag came out.  Rahal was sent back on track and stayed out until the pits opened then returned to the pits so the team could bleed the brakes. He returned to the track after the issue was fixed and had to catch up to the field but was able to stay on the lead lap due to the caution. Alternate strategy played out until he was running fifth as others cycled through their final stops. The team called him into the pits but before he could get to the entry, a caution flag was brought out on Lap 50/70 for Hawksworth’s crash and the pits were closed thus negating him to take advantage of the strategy that had worked out thus far.  Only four cars had yet to pit, including Rahal who was now third behind Bourdais and Kimball. He held the position through the restart and went on to take the lead on Lap 59/70 before he pitted for a splash of fuel only and ultimately finished 11th.  It was his 10th race here. He ran as high as second and finished fourth after starting 10th in Dual 1 yesterday… In his previous eight races here, his best finishes have come in the two years with second in 2014 (Dual 1) and third in 2015 (Dual 2).  In 2015, he started 13th in Detroit Race 1 but was in 15th place on a wet track on a Lap 6 restart. The field entered Turn 1 and Coletti attempted an ambitious three-wide pass but contact with Jakes pushed Jakes into Kanaan who bounced off the tires and into Rahal’s path. Right-side front suspension damage forced him to retire in 23rd place.  Standing water cancelled qualifying for Race 2 and the grid was set by entrant points so Rahal started fifth. He lost positions to Newgarden, Munoz and Bourdais in the opening laps but regained seventh when Munoz had mechanical problems. After the first cycle of stops concluded he regained seventh place and moved to sixth when Power pit to change his steering wheel. He came out eight from his second stop as those who took over the top three didn’t pit. On a restart, he lost a position to Castroneves but later gained it back by passing Newgarden when Castroneves did. He moved to sixth once Hunter-Reay made his out-of-sequence stop. Sato attempted a pass on Lap 48 but Rahal was able to stay ahead.  Dixon, who was on rain tires while the majority of the field were on slicks, held up a pack of cars until Rahal and others were able to pass him. He moved into fourth when Power also pit. He lost traction on the exit of Turn 11 and made his one move to the outside in front of Sato but the series deemed it blocking and he had to give up a position during the caution for Dixon and Kimball. On the restart, he passed Montoya for third. Fuel was tight for race leader Bourdais and a 10 minute red flag to clear debris from contact between teammates Power and Castroneves deemed the race a timed event once it resumed. Once it was restarted, Rahal closed on Sato but was unable to pass and finished third to Sato and Bourdais who was able to stretch his fuel in the shortened race and win… In 2014 he qualified 9th for Dual 1 in Detroit, led 10 laps, challenged for the win and finished second. He started 14th in Dual 2 after the team elected to qualify on primary tires to save a set of red alternate tires for the race – a strategy that didn’t pay off. On the opening lap, Power, who was later penalized with a drive through penalty for avoidable contact, squeezed Newgarden in Turn 4 and the two made contact. Rahal was behind the two and had nowhere to go and hit Newgarden before Wilson ran into the rear of the No. 15 entry which resulted in gear problems. By the time the team replaced the front nose and repaired the gear sensor, he returned to the track seven laps down. He ultimately retired in 21st place after he brushed the wall and damaged his suspension after completing 43 of 70 laps… He qualified 14th for Dual 1 in Detroit in 2013 but started 23rd due to an unapproved engine change at Indy.  He gained three spots on the opening lap and another two on the first restart on Lap 4. The team elected for an alternate strategy and the timing of the caution flags worked in the team’s favor and Rahal was able to climb 14 spots to finish ninth.  He qualified 15th for Dual 2 in Detroit and finished ninth… In 2012, he qualified seventh with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing but had a 10-grid penalty for an unapproved engine change and started 17th.  He was eighth when he made his final stop on Lap 45/60 but during the red flag stop to repair the track, a clutch problem surfaced and he was unable to continue and retired in 19th place. In 2008 he drove for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and progressed to the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying for the first time in his series career and qualified sixth.  The team chose the same pit strategy as then race leader Dixon which almost worked but a late race fourth caution botched the plan and he had to stop for a splash of fuel with three laps to go and dropped to 13th… He is ranked 12th in series point standings with 225.  Entering the Indy 500 he was fifth but dropped to seventh after qualifying and 12th after the race.  He trails leader Simon Pagenaud by 132 points (357), and fifth place Carlos Munoz by 17 (242).


NEXT UP: The team will return to Indianapolis tonight and finish preparation of the race cars to be used in Texas on Monday and Tuesday.  The transporter will depart the Brownsburg shop en route to Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone 600 early on Wednesday morning.  The race will be broadcast live on NBCSN beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 11.