Monthly Archives: June 2013

Rahal and Jakes Complete Troublefree Test at Pocono Raceway

LONG POND, PA (June 25, 2013) – Graham Rahal and James Jakes each completed a trouble-free day of testing at the 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle” oval at Pocono Raceway today.  Rahal ran 163 laps in his No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Honda-Dallara-Firestone race car while Jakes completed 133 in his No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts car.  It was the first time for both drivers on the course and each was suitably impressed. 

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Rahal Returns to One of His Favorite Ovals for the Milwaukee IndyFest; Jakes Aims to Carry Momentum from Strong Runs to The Mile

Milwaukee IndyFest – The Milwaukee Mile
Pre-Race Notes
Round 9 of 19 in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series

NEWS & NOTES:
 
DATE:                                               June 14-15, 2013
QUALIFYING BROADCAST:           June 14 at 7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network and live from 5:15-6:30 ET on www.indycar.com
                                                          (timing & scoring w/radio commentary)
RACE BROADCAST:                       Live on Saturday, June 15 at 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network
RADIO BROADCAST:                     The race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM & Sirius channels 211
TRACK LAYOUT:                            1-mile oval
RACE LENGTH:                               250 laps / 250 miles 
2012 WINNER:                                 Ryan Hunter-Reay
2012 POLESITTER:                         Dario Franchitti (two-lap average speed of 168.737 mph)
 
RAHAL’S BEST
OVAL START/FINISH:                    Pole (Kansas 2009) / 2nd (Texas 2012 and Milwaukee 2011)
RAHAL’S BEST START/
FINISH AT MILW:                            2nd in 2008 & 2009 / 2nd in 2011
 
JAKES’ BEST
OVAL START/FINISH:                   10th (Texas 2013) / 10th (Texas 2012)
JAKES’ BEST START/
FINISH AT MILW:                           20th in 2012 (started 16th due to engine penalties of others) / 15th in 2011
 
RLL’S TOP START/
FINISH AT MILW:                           1st by Rahal (1999), Brack (2001), Meira (2004) / 1st by Brack (2001) and Jourdain Jr. (2003)
 
 
NEWS & NOTES:
 
2 WINS, 3 POLES, 4 PODIUMS & 4 FRONT ROW STARTS AT MILWAUKEE MILE FOR RLL RACING
The Milwaukee IndyFest will mark the 19th event for RLL at the legendary Milwaukee Mile oval.  The team won here twice (Kenny Brack 2001 & Michel Jourdain Jr. 2003), started from pole three times (Bobby Rahal 1999, Kenny Brack 2001, Vitor Meira 2004), made four front row starts (2nd – Jourdain Jr. 2003) and earned four podiums (2nd: Rahal 2004, Rice 2004).  Prior to the 2013 event, the team prepared a total of 34 entries for drivers such as Rahal (1992-98), Mike Groff (1993-94), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Kenny Brack (2000-2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jourdain Jr. (2002-03), Buddy Rice (2004-06), Vitor Meira (2004-05), Danica Patrick (2005-06), Jeff Simmons (2006-07), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008) and Takuma Sato (2012). The team has earned 10 top-five finishes and 19 top-10’s at the track. The No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires entry for Graham Rahal and the No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts entry for James Jakes will bring that total to 36 in 2013.
 
LAST YEAR AT MILWAUKEE
Sato qualified 14th at Milwaukee last year but started 24th due to an engine change penalty from Texas. He ran as high as 10th and was 13th when contact ended his race after 107/225 laps.  He collected current RLL driver James Jakes when he crashed. 
 
GRAHAM AT MILWAUKEE
The 2013 Milwaukee IndyFest will mark Graham’s fifth race here.  He narrowly missed winning his first pole in 2008 by 2/10ths of a second over a four lap average and started a career best second to Andretti in what was the first Andretti/Rahal front row since 1992 in Loudon, NH.  He ran between second and fourth until L130 when he drove over “marbles” and lost control of his car after trying to go around the slower car of Darren Manning and retired in 25th place.  He qualified second in 2009 and briefly took the lead at the start but dropped to third by the end of the lap and ultimately finished fourth, his highest finish on an oval at the time.  In 2010, he ran a partial season and did not race at Milwaukee. In 2011 he qualified 12th and earned his best finish at Milwaukee to date of second. Last year, he qualified 17th, started 11th after many ahead served an engine change penalty and finished ninth.
                “Milwaukee is very challenging for teams, drivers and engineers; I think possibly one of the hardest with it being a very fast one mile, flat oval. I am however really looking forward to it. When its right, there is no track more rewarding than Milwaukee.  It’s great because there is a huge range of good cars versus bad, and the way cars fall off over the stint is very different. It should be a very exciting race.”

JAKES AT MILWAUKEE
The 2013 Milwaukee IndyFest will be the third event at the Milwaukee Mile for James Jakes, 25.  He qualified 20th in 2012 and started 16th after engine penalties of others were served but retired in 21st after contact with Takuma Sato near the halfway point in the race. In 2011 he qualified 23rd and finished 15th.  Both events were with Dale Coyne Racing.
“Milwaukee is a really fun track. It’s really crucial to get the car working well in the practices because qualifying is usually so tight that every tenth (of a second) counts. Again this is another track I really enjoy racing at, and we have showed great pace there in the past but we haven't been able to capitalize on it. Last year was short lived when Sato lost his car on the inside and took me out.”
 
GRAHAM ON PAST RESULTS AT MILWAUKEE AND HIS EXPECTATIONS THIS YEAR
“I’ve always performed well at Milwaukee; it’s a track I truly love. I am excited to get out there and get running Friday!  I am hopeful that we should be very strong. I know we are working very hard and at some point hard work pays off. I think that time is now.”

JAKES ON HIS EXPECTATION OF COMPETITIVE RUNS ON OTHER OVALS TRANSFERING TO MILWAUKEE
Jakes has run competitively since the start of the season but various challenges prevented him from better results. At the Indy 500, he led five laps but a pit penalty early on dropped him one lap down which was hard to recover from and he finished 20th but was very happy with the handling of his race car. He earned a career best start of fourth for Dual 1 in Detroit but battled with alternate tire wear and finished 10th.  The team worked to improve that for Sunday’s Dual 2 where he improved his career best start with second place and despite dropping back, he was a contender for the win and earned his best series finish of second. Another strong run in Texas had him in fourth place but he had to make a stop for fuel with 16 laps to go and was relegated to 12th. He is hoping for another competitive run at Milwaukee this weekend.
               “Yes, I believe it will,” Jakes said of being able to carry over the competitiveness from other ovals to Milwaukee.  “The crew of the Number 16 car seem to be clicking well at the right time of the year so I'm really looking forward to getting back in the car this weekend. We showed great place last weekend in Texas and unfortunately we didn't get the result we wanted but we know we had great speed. The weekend prior to that we finished second, so things seem to be working well we just need to make sure we make the right calls at the right time.”
 
JAKES ON WHETHER THERE COULD BE ANOTHER “FIRST TIME” WINNER IN 2013
The 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season has seen seven winners in the first eight races. The seven different winners who have won from Barber to Texas – including three first-time winners – is the longest stretch of different winners since 2010 when seven different drivers won from St. Petersburg to Iowa.
                “I think we are close to a win at the moment,” said Jakes. “We have been knocking on the door the last two events so I expect the same this weekend. IndyCar is so competitive at the moment so you really have to make sure you are maximizing everything possible.”
 
GRAHAM AND JAMES ON THE BUSY SCHEDULE AND THEIR FITNESS ROUTINES
“I am keeping up pretty well, doing a lot of cardio and it seems to be serving me well,” said Rahal. “I know I have ramped it up a bit this year, and I really feel strong through all phases of the races.”
                “I try to train twice a week if we have back to back races,” added Jakes. “I also play soccer once a week with my buddies for a couple of hours; I think it’s really important to mix up your training so you don't get to bored.”
 
GRAHAM AND JAMES ON THE FATHER’S DAY WEEKEND
“I would love to win,” said Rahal. “Milwaukee is a great place for us as it’s so close to where my family is from in Chicago. I am very eager to get going and hope to have a great Fathers Day weekend.”
              “My dad has always been a great inspiration for me,” added Jakes. “He never got the opportunity to race, but he has these stupid ideas in his head that he is quicker than me. Hopefully one day I will get the chance to teach him a few things. I think the Fathers Day’s fall differently in the USA and UK but maybe we will celebrate twice.”
 

– RLL –

 

Rahal Returns to TMS After Near Victory in 2012; Jakes Aims to Continue the Momentum from a Career-Best Weekend

Firestone 550 – Texas Motor Speedway
Pre-Race Notes
Round 8 of 19 in the IZOD IndyCar Series

NEWS & NOTES:
 
DATE:                                               June 7-8, 2013
QUALIFYING BROADCAST:           June 7 from 4:30-6 p.m. ET on www.indycar.com (timing & scoring w/radio commentary)
RACE BROADCAST:                       Live on Saturday, June 8 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC
RADIO BROADCAST:                     The race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM channel 94 & Sirius channel 212
TRACK LAYOUT:                            1.5-mile oval
RACE LENGTH:                               228 laps / 342 miles or 550 km 
2012 WINNER:                                 Justin Wilson
2012 POLESITTER:                         Alex Tagliani (two-lap average speed of 215.691 mph)
 
RAHAL’S BEST
OVAL START/FINISH:                     Pole (Kansas 2009) / 2nd (Texas 2012 and Milwaukee 2011)
RAHAL’S BEST TMS
START/FINISH:                                3rd in 2012 / 2nd in 2012 – both at Texas Motor Speedway
 
JAKES’ BEST
OVAL START/FINISH:                    17th (Indy 2012) / 10th (Texas 2012)
JAKES’ BEST TEXAS
START/FINISH:                                21st / 10th – both in 2012 (career-best oval finish)
 
RLL’S TOP START/
FINISH AT TMS:                              1st by Scott Sharp 2007 / 2nd by Vitor Meira 2005
 
 
NEWS & NOTES:
 
1 POLE, 1 PODIUM, 2 FRONT ROW STARTS IN 10 EVENTS AT TMS FOR RLL RACING
The Firestone 550 will mark the 11th event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval.  The team’s highest start of pole with Scott Sharp came in 2007 and highest finish of second came in 2005 with Vitor Meira.  The team earned another front row start in 2004 when Buddy Rice qualified second.  Overall the team has earned three top-five finishes and six top-10’s at the track.
 
Prior to the 2012 event, the team prepared a total of 17 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) and Takuma Sato (2012).  The No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires entry for Graham Rahal and the No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts entry for James Jakes will bring that total to 19 in 2013. Last year at TMS, Sato earned his best qualifying position of the season to date of 10th but was assessed a 10-grid penalty for an unapproved engine change and started 20th. He moved up to sixth but contact on Lap 63/228 resulted in a 22nd place finish.
 
GRAHAM AT TEXAS – LED UNTIL TWO LAPS TO GO IN 2012
The 2013 race will mark Graham Rahal’s fifth event here.  He qualified third in 2012, led 27 laps and looked close to earning 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. He is ranked 14th in series standings with 126 points after seven of 19 races.
 
GRAHAM ON HIS NEAR-MISS AT POLE AND THE WIN AT TMS IN 2012
“I felt great last year. We worked very hard on a good racecar, and would have had the pole if I didn’t hit the hard limiter. I had the fastest lap in qualifying, but unfortunately it’s the average of two. I thought we ran very well in the race at the beginning and end. We faded mid race with some handling issues, but it quickly came back to us. I take last year as a great learning lesson for myself, and I look forward to getting back there this year.”
 
GRAHAM ON THE OCCASIONAL THOUGHT ABOUT 2012’S NEAR WIN
“I still think about it occasionally. I want to win, and it would have been so nice to get my second that night. But it is what it is, I moved on.  A race win this weekend would certainly help!”
 
JAKES AT TEXAS – SITE OF HIS BEST CAREER OVAL FINISH
The 2013 Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway will be Jakes’ third event here.  He qualified 21st in 2012 and earned his highest career oval finish to date of 10th.  In the dual race in 2011 he qualified 30th and finished 25th in heat one and drew the 23rd starting spot in Heat 2 and finished 28th. After earning his highest overall IndyCar Series start and finish of second place at the previous event on Belle Isle, Jakes has his sights set on the top step of the podium. He has had competitive runs since the start of the season although various issues kept him from breaking through until Detroit. After having a competitive race car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jakes feels that a competitive run at TMS is possible.  He is ranked 12th in series standings with 130 points after seven of 19 races.
                “Like other places, we have shown good pace there but we haven't been able to put everything together. Hopefully after coming off a good result in Detroit this will give us some momentum for the next few races. Last year was only my second race there and we managed to finish in the top-10 so this year I will be looking to better that.  I think we should be in a good position in Texas. I was pretty happy with the car in Indianapolis this year and that should translate over.”

GRAHAM AND JAMES ON THE CHALLENGES OF RACING AT TMS
“Nowadays one of the great challenges is tire management and keeping the car underneath you,” said Rahal. “There is by no means the amount of grip at Texas that there used to be as tires have changed, and the downforce levels of the cars have been greatly reduced. It has become one of the most challenging oval tracks we will run all year.”
                “Texas is very fast and also mentally challenging because of the concentration that you need during the race so that you don’t make a mistake,” added Jakes. “Since they maximized the amount of downforce that you can run, the racing has become better and you really have to work on your car setup to make sure it is good for the entire race.”

JAKES ON A DETROIT REWIND
James was quick in the lone practice session in Detroit and went on to earn his best qualifying effort of fourth place on Friday afternoon for Saturday’s Dual which eclipsed his previous best of eighth on the road course at Motegi, Japan. On Saturday morning he improved that mark again with a second place qualifying effort for Sunday’s Dual 2. The team struggled to extend the performance of the red “alternate” Firestone’s in Saturday’s race and he finished 10th. They worked to improve that in Sunday’s pre-race warm-up and in the late stages of an event-filled Dual 2 race, James drove as hard as he could to create a gap over second place before his final pit stop to come out in second and earn his best series finish.
                “Detroit was a great weekend, very exciting for the No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts crew, but I have always thought we should have good place on the road and street courses and it was just a question of putting everything together. I loved the new layout and I’m very much looking forward to going back there next year.”

JAKES ON THE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL CHALLENGES OF THE DOUBLEHEADER IN DETROIT
“On Sunday evening I felt fine, I guess because all my adrenaline was still pumping. Monday morning I was hurting a little, I could have stayed in bed all day. We raced for over four hours at the weekend and with such bumpy conditions it was always going to be very physical. Also the last 30 laps of Dual 2 were like qualifying laps to make sure we created enough of a gap before the pit stop, and this is probably what finished me off because that was hard work.”
 
JAKES ON MEDIA REPORTS THAT DETROIT WAS A BREAKOUT WEEKEND FOR HIM
“It terms of putting a result on the board, absolutely yes. We have shown on occasion that we have great pace but this was the first weekend where we have been able to put it all together.”

GRAHAM ON THE POSSIBLE IMPACT OF THE TEXAS TEST AND INDY EXPERIENCE HELPING THIS WEEKEND
The team tested at TMS on March 27 with Rahal behind the wheel and Jakes on site as an observer. The initial plan was for Jakes to test as well but the cool, windy conditions led the team to decide to save the limited allocation of test miles for later.
             “I think the team will certainly be competitive there after our test,” said Rahal. “We found some things I thought would really help us a considerable amount even though the conditions were pretty different. We didn’t have the best of runs at Indy, but we have moved on and are looking forward to challenging for the win in Texas.”
 
JAKES ON CARRYING MOMENTUM FROM INDY, THROUGH DETROIT AND ON TO TMS
“Yes, absolutely. We had a strong run going for the first part of the race in Indy and it seems to have carried on until now. I think it’s just a combination of everyone jelling together and ironing out the mistakes.  I'm very excited about this part of the season and really looking forward to maximizing the potential out of the car to move us up in the championship.”
 
80TH PODIUM AT DETROIT FOR RLL’S INDY CAR PROGRAM
Jakes’ first IndyCar Series podium finish of second place in Dual 2 in Detroit was the 80th for the team. To date the Indy car team has earned 20 wins, 34 second place finishes and 26 third place finishes. Rahal and Jakes brought the team second place finishes in Long Beach and Detroit so far this season.
 

-RLL-