Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
DXC Technology 600 – Texas Motor Speedway
Round 9 of 17 in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series
PRACTICE BROADCASTS: Live on www.Indycar.com with analysis from the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network (AAPIRN) and on the INDYCAR YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indycar) on Friday beginning at 12:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. ET. Also on the INDYCAR 18 app.
TRACK LAYOUT: 1.455-mile oval
RACE LENGTH: 248 laps / 360.84 miles
2017 WINNER: Will Power
2017 POLESITTER: Charlie Kimball(2-lap average speed of 222.556 mph)
RAHAL’S BEST TMS START/FINISH: 3rd in 2012 / 1st in 2016; will be his 11th race here
RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES START/FINISH: Pole at St. Pete (street) 2009, Kansas (oval) 2009, Detroit (street) 2017 / 1st in St. Pete in 2008, Fontana (oval; 500 miles) 2015, Mid-Ohio (road) 2015, Texas (oval) 2016; Detroit Race 1 (street) 2017, Detroit Race 2 (street) 2017
SATO’S BEST TMS START/FINISH: 4th in with 2016 (Foyt) & 2011 (KVRT) / 5th in 2011 with KVRT; will be his 10th race here
SATO’S HIGHEST SERIES START/FINISH: Pole at Iowa (oval) 2011, Edmonton (street) 2011, Houston Race 1 (street) 2013, St. Pete (street) 2014, Detroit Dual 2 (street) 2014, Detroit Dual 2 2017, Pocono (oval) 2017 / 1st in Long Beach (2013), Indianapolis 500 (2017)
RLL’S TOP START/ FINISH AT TMS: 1st by Scott Sharp 2007 / 1st by Graham Rahal 2016
NEWS & NOTES:
TEAM RETURNS TO TMS TO ATTEMPT TO ADD TO POLE AND WIN RECORD
The DXC Technology 600 will mark the 16th event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR) at the 1.5-mile, high-banked Texas Motor Speedway oval. The team’s highest start of pole with Scott Sharp came in 2007 and highest finish of first came in 2016 with Graham Rahal. The team earned another front row start in 2004 when Buddy Rice qualified second. Overall the team has earned five top-five finishes and eight top-10’s at the track.
Prior to the 2018 event, the team prepared a total of 21 entries for drivers such as Kenny Brack (2003 x2), Buddy Rice (2004 x2; 2005, 2006), Vitor Meira (2004 x2; 2005), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Jay Howard (2011, Schmidt/RLL) Takuma Sato (2012), James Jakes (2013) and Graham Rahal (2013-2017). The No. 15 entry for Graham Rahal and No. 30 entry for Takuma Sato will bring that total to 23 in 2018.
GRAHAM HOPES TO CONTINUE THE LOVE PART OF HIS “LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP” AT TMS
In his 10 races here, his best start came in 2012 of third and best finish is his win in 2016. In 2017, Rahal drove to a 4th place finish after avoiding many crashes in an action-packed 248-lap race that saw a red flag stop to clear the track after a crash that collected eight cars and later, competition yellows for mandatory pit stops for new tires, among other events. Near the end of the race, Rahal pitted from fifth place on Lap 225/248 during a competition yellow and mandatory stop but stalled leaving the pits and returned to the track in ninth. He was in seventh place when Sato and Dixon made contact and collected other cars with four laps to go. The race ended under caution with Rahal in fourth place. The June 11, 2016 race was postponed until June 12 due to rain which again postponed the race to August 27 after the field complete 71 of 248 scheduled laps before rain came again. Rahal had qualified 13th for the race and was in 12th when it was halted. On August 27, he restarted on Lap 72 and quickly moved to sixth place. He maintained a top-five position the majority of the time except after pitting and never was lower than eighth. He ran second many times and only led once – the final lap – and won by a margin of victory of 0.0080-of a second in what is the fifth-closest finish in Indy car history and the closest finish at Texas Motor Speedway. In 2015, he qualified sixth and finished 15th. In 2014, he qualified 21st and finished 12th and in 2013 he qualified 19th and finished 21st after struggling with the handling of his race car. He qualified third in 2012, led 27 laps and looked close to earning what would have been his second series victory but a slight brush of the wall with two laps to go forced him to settle for second place with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR). He qualified 20th for the first of two heat races in 2011 and finished ninth with SCCGR. He drew the fourth starting spot for Race 2 in 2011 and finished 30th. He did not compete in Texas in 2010 during his partial season of competition. He qualified 12th with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) in 2009 but retired in 22nd place after contact. In 2008, he qualified 18th and finished 11th with NHLR. Rahal aims to post a good result to put the disappointment of crashing with a top-three finish in sight in Detroit Dual 1.
“It has been a love/hate relationship for me at Texas Motor Speedway my whole career. I have had some really good moments and some moments that weren’t so good. In recent years it has certainly been more on the love side since we have had some great results. I think it’s a great place for us to go to right after this past weekend. I think it’s a place we can go to and have a good result so I’m definitely excited to get out there and get running in the Fleet Cost & Care Honda.”
TAKUMA AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
In his nine previous races here, Takuma has a best start of fourth place, two times (2016 with A.J. Foyt Racing; 2011 with KVRT) and has earned two top-10 finishes with the best being fifth place in 2011 with KVRT. He is expecting another exciting race at Texas Motor Speedway.
“Texas is always exciting, a typical 1.5 mile oval! The last few years we had very close racing and I enjoyed it. We will go back to the Speedway and put on another exciting show. We want to get a good result and make up some ground in the championship. Hopefully we have a strong package at Texas.”
RAHAL ON THE NEW AERO KIT AT TMS
The new universal aero kit that debuted this season has tasked drivers and teams to adapt to a new challenge. After races on the one-mile oval outside Phoenix and super speedway configuration at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the high banked, 1.5 mile oval at Texas Motor Speedway will be a new challenge.
“I think the new aero kit is going to behave quite differently than it did at Indy but I also think that when we show up it’s going to be a real work in progress. I’m sure that from an aerodynamic perspective, INDYCAR is going to have to keep doing some work to get it right. If you look at the way the aero package is set up currently, I think that it’s going to be very difficult to run together but I did not test there so I’m not a great judge of that because I haven’t had any laps there yet. But I definitely think it’s going to be a work in progress and the folks at INDYCAR are ready, willing and able to adjust if we need to, to make the show great.”
GRAHAM ON A NEW LIVERY FOR TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
The No. 15 entry for Graham Rahal will feature first-time primary sponsor Fleet Cost & Care, who has been an associate sponsor of the team since 2016.
“It’s great to have Fleet Cost & Care with us this weekend as our primary sponsor,” said Rahal. “They have been a tremendous partner of ours in such a short period of time. They have come on full speed and have made a big effort to support the program and we look forward to carrying their colors.”
POINT STANDINGS AFTER 8 OF 17 RACES
After 8 of 17 races, Rahal is seventh in series point standings with a total of 221 and Sato is 14th with a total of 143. Leader Will Power has 309, followed by second place Scott Dixon (304), third place Alexander Rossi (298), fourth place Ryan Hunter-Reay (278), and fifth place Josef Newgarden (270).
“We’ve had a great season so far minus my error in Detroit,” said Rahal. “I definitely think that we’re in a pretty good spot. We’ve just got to keep it going. A good, solid weekend will help a ton, points-wise. It would get us right up there in the hunt.”