Source: Team PR
Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingAcura Grand Prix of Long Beach
Round 3 of 17 in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, April 15, 2023
THE STARTING ORDER IS SET FOR THE ACURA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH
1) Kyle Kirkwood 1:06.2878 / 106.879 mph (Group 1, Round 3)
15) Jack Harvey 1:07.3150 / 105.248 mph (Group 1, Round 1)
17) Christian Lundgaard 1:07.3957 / 105.122 mph (Group 1, Round 1)
24) Graham Rahal 1:07.0909 / 105.600 mph (Group 2, Round 1)
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We expected way more from qualifying after our performance in the practice sessions so I’m disappointed. Perhaps we were overconfident. Maybe we should have run alternate / alternate tires for the two runs instead of primary and alternate tires just to try to guarantee ourselves through to Round 2 but how do you know that is what would be best until after? We expected to be there but certainly had way too much understeer and on the one lap that was looking decent, it would have been P7 and not enough to advance but that was the optimum. This race is a wild card, and we’ll just see how it plays out.”
FAST FACTS: Will be his 16th Champ/Indy car race here and 17th overall. His best IndyCar start here is fifth in 2007 and best finish is second place in 2013. In 2022, he started 13th and cycled into second place by stretching his first stint before he stopped on Lap 31. He returned to the track in 10th place before the next round of stops began and he pit from sixth place on Lap 56 of 85 after Herta crashed. He returned to the track in eighth place and claimed seventh when third place runner Ericsson made contact and also hit teammate Dixon, who was able to continue. Johnson and Malukas brought out another caution flag from Laps 76-79 and on the restart, Rahal had the most “push to pass” of those in the top-10. He had a run on Dixon but was unable to pass and took the checkered flag in seventh place. In 2021,he ran as high as second place two times and led four laps but the timing of a caution while he was on his in-lap for his final pit stop dropped him to 20th. He came back to finish 16th…. A recap of results is available upon request… He also competed in the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Series race here… Has SIX IndyCar Series wins (2008 – St. Pete street course; 2015 – Fontana Super Speedway, Mid-Ohio road course; 2016 – Texas Super Speedway; 2017 Detroit Race 1, Detroit Race 2) and THREE poles (2009 – St. Pete street course, Kansas oval; 2017 – Detroit Race 1 street) and his highest series season-ending standing is fourth place in 2015. He is currently ranked 13th in series point standings with 34 points.
JACK HARVEY, No. 30 Kustom Entertainment Dallara/Honda/Firestone:“Long Beach is such a track with momentum and confidence and if we’d have had that extra rear grip, that we thought the reds (alternate tires) would give us, we would’ve been able to just roll through the corner a little bit better and position the car a little bit better. But, we missed it by a half a tenth and I think compared to where we have been on other weekends, you’d have been happy about that. So, I do feel like, although that wasn’t the result that we wanted, overall, it’s been positive and a couple of small things would’ve made more than made a difference. I think it’s been a productive year and I don’t think we can let Texas determine the year. I credit everybody on the team for maintaining their good attitude and good general atmosphere because you can’t let that bleed into the weekend. The street circuit package has been pretty good that we drove in St. Pete. I think the race pace looks very strong and so hopefully although qualifying didn’t go well, tomorrow will be even better. Actually, my engineer, Allan, got me a birthday present that he can’t give me until about 2:30 pm tomorrow afternoon so I’m hoping it’s a race win.”
FAST FACTS: He has competed in four INDYCAR races here with his best finish of seventh place coming in 2021 after he led one lap. He also has experience starting up front after having won pole in one of this two Indy Lights races at the track in 2015. He is ranked 22nd in series point standings with 20 points.
CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD, No. 45 Hy-Vee Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We didn’t have the pace in qualifying unfortunately. We expected a little bit more progress from practice to qualifying. We are working hard to improve our package for the race. It will definitely be an interesting one as this race always is.”
FAST FACTS: The 2023 race will be his second here. In 2022, his finishing position was limited after running out of fuel entering the pits for his first stop, which put him two laps down and he ultimately finished 18th. He is ranked 14th in series point standings with 33.
3 POLES, 6 PODIUMS FOR RLL IN 22 INDY CAR RACES AT LONG BEACH: The 2023 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (AGPLB) marks the 23rd time for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) to compete in the event. Although the team didn’t compete in Indy car races here from 2004-2011 while they fielded a fulltime entry in the Indy Racing League (2004-2008), they did compete in the 2003 and 2004 Atlantic races with Danica Patrick and in the 2007 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race. In total, the team has won three poles (Herta 1998, Vasser 2002, Jourdain, Jr. 2003); made five front row starts including an all-Team Rahal front row in 1998 (2nd – Rahal 1998, Brack 2001); earned their best finish of second place four times (Rahal 1992-1993, Vasser 2002, G. Rahal 2013) and earned six podiums here (2nd – Rahal 1992-1993, Vasser 2002 & G. Rahal 2013; 3rd – Herta 1998-1999). From 2009-2019, the team competed on the streets of Long Beach in the GTLM class of the ALMS/IMSA with BMW Team RLL and as finished on the podium each year but 2016-2019 although they started from pole in 2016 and led all three of those races. The venue is still the most successful for the team on the current IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule with wins in 2011, 2013 and 2015, eight podium finishes and five poles in 12 years. BMW M Team RLL has a two-car entry in the GTP class of IMSA and is competing for the overall sports car win for the first time here this weekend.
NEXT UP: Pre-race warmup will take place Sunday morning from 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. PDT. The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will be televised live on NBC Sports beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 16.