Rahal, Harvey & Lundgaard Aim To Carry Momentum from Recent Road Course Qualifying Performance to the Inaugural Downtown Detroit Grand Prix

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Pre-Race Notes
Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix – Streets of Detroit
Round 7 of 17 in the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES
DATE:     June 2-4, 2023
PRACTICE BROADCAST:     Live on Peacock Premium on Friday from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m., Saturday from 9:05 –10:05 a.m. and Sunday from 10:00 – 10:30 a.m. Also live on the INDYCAR Radio Network (IRN) and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis). All times Eastern.
QUALIFYING BROADCAST:     Live on Peacock Premium, the IRN and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis) from 1:20 – 2:50 p.m. ET Saturday.
RACE BROADCAST:     Live on NBC on Sunday, June 4 from 3 – 6 p.m. ET. And also on Peacock Premium, IRN and Sirius XM 160.
TRACK LAYOUT:     1.7-mile, 9-turn temporary street course – inaugural race
RACE LENGTH:     100 laps / 170 miles
2022 WINNER:     Will Power – Belle Isle
2022 POLESITTER:     Josef Newgarden (112.477) – Belle Isle
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
RAHAL’S BEST DETROIT START / FINISH:     1st in 2017 in Race 1 / 1st in Race 1 and Race 2 in 2017; will be his 19th race in Detroit and first downtown
HARVEY’S BEST START / FINISH AT DETROIT:     18th in 2021 – Race 2 / 15th in 2022; will be his fourth race in Detroit and first downtown
HARVEY’S HIGHEST SERIES START / FINISH:           2nd – Indy GP & Road America (2020), St. Pete 2021 / 3rd at the Indy GP (2019)
LUNDGAARD’S BEST START / FINISH AT DETROIT:     9th / 14th – 2022; will be his second race in Detroit and first downtown
LUNDGAARD’S BEST SERIES START / FINISH:     3rd at Nashville & Portland 2022 / 2nd at the July Indy GP 2022
RLL’S BEST START / FINISH AT DETROIT:     1st – Graham Rahal (2017, Race 1) / 3 wins: Bobby Rahal (1992 inaugural Belle Isle event), Graham Rahal (2017, Race 1 & Race 2)

The 2023 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will mark the NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ 13th visit to Detroit, and the 11th since 2008. The Motor City hosted Indy car racing from 1989-91 in Downtown Detroit. The race moved to Belle Isle Park from 1992-2001 and 2007-2008 and returned from 2012-2022. The 2022 event marked the 22nd year for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) to compete at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park. This will be the team’s first year to compete downtown and their 31st race in Detroit overall.  
The team’s highest start of pole came in 2017 with Graham RahalBobby and Graham Rahal have earned a combined total of three wins for the team here. Bobby won the inaugural race on Belle Isle in 1992 and Graham is the only driver to have won both races on the same weekend, which he did in 2017. In total, the team has earned eight podiums (2nd – G. Rahal 2014, Jakes 2013 & Max Papis 2000), (3rd – G. Rahal 2015, Takuma Sato 2019) 12 top-five finishes and 24 top-10’s here (chart available). Prior to 2023, the team prepared a total of 45 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1998), Mike Groff (1993-94), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Kenny Brack (2000-01), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007-08) Takuma Sato (2012, 2018-2019. ‘21), Graham Rahal (2013-2019, ’21-22), James Jakes (2013), Oriol Servia (2017), Santino Ferrucci (’21), Jack Harvey (’22) and Christian Lundgaard (’22).  The No. 15 United Rentals Honda entry for Graham Rahal, the No. 30 Kustom Entertainment Honda for Jack Harvey and the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda for Christian Lundgaard will bring that total to 48 in 2023. 
The event will mark Graham Rahal’s 19th race in Detroit. His father, Bobby, won the inaugural race on Belle Isle in 1992 and Graham hopes to repeat the feat on the new downtown track. In 2022 on Belle Isle, Graham’s race came to an early end after he bottomed out in Turn 2 on Lap 2, lost traction and hit the wall and subsequently retired from the race. In 2021, he earned two fifth place finishes in the doubleheader and in 2019, he earned two seventh place finishes. Rahal’s most successful INDYCAR race weekend came in Detroit in 2017. In Dual 1 in 2017, he earned his first pole since Kansas 2009 and led a dominating 55 of 70 laps en route to his fifth series victory and first ever from pole. He handily held the lead with the exception of pit cycles and built a gap of more than 13 seconds at one point before he ultimately won by a six-second margin over Scott Dixon. For Dual 2, Rahal set the second fastest time in his qualifying group 2 to Sato to start third. In the race, he passed Hunter-Reay on Lap 8 and closed the gap to pole sitter and leader Sato but could not pass. Sato pit one lap earlier than Rahal, who took the lead on Lap 23 before he made his first of two stops on Lap 24 and returned to the track behind Newgarden who was on a three-stop strategy. Once Newgarden pit on Lap 29, Rahal took over the lead and steadily built his gap to second place to 16 seconds over Sato before his second and final stop on Lap 47.He then proceeded to build an 18-second gap over second place before he caught traffic. That reduced his lead to new second-place runner Newgarden to 5.5 seconds before a red flag came out for the car of Pigot, who experienced a smoky end. All race cars were stopped in pit lane for approximately 10 minutes while the track was cleared and an attempt to remove marbles was made. The race resumed with a two-lap shootout and Rahal utilized his 57 seconds of Push to Pass over Newgarden’s 36 to keep the lead on the restart before he was able to pull a slight gap before the checkered flag to become the first winner of both races in Detroit. In total, he led 41 of 70 laps. His other podiums in the race came in 2014 with second place in Dual 1 and third place in Dual 2 in 2015. Overall he has two wins, four podiums and one pole in 18 races here. After completing a teamwide top-eight starting-spot performance at the GMR Grand Prix at IMS prior to the Indy 500, he is optimistic of the team’s chance for success in Detroit.
              “I think we have a solid street course package. We’ve been able to improve it pretty well over the years so I feel pretty confident in our chances of a good finish in Detroit the United Rentals car; I think it will be solid. It will be interesting to see what this new track is all about, see what they’ve done. I’m sure Bud (Denker) and everyone at Penske Entertainment have done a good job. I’m excited to get there and check it out.”  
This will mark Jack’s fourth race in Detroit and he is optimistic of a competitive performance after qualifying fourth at the previous road course race at IMS this year. In 2022, he finished 15th on Belle Isle with RLL. He competed in the 2021 INDYCAR doubleheader for Meyer Shank Racing where he started 19th, ran as high as ninth and finished 16th after five stops to the winner’s two due to a puncture and alternate strategy. He started 18th in Race 2 and finished 19th. Two races ago at IMS, he made his first Firestone Fast Six appearance with the team and qualified fourth, ran as high as third but had some issues in the race and finished 20th. He is looking forward to experiencing the new track for the first time and will be positioned at the coveted pit out due to his qualifying performance at the IMS road course.
              “I’m optimistic for the race in Detroit. It’s a completely new track and obviously no one has been there so it’s down to us to try and figure out what the best setup is. On the whole, I’m pretty excited about racing on the new track and getting back on a street course. I think the split pit lane will be interesting. I’ve never been a part of anything like that before, so we’ll see what it brings.”
Christian will make his second start in Detroit and first at the downtown track. Last year, he had worked his way up to 9th place from a 19th place start but had to pit earlier than planned to clear debris that was blocking airflow from his overheating car. The team had hoped to stay on the more durable primary tires longer in order to gain more positions but he had to compete his mandatory stint on the alternate tires on the next one before returning to the preferred primary tires for the final one and finished 14th. After starting from pole at the previous road course race at Indianapolis and finishing fourth, he is looking forward to returning to a street course to continue the trajectory that saw him finish sixth on the road course in Barber and fourth at the GMR Grand Prix.
              “We’re going into Detroit with high hopes. We didn’t have the best weekend in Long Beach, but started off well in Barber and carried the momentum into the Grand Prix and put the Hy-Vee car on pole so we’ll all go into the weekend with the highest expectations. The team is highly motivated. It’s a new track and all my past experiences with a new track with this team have always been very good so I’m expecting the same thing here. If we can have a 1-2-3 team result, hopefully the Hy-Vee car will be on top.”
Christian Lundgaard is ranked 11th in the series standings with 122 points. Graham Rahal is ranked 17th with a total of 94 and Jack Harvey is 22nd with 65 points.