Rahal Set the 16th Fastest Time Overall in Practice for the GoPro GP of Sonoma INDYCAR Season Finale

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma – Sonoma Raceway
Verizon IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, September 16, 2016

1) Helio Castroneves 1:16.6678 / 111.990 mph
16) Graham Rahal 1:17.4976 / 110.791 mph (3rd in Practice 1; 20th in Practice 2)

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The Steak ‘n Shake Honda was half decent in the first session but in the second practice session we didn’t get to do a new-tire run so it’s very hard to say where we were going to end up had the two red flags not come out. There is a lot of work to be done tonight. We need to come up with some new concepts to change the characteristics of this car.”

* FAST FACTS: Will be his ninth Indy car race here. His best start is sixth place with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) in 2009 and RLL in 2015 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 eight races… In 2015, he started sixth and struggled with the handling of the rear of the race car for the majority of the race and the field also dealt with tire management. He was in sixth place with 9 laps to go when Sebastien Bourdais hit him from behind and he dropped to 19th. Bourdais was penalized for “avoidable contact” and had to serve a drive through but the incident dropped Rahal from a third-place series standing to fourth and he finished the race in 18th place… 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… His top finish overall this season is a win at Texas Motor Speedway (oval) and his top road/street course finish is second place at Barber Motorsports Park. His top start is sixth at Barber and Road America. He also qualified third for the Indy GP but his car was disqualified for being a few pounds underweight… He is seventh in series standings with a total of 403 points and is 43 behind fifth place Josef Newgarden (446) and 48 behind third place (Castroneves & Dixon, 451).

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT SONOMA … The race will mark the ninth Indy car event for RLL here. The highest start for the team here is sixth by Buddy Rice in 2005 and Graham Rahal in 2015. The highest finish is second place by Buddy Rice in 2005. Prior to the 2016 event, the team prepared a total of 14 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), James Jakes (2013) and Graham Rahal (2013-2015). 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 15 entries in 2016.

NEXT UP: Practice 3 will take place tomorrow from 11:00-11:45 a.m. ET and qualifying will be 3:05 – 4:20. NBCSN will air a special championship/qualifying show live from 5:00-7:30 ET Saturday. Timing and Scoring information and live streaming video is available for all sessions not televised from www.indycar.com and includes live commentary by the INDYCAR Radio Network. The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma will be televised live on NBCSN beginning at 6:30 PM ET Sunday, September 18.