Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway
Verizon IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – August 19, 2017
RAHAL QUALIFIED SEVENTH FOR THE ABC SUPPLY 500 AT POCONO RACEWAY
POLE: Takuma Sato 2-lap avg. speed of 219.639 mph (L1: 220.045, L2: 219.235)
7th: Graham Rahal 2-lap avg. speed of 218.099 mph (L1: 218.252, L2: 217.947)
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Bobby Rahal Automotive Group Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a good, solid run for us but we’re obviously very lucky because we had a pretty bad puncture. You can hear the air coming out from the puncture from here it’s so big. The car balance wasn’t bad in Turn 3 but I noticed in Turn 1 that there was a lot of bottoming which was upsetting the balance on entry. We have a right rear that’s flat so we’re just lucky the tire didn’t go and the car is in one piece. Its looks like by the time I finished the run it was down six pounds on air. We didn’t have the easiest run of it in the first practice but we found some things that helped us late in the session. Now we can turn our attention to putting a good car on the track tomorrow and trying to get a win. This is an important race for us, a huge race for us in the championship.”
FAST FACTS: Will be his fifth Indy car race here. In 2016, he started 11th and held the position through the first caution for contact by Sato. After the restart, he was passed by Hunter-Reay but reclaimed the position a few laps later. Once the first pit stop cycle began, he pitted from fourth place. A pit issue on the inside front tire cost a few positions but he cycled back up to 12th. The handling of his car wasn’t as good on this stint and he dropped to 16th place. Before his next stop, he cycled up to 10th. As he was approaching his pit box, a scary accident between Rossi and Castroneves, who was positioned on one side of Rahal’s pit, and Kimball, who was on the other side made a quick stop and launch challenging but Rahal got back on track without much issue. He took the restart eighth and passed Andretti for seventh on Lap 71/200. Once leader Aleshin pit on Lap 93, he moved to sixth place, and fifth to Hinchcliffe. When Hinchcliffe pit on Lap 94, the team elected to pit with him. Once back on track, he moved up to seventh by Lap 100/200 and was passed for eighth by eventual winner Power on Lap 106. He cycled up to fourth place before his fourth pit but the handling of his race car wasn’t as good on the stint and he was passed by Kanaan for eighth on Lap 129 and dropped to 11th by Lap 148/200. He pitted from 10th place for his fifth stop on Lap 150 and again from 10th place for his sixth stop on Lap 160 during the caution for points leader Pagenaud, who crashed. Hinchcliffe passed him on the Lap 162 restart. By Lap 164 he moved up to sixth place but was passed by four cars to drop to 10th place on Lap 168. The final caution of the race came on Lap 175 for debris and the majority of the field made their last stops. On Lap 189, Hinchcliffe passed Rahal and made slight contact in the process but the two continued and Rahal ultimately finished 11th… In 2015, he started fifth and ran in the top-eight until a fueling problem on his second pit stop dropped him to 20th place. On Lap 66/200, he was in 16th place on a restart and got a run on Justin Wilson and pulled inside him on track. They were two-wide until Tristan Vautier decided to dive low inside, partially on the track, and make it three-wide. Vautier made contact with Rahal and spun the two into the wall. Both were checked and released from the medical center. The DNF hindered his title bid after having entered the penultimate race in second place and only 9 points behind leader Montoya who finished third and increased his lead to 34 points entering the double-points season-finale in Sonoma… In 2014, he started 14th and moved into 11th on the opening lap but his helmet pad on the right side of the cockpit flew out of the car and he gradually dropped to 19th. The helmet pad helps the drivers head stay upright while sustaining high G-Forces for 200 laps and he was unable to see as well. Once he made his first stop and the team replaced the helmet pad he steadily climbed back up the field and ran 12th midway through the race and held the fastest lap of the race through his third stint. He was in 11th place when a problem surfaced on Lap 158/200. The car appeared to abruptly change and Rahal spun. The side of the car made contact with the Turn 2 wall and he ultimately retired in 19th place… In 2013 he qualified 17th, started 16th due to a grid penalty ahead and finished 18th… His top finishes this season are wins in Dual 1 and Dual 2 in Detroit and top start is pole for Detroit Dual 1… Rahal is sixth in series point standings with a total of 395. He is 58 points behind leader Josef Newgarden (453), 51 behind second place Helio Castroneves (446), 50 behind third place Scott Dixon (445), 41 behind fourth place Simon Pagenaud (436) and six behind fifth place Will Power (401).
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT POCONO AND IN 500 MILE RACES… Will be the fifth race for the team at this track. The team entered cars for Graham Rahal and James Jakes in 2013 and Rahal in 2014-2016. Rahal earned the best start for the team here with fifth place in 2015 and the best finish is 12th by Jakes in 2013. The team’s highest 500-mile start is pole by Buddy Rice in the 2004 Indy 500 and the team has three 500-mile wins – 2004 Indy 500 by Buddy Rice, 2002 by Jimmy Vasser and 2015 by Graham Rahal – both at Auto Club Speedway.
NEXT UP: The 200-lap ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway will take the Green Flag at 2:46 p.m. ET Sunday. NBC Sports Network will begin live coverage at 2 p.m. ET.