Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey – WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
Pre-Race Notes
Round 17 of 17 in the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES

DATE:     September 9-11, 2022

PRACTICE BROADCAST:     Live on Peacock Premium on Friday from 5:30 – 6:45 p.m. ET, Saturday from 1:15 – 2:15 p.m. ET and Sunday from 12:00 – 12:30 p.m. ET. Also live on the INDYCAR Radio Network (IRN) and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis).

QUALIFYING BROADCAST:     Live on Peacock Premium, the IRN and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis) from 5:05 – 6:20 p.m. ET Saturday.

RACE BROADCAST:     Live on NBC Sunday, September 11 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. ET. And also on Peacock Premium, IRN, Sirius 211 and XM 205

TRACK LAYOUT:     2.258-mile, 11-turn road course
RACE LENGTH:     95 laps / 214.51 miles

PREVIOUS WINNER:     Colton Herta

PREVIOUS POLESITTER:     Colton Herta (1:10.7994 / 113.798 mph) 

RAHAL’S BEST LAGUNA SECA START / FINISH:     8th in 2019 / 4th in 2021; will be his third INDYCAR race here
RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES START / FINISH:     3 Poles – St. Pete (street) 2009, Kansas (oval) 2009, Detroit (street) 2017 / 6 Wins – St. Pete 2008, Fontana (oval; 500 miles) 2015, Mid-Ohio (road) 2015, Texas (oval) 2016; Detroit Race 1 2017, Detroit Race 2 2017

LUNDGAARD’S BEST START / FINISH AT LAGUNA SECA:     First event
LUNDGAARD’S BEST SERIES START / FINISH:     3rd at Nashville & Portland 2022 / 2nd at the July Indy GP 2022

HARVEY’S BEST START / FINISH AT LAGUNA SECA:     20th / 15th – both in 2021; 2 events
HARVEY’S BEST SERIES START / FINISH:     2nd – Indy GP & Road America (2020), St. Pete 2021 / 3rd at the Indy GP (2019)

RLL’S HIGHEST LAGUNA INDYCAR START / FINISH:     3 Indy car Poles – 1997-1999 (Herta) / 3 Indy car Wins – 1998-1999 (Herta), 2001 (Papis) / 6 Indy car Podiums

RLL’S HIGHEST LAGUNA IMSA START / FINISH:     3 IMSA Poles – 2011, ‘15, ‘19 / 3 IMSA Wins – 2015, ‘17, ‘18 / 11 IMSA Podiums


NEWS & NOTES:

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING RETURNS TO ONE OF ITS MOST SUCCESSFUL TRACKS:     
The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey will mark the 15th Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and second here since 12 consecutive races at the track from 1992-2003. The team has also competed in ALMS and IMSA races here from 2009-2021 as BMW M Team RLL and has earned three wins, three poles and a total of 11 podium finishes to date – including pole and a second-place finish in 2019. The team finished third at the May 1, 2022 race. The Indy car team has earned three wins, three poles and a total of six podiums (1st – Herta 1998-1999; Papis 2001; 2nd – Herta 1996; 3rd: B. Rahal 1992, Papis 1999) including three straight pole positions (Herta 1997-1999).  Prior to the 2022 event, the team prepared a total of 26 Indy car entries for drivers Bobby Rahal (1992-98), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jourdain Jr. (2002-03), Graham Rahal (2019, 2021), Takuma Sato (2019, 2021) and Oliver Askew (2021). The No. 15 United Rentals entry for Graham Rahal, the No. 30 PeopleReady entry for Christian Lundgaard and No. 45 Hy-Vee entry for Jack Harvey will bring the Indy car total to 29 entries in 2022.

RAHAL AIMS TO IMPROVE UPON 2021 FOURTH-PLACE FINISH AT LAGUNA SECA
The 2022 race will mark the third for Graham Rahal at the track. In 2021, Rahal started 12th and ran as high as fourth before his first stop on Lap 18/95. The handling of his race car was better halfway through his second stint and he gained a few spots before he made his second stop from third place on Lap 40.  He pit from second place for his third stop on Lap 67 and was able to leapfrog O’Ward by staying out longer. He held third place for 11 laps before Grosjean, whose tires had six less laps on them, passed him on Lap 84/95 and he held on to finish fourth.  In 2019, he started eighth and lost two positions on the start to Hunter-Reay and Ferrucci. He dropped to 11th on Lap 5 when Rosenqvist passed him and cycled as high as fifth place before his second pit stop on Lap 39. He ran 10th for the majority of his next stint before his third and final stop and came out 11th. He later lost a position to Hunter-Reay on Lap 68 of 90 and ultimately took the checkered flag 12th. After testing at Laguna Seca on August 29 and setting the fourth fastest lap, he hoping to continue the momentum from a fifth-place finish last Sunday in Portland and finish the season strong.
            “I thought we were pretty solid at the test. We still have some work to do on the balance of the car but it felt like we worked through a ton of different things and were pretty competitive so, that being said, we’ll see how different the track is when we get there this week. We’ve been okay at Laguna; solid. We were fourth there last year, but Laguna is temperamental year-to-year. Its all based on tire degradation and everything else. We will definitely be pushing to get the United Rentals car on the podium. It’s the last race of the year and we’re obviously aiming to get a win. We’ve got a great group of people and we’ve got a winning mentality. We’ve just got to come together this off season and improve in every area. The last race is the start of a lot of work. We’ll take a couple of weeks to get away from racing and clear our minds then come back together and work on ways to improve. But first, we’ve got this last big push.”

THE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR BATTLE EXTENDS TO THE SEASON FINALE FOR LUNDGAARD
Lundgaard was having another great race weekend at the previous race in Portland after qualifying fourth, starting third and taking over second place on the start. A couple of issues in the pits and an off-track excursion while eighth dropped him to a 21st place finish but he is determined to end the season on a high and add the knowledge gained over the Portland weekend to the data collected in a test at Laguna on August 29. Although his lead reduced from +11 to +5 on fellow rookie David Malukas, he is focused on having another strong weekend.
           “I would say that Graham for sure had more pace than we did at the Laguna test. But I think that the car characteristics we started off with in Portland were very similar. As the weekend started, we progressed through the sessions and qualified up at the top so we now have more knowledge for Laguna so I think the weekend itself will be good. David (Malukas) seemed to be quite strong there so we need to be on the top of our game and make sure we stay ahead of absolutely every move and tools they have. The track itself is awesome. It’s extremely low grip, which sort of caught me out. We were testing the limits in absolutely every corner and going off and finding the limits. The track is awesome itself; it’s the right place to hold the finale.”

THIRD TIME IS THE CHARM FOR JACK HARVEY AT LAGUNA SECA
Harvey has raced at Laguna Seca two times. His best start and finish came in 2021 with a 20th place start and 15th place finish. He took a road trip from Portland to the Monterey peninsula to see the sights along the way and is looking forward to his third race at the track after the recent test here.
            “Laguna Seca is a bucket list track for everybody. The corkscrew is so famous; everyone talks about that. I just enjoy driving the track. I’m really excited for when they repave it because right now it’s pretty low grip. I thought the test was fairly productive. I feel like we made some good progress throughout the day and think we ended in a good spot coming back for the race. With it being the season finale, for us there is no pressure since we aren’t fighting for the title or a specific rank but you’re always fighting for a good result. We’ll just go out there and enjoy the weekend and the possibility of having a great one. Laguna is a great place, I love being in Monterey. Its fair to say the season clearly hasn’t gone how we hoped it would. However, any opportunity to get a good result is one we’re going to go for. I think people underplay that a good result can lead us into the off season in a good direction.”

BOBBY RAHAL AT LAGUNA SECA – 11 MAJOR WINS OVER HIS CAREER AS A DRIVER AND TEAM OWNER
Bobby Rahal captured his first major race win at Laguna Seca in the Can Am series in 1979 so it’s only fitting that the track has become the most successful for RLL overall as a team. After that Can Am win, Rahal went on to become the only driver to win four straight Indy car wins at the track from 1984-1987, the 1985 win coming from pole. A third place in 1992 brought him his fifth podium finish at the track. In terms of Indy car history at Laguna Seca, in 22 races from 1983-2004, the most wins other drivers have is two (Danny Sullivan 1988, 1990), Michael Andretti (1991-92), Paul Tracy (1993-94), Bryan Herta with RLL (1998-99), Patrick Carpentier (2003-04).

POINT STANDINGS AFTER 16 OF 17 RACES
Heading into the season-finale, Rahal has a total of 333 points and is ranked 11th overall, -27 from 10th place Rosenqvist, 360. Lundgaard is 15th with 293 and is the highest-ranked rookie (+5 on fellow Rookie of the Year candidate Malukas, 288) and Harvey is 22nd with 199, -14 from 20th place Ilott.