After Competitive Runs in Both Baltimore Races, Rahal and Jakes Aim To Make Their Third Time the Charm in Charm City — Grand Prix of Baltimore Preview

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Grand Prix of Balti­more – Streets of Balti­more, Maryland

Pre-Race Notes

Round 16 of 19 in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series

DATE: August 30 – September 1, 2013

QUALIFYING BROADCAST: Saturday, August 31 at 6:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network; LIVE on www.indycar.com (timing & scoring with audio commentary)

RACE BROADCASTLive on Sunday, September 1 at 2:00 p.m.  ET on NBC Sports Network

RADIO BROADCASTThe race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM & Sirius chan­nels 211

TRACK LAYOUT2.04-mile, 12-turn street course

RACE LENGTH75 laps / 153 miles

2012 WINNER: Ryan Hunter-Reay

2012 POLESITTERWill Power (1:17.5921; 94.649 mph)

RAHAL’S BEST ROAD/STREET START/FINISHPole at St. Pete 2009 / 1st at St. Pete in 2008

RAHAL’S BEST BALTIMORE START/FINISH: 2nd / 10th — both in 2011 with SCCGR; will be his third race here

JAKESBEST ROAD/STREET START/FINISH2nd at Detroit Dual 2 in 2013 / 2nd at Detroit Dual 2 in 2013

JAKESBEST BALTIMORE START/FINISH11th in 2011 / 24th (contact) in 2012 – both with Dale Coyne Racing; will be third race here

RLL’S BEST START/FINISH AT BALTIMORE19th / 21st (led 12 laps w/8-second lead; DNF/engine) — both in 2012 by Takuma Sato; will be the team’s second Indy car race here and fifth overall (third ALMS race)

 

NEWS & NOTES:

SECOND INDYCAR RACE AT BALTIMORE AND FIFTH OVERALL FOR RLL RACING

The Grand Prix of Balti­more will mark the second Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here and will be the fifth overall race.  The street circuit incor­po­rates many of the city’s most popular attrac­tions. Among the land­marks incor­po­rated into the 2-mile, 12-turn track are Pratt Street, the scenic Inner Harbor area and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  The team’s ALMS GT program (BMW Team RLL) qual­i­fied on pole (No. 55) and in third (No. 56) in 2011. The No. 55 car was taken out of the lead by contact from a Corvette and the team finished fifth (No. 55) and second (No. 56).  In 2012, the team qual­i­fied second (No. 55) and fifth (No. 56) but was taken out of the lead when penal­ized for intim­i­dating a slower car that had spun and hit the wall and finished eighth (No. 55) and fourth (No. 56).  Saturday’s ALMS race will bring the team’s total number of races in Balti­more to four and Sunday’s IndyCar race, to five.  The No. 15 blu e Cigs entry for Graham Rahal and No. 16 Acorn Stair­lifts entry for James Jakes will bring the Indy car total to 3 entries in 2013.

                “Like Long Beach, it’s always great when both our ALMS and IndyCar teams are racing together,” said Bobby Rahal. “It’s diffi­cult going back and forth from the garages and pits of both programs because it seems they are on oppo­site sides of the track but that’s about the only down­side of the weekend. I like the ALMS/IndyCar joint week­ends, I like the track, I like Balti­more and we are all looking forward to the event.”

RLL LED 12 LAPS WITH AN EIGHT SECOND LEAD LAST YEAR UNTIL FORCED TO RETIRE

In the team’s Indy car debut at Balti­more last year, the timing of a red flag in qual­i­fying contributed to Takuma Sato’s 19th place qual­i­fying posi­tion but he started 23rd due to an unap­proved engine change. In the race, he led 12 laps (24 – 35) and held an eight-second lead at one point before a fuel pres­sure problem surfaced and he retired in 21st.

THIRD TIME IS THE CHARM FOR GRAHAM IN CHARM CITY AFTER CONTENDING IN PREVIOUS TWO?

The 2013 Grand Prix of Balti­more will mark Graham’s third Indy car race here.  His best start is second place and best finish is 10th – both in 2011 with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR).  In 2012, he had a problem in the qual­i­fying session and was unable to post a single lap and qual­i­fied 23rd/last but started 21st due to two unap­proved engine change penal­ties ahead on the grid. He ran as high as second (eight laps) but made five pit stops to the winners two which included a drive through penalty on Lap 47/75 for passing under caution and finished 11th.  After compet­i­tive runs the two previous years – and one partic­ular memory he would like to reverse — Rahal is excited to return to Baltimore.

In 2011, I was chal­lenging for the win, and it came down to a sprint to the finish. We pitted two laps before we had to, and thus went from a second place finish to 10th. I was furious, and still to this day its one of the most disap­pointing races I ever took part in.  Last year was good as well.  Again, I was really strong all weekend. I made a mistake in qual­i­fying that took me to the back of the grid but we charged forward and had an excel­lent chance to win. I got called on a terrible penalty that ulti­mately took the win away from me, but we had the speed once again to run up front. I love racing in Balti­more. I think its loca­tion, and the fact it has such a buzz surrounding it makes it a great event. The crowds have always been incred­ible there, and I think it does great things for the city. Being on the water­front makes it enjoy­able for fans, spon­sors, and those of us working as well.”

JAKES AT BALTIMORE

The 2013 Grand Prix of Balti­more will mark James’ third event here and first with RLL.  In 2012 he qual­i­fied 22nd, started 19th after three competi­tors were penal­ized for unap­proved engine changes, ran as high as sixth and finished 24th after contact on Lap 32/75 while 11th.  In 2011 he qual­i­fied 11th and was running 12th on Lap 38/75 when a multi car acci­dent, that began with contact between Hunter-Reay and Briscoe, led to a blocked track and Hinch­cliffe, Jakes and Pantano were collected which led to a 27th place retire­ment.  Both events were with Dale Coyne Racing.  After compet­i­tive runs in both Balti­more events, Jakes is looking forward to carrying over his strong run at Sonoma where he charged from a 19th place start into ninth before he later retired with engine failure.

We had a problem in qual­i­fying last year but we had run in the top-six for most of the race and I just made a mistake and hit the wall. We had a very good car and were quick in (race) warm-up. Hope­fully we can have a good car and go for it this year.  In Long Beach Graham was quick and we had a pretty good run on the streets in Detroit so hope­fully we can put the two together and do the same in Baltimore.”

GRAHAM AND JAMES ON BALTIMORE

It’s a diffi­cult track because of the bumps and commit­ment it takes in most corners,” said Rahal. “It’s not the fastest place you have ever driven, but with all the vari­eties of pave­ment, the tram tracks we jump, and the fact that any small error means a crash makes this place really demanding. It’s tons of fun though!”

Balti­more is a fun track, it’s a place I enjoy driving,” added Jakes. “I have always seemed to go well in the race but have just never seemed to trans­late it into a result. I’m look forward to going back there to try to make that happen this year. It should be a fun weekend.”

GRAHAM ON THE TEAM’S MOMENTUM

I think we finally found some speed that will help us now. I know I felt comfort­able in Sonoma, and think this will only build as we go forward. I think the team is starting to get some pep in its step and this should show throughout the remaining four races.”

GRAHAM ON BLE ECIGS AS PRIMARY SPONSOR

On Monday, it was announced that blu eCigs will be the primary sponsor of the No. 15 entry in Balti­more and Houston. Graham is excited about the increased involve­ment of blu eCigs, who has been an asso­ciate sponsor all season as well as the primary sponsor of the No. 17 entry for Mike Conway in Long Beach and the No. 15 car in Brazil.

Blu is a great new sponsor in this series.  We are very lucky and very proud to have them onboard with us. To see them increasing their coverage and support in this series means a lot, and I hope we can make them very proud this weekend!”

 - RLL -