Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix
Verizon IndyCar Series
RACE 1 NOTES/QUOTES – June 3, 2017
RAHAL WON HIS FIRST RACE FROM POLE IN DOMINATING FASHION IN RACE 1 OF THE CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX DOUBLEHEADERS; SERVIA RAN AS HIGH AS EIGHTH BUT A PIT PENALTY LIMITED HIM TO 20TH
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 SoldierStrong / TurnsforTroops.com Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I’m very fortunate for the team around me. The guys did a tremendous job. For United Rentals, SoldierStrong and Turns For Troops, we raised a lot more money and hopefully we sold some T-shirts today. We’re looking forward to tomorrow. First of all, I got to say thanks to my boys. The guys did a great job in the pits. You know, Eddie, Martin, Mike, Tom, all the engineers, Alex, all the guys that came up with this setup. As I said yesterday, we rolled off the truck and it was right there. So I’m definitely pleased with that because we changed one thing this weekend. That doesn’t normally happen. That’s why I felt like I just didn’t want to mess up today. Actually, I’ll be honest, I didn’t sleep great last night because I knew that I was good enough for the first time in a long time, that the car, myself, everything was good enough here to legitimately be on pole, and to set the tone here. That doesn’t happen all the time. You know, for us, it doesn’t happen that often. In fact, I can be honest and say I don’t know that I’ve ever felt that confident in my entire career going into a race day as we did today. I just felt like, you know, if everything went well, that we were going to be very hard to beat. And that proved to be true today. You know, I just didn’t want to mess up. I tried the entire race, Just give yourself a gap. I never pushed a single lap to 100% on purpose. I just wanted to keep my margins, you know, just hit my marks. The first, you know, 55 laps went quick. The last 15 seemed to take a decade. But, you know, it was a lot of fun out there. We were firing on all cylinders today. We were able to match whatever pace we needed to. We were able to run some blistering fast times while saving a ton of fuel. So thanks to Honda for that. I could certainly do the number that I needed to. It’s been a good place to me in the past. Today we were very fortunate, you know, that the yellows weren’t poorly timed or anything like that. We were able to stay out front, to build the gap that we needed to, and obviously run hard. It seems like we’re in a pretty good spot going into tomorrow. You would think that’s obvious after having just been on the front row and been on pole. Been on the front row no matter what, but winning the race. It’s not as obvious as you think. Tomorrowmorning we’ll go out there, I can guarantee, being cooler temperatures, the potential of rain, everything else, it’s going to be a whole new day. Hopefully it’s ours again.”
FAST FACTS: Rahal led a dominating 55 of 70 laps en route to his fifth series victory and first from pole in Race 1 of the Detroit Grand Prix. Earlier in the day he earned his third series pole and first since Kansas 2009. He handily held the lead with the exception of pit cycles and built a gap of more than 13 seconds at one point before he ultimately won by a six-second margin over Scott Dixon… The event was Rahal’s 11th here. In his previous 10 races here, his best finishes have come in 2014 with second place in Dual 1 and third place in Dual 2 in 2015. Last year he finished fourth in Dual 1 and started seventh in Dual 2. He was on track for the pace laps when an issue with his brakes surfaced 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.
ORIOL SERVIA, No. 16 Fifth Third Bank Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We were running our race. Starting last, we did what we had to do which was try to do the opposite of what most people were doing in terms of pitting. We knew we had a good pace and it was working out except the driver pushed the pit speed button twice so it engaged and disengaged. And I didn’t realize that so once I pushed the throttle it went over the speed. Then I got the drive through penalty for speeding. It is what it is. At least the team got a win, and a dominant one at that. I’m very happy for the whole team and Graham especially. A win like this brings the morale up for the rest of the season and shows the pace and speed of the car and all of the work done. I hope that I can at least be with him on the podium tomorrow and bring Fifth Third Bank a good result.”
FAST FACTS: Servia started the race in 22nd place and used a quick pace and alternate pit strategy to work his way into the top-10. After pitting from eighth place he served a pit speed penalty that dropped him to the back and he ultimately finished 20th… Today’s race was Servia’s fifth Indy car start here and his return to the track for the first time since 2012. In four Indy Car races, his best start is third in 2008 with KVRT and best finish is third in 2000 with PPI, which was his first career podium finish. In four Indy car starts, he has a third (2000, PPI), fourth (2008, KVRT), fifth (2012, Panther/DRR) and sixth (2001, Sigma) place finish. He also competed in two Indy Lights races here in 1998 and 1999 for Dorricott Racing where his best start – pole — and best finish of second place came in 1999.
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT DETROIT … Today Graham Rahal brought the team its highest start here of pole in their 18th year of competition at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park. It was the team’s 22nd race here. The team’s previous highest start of second place came in the inaugural running on Belle Isle in 1992 by Bobby Rahal and in 2013 by James Jakes in Dual 2. Bobby Rahal also brought the team a win in 1992, Jakes added a third podium for the team in 2013 with his second place finish and Graham Rahal added a fourth and fifth podium with his second place finish in Dual 1 in 2014 and third place finish in Dual 2 in 2015. In total, the team has earned six podiums (2nd – G. Rahal 2014, Jakes 2013 & Max Papis 2000), (3rd – G. Rahal 2015) eight top-five finishes and 16 top-10’s here (chart available).
NEXT UP: Qualifying for Dual 2 will take place tomorrow from 10:45-11:15 a.m. ET and the 70 lap Dual 2 will take the Green Flag at 3:50 PM. Timing and Scoring information and live streaming video is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com and includes live commentary by the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. The Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit Dual 2 will be televised live on ABC beginning at 3:30 PM ET Sunday, June 4.