Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Iowa Corn 300 – Iowa Speedway
Verizon IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, July 8, 2017
RAHAL WILL START 10TH IN SUNDAY’S IOWA CORN 300 AT IOWA SPEEDWAY
POLE: Will Power 2-lap avg. speed of 185.210 mph (L1: 17.3929, L2: 17.3612)
10th: Graham Rahal 2-lap avg. speed of 181.138 mph (L1: 17.8306, L2: 17.7047)
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 GEHL Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I’m disappointed because I think we had a quicker car than that. We just lost the balance a little bit in qualifying but the GEHL boys will continue to work hard to give us the best race car they can. We didn’t get a lot of running in this morning in race trim so hopefully we will be able to do that tonight. It’s not that the car was bad, but I know we had better than that. The balance changed a lot over the run. It looks like we ran more trimmed than most guys but we wanted to take a swing for the fences.”
* FAST FACTS: Will be his 10th race here. He has earned six top-10 finishes in 9 starts with his best being fourth in 2015. In 2016, he started 12th and was up to fifth during the pit cycle before his first pit stop on Lap 58/300. After his stop, he maintained a position around 11th place. He was a lap down but got waved around during the caution period for Hunter-Reay (L109-127) and made a stop at the end of that caution and gained four spots to run eighth. He had previously reported a vibration before that stop and repeated the assessment around Lap 168. The problem kept appearing mid-stint and until the end of the race which forced the team to pit earlier than expected on the remaining stops and Rahal ultimately finished 16th. It was his ninth race here… Rahal earned his best finish at Iowa Speedway of fourth place in 2015 despite dropping a total of three laps down during the race. He started 17th and was 10th when he had to pit early due to his right rear tire deflating and went two laps down to the leader. Later he got back on the lead lap and reported a shifting issue on Lap 98/300 that slowed his return to the track from his second pit stop after having to reboot and he dropped a lap down again. Later in the race, the team took advantage of a caution period to pit for fuel and new tires which would enable them to go further than the leaders on the next stint and possibly pick up a yellow that would put them back on the lead lap. While leading and with five laps to go before they were forced to pit for their last stop, Sato brought out a caution period and the team stopped for fuel and tires. Due to the reoccurring shifting issue, he had to leave the pits in sixth gear rather than first and returned to the track in eight place, and on the lead lap. The race restarted with 23 laps to go and Rahal moved from eighth place into fourth by Lap 294/300. He held his position and finished fourth but he and the team felt like they had earned a victory of sorts… In 2014, he started 15th and stayed on the lead lap with the help of the timing of the caution periods. He made his sixth stop on a late race caution period for Montoya and returned to the track in 10th place. Once the race was restarted with six laps to go he moved up to eighth place and passed Castroneves on the final lap for seventh. He set the 19th fastest lap time in single-car qualifying in 2013 to determine that he would be in Heat Race 2. He drove to victory in Heat Race 2 after starting seventh and progressed to Heat Race 3 where he also started seventh. Contact with Ed Carpenter on Lap 16 of 50 damaged his front wing and he held on to finish ninth of 10 cars to match his best start at Iowa of ninth. He started sixth after engine penalties were served and charged from 10th to second on his second stint. He challenged for the win and led Lap 160 until the last 20 laps where he dropped to fourth while navigating traffic and then fifth on the final lap. In 2012 he qualified 10th, started 20th (penalty for unapproved engine change) and finished ninth with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR). In 2011 he qualified 20th and finished 15th with SCCGR. In 2010, he qualified 17th with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, led 11 laps and finished ninth. In 2009 he qualified ninth and finished 11th with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) and in 2008 he qualified 16th and finished 10th with NHLR… Rahal is ranked seventh in series point standings with a total of 307. He is 72 points behind leader Scott Dixon (379), 38 behind second place Simon Pagenaud (345), 35 behind third place Helio Castroneves (342), 16 behind fourth place Takuma Sato (323), 11 points behind fifth place Josef Newgarden (318) and 9 points behind sixth place Will Power (316).
RLLR AT IOWA: The Iowa Corn Indy 300 will mark the eighth event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR) at Iowa Speedway. The best finish for the team is third in 2007 by Scott Sharp who also earned the top start for the team of fourth the same year. Prior to the 2017 event, the team prepared a total of nine entries for drivers Scott Sharp (2007), Jeff Simmons (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Takuma Sato (2012) Graham Rahal (2013-2016) and James Jakes (2013). The team has earned one podium (3rd, Sharp 2007) and five, top-10 finishes at the track. The No. 15 GEHL entry for Graham Rahal will bring the total number of cars entered in the race to 10 in 2017.
NEXT UP: Final practice will take place tonight from 6:15-6:45 p.m. CT. The Iowa Corn 300 will take the Green Flag at 4:44 p.m. CT and NBCSN will begin coverage at 4 p.m. CT / 5 p.m. ET. Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com and includes commentary by the INDYCAR Radio Network.