Jakes and Rahal 11th and 14th Respectively in Practice for the Season-Opening Honda GP of St. Pete

Honda Grand Prix of St. Peters­burg
IZOD IndyCar Series
NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, March 22, 2013

JAKES AND RAHAL 11TH AND 14TH RESPECTIVELY IN PRACTICE FOR THE SEASON-OPENING HONDA GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETE IZOD INDYCAR SERIES EVENT

FASTEST:         Will Power                     1:01.4467 / 105.457 mph
11th:                 James Jakes                 1:02.1030 / 104.343 mph            (3rd of Honda-powered drivers)
14th:                 Graham Rahal               1:02:3596 / 103.913 mph            (6th of Honda-powered drivers)

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “Overall we made a ton of progress today.  We were 1.5 seconds faster than we were this morning while everyone else gained one second.  Of course there is still more time to be found and we have to figure out how to improve the car further.  A couple of tenths (of a second faster) puts you in the top 10 and that’s what we need to work on. We’re not out of the ball­park but we’ve got to get the Midas / Big O Tires a little bit better.”

FAST FACTS: Will make his sixth start at this track.  His best start here is pole in 2009 and best finish is a win in 2008 in his IndyCar Series debut – both history-making moments… While with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing he qual­i­fied ninth in 2008, led 19 laps and became the youngest driver to win at the age of 19 years, 93 days old in his series debut after only 10 laps of testing at speed before the event (more details avail­able). His pole-winning run in 2009 here also made him the youngest driver to accom­plish the feat in series history. He was hit from behind on the opening lap and finished seventh. In 2010, he qual­i­fied 16th and finished 9th for Sarah Fisher Racing. While with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR) he qual­i­fied 12th and finished 17th in 2011 and qual­i­fied 11th and finished 12th in 2012… This will be Rahal’s first full season at RLL, sixth in the IZOD IndyCar Series and seventh in a top open wheel racing series (CCWS 2007)… The Ohio native has recorded 91 starts between the Champ Car World Series and IZOD IndyCar Series capturing one win, two poles, 19 top-five and 44-top 10 finishes. He led a total of 28 laps in 2012 – 27 at Texas Motor Speedway where he nearly claimed victory — had an average start of 12.4 and average finish of 11.2, earned three podium finishes and completed 87.2 percent of the laps run (1,841 of 2,111).

JAMES JAKES, No. 16 Acorn Stair­lifts Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It’s been a pretty good day; I can’t complain. It’s only my second day on track with the team so we’ve just got to take things step by step. I think that if we can iron a few small things out with the car, we will be right there for the race. With the weather looking bad for Sunday, qual­i­fying will be very impor­tant and also helpful to stay out of the trouble in the back. Our weekend is looking pretty good so far.”

FAST FACTS: Will be his third start at this track. He qual­i­fied 22nd and finished 15th in 2011 and qual­i­fied 20th and finished 26th in 2012 – both with Dale Coyne Racing… Jakes began racing in 2002 in the British T-Car series where he finished second. He grad­u­ated to the British Formula Renault Series in 2004 – 2005. In 2005 he finished second in the stand­ings after seven podium finishes and two poles and was named a Rising Star by the pres­ti­gious British Racing Drivers Club and was a McLaren Autosport Award finalist. He progressed to the British Formula 3 Series and Formula 3 Euro Series (2007 – 2008) where he won the Pau Grand Prix from pole in 2008 and set the fastest race lap.  He earned two podiums in the GP2 Asia series (2008 – 2009) and a pole and two podiums in GP3 (2010) and finished eighth in series stand­ings despite missing four races because of injury… Will compete in his third season in the IndyCar Series and first with RLL. In 31 Indy car starts with Dale Coyne Racing from 2011 – 2012, his best finish was eighth at Toronto and series-best start of eighth was at Motegi.

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT ST. PETE 2013 will mark the 22nd consec­u­tive season of compe­ti­tion for the team.  It will be the sixth IndyCar race for the team in St. Pete and the team has entered 11 cars in this race to date. The team prepared Indy cars for Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Buddy Rice (2005, 2006), Vitor Meira (2005), Jeff Simmons (2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008) and Takuma Sato (2012) prior to this year. The team led the race for four laps with Hunter-Reay in 2008 (G. Rahal won) and 11 in 2012 (Sato) and has earned three top-10 finishes with the best being fifth by Meira in 2005.  The highest starting posi­tion by the team is sixth place by Hunter-Reay in 2008.

NEXT UP:  Prac­tice will take place tomorrow morning from 10:25 – 11:10 a.m. ET. Qual­i­fying will take place from 2:05 – 3:15 PM on Saturday and will be tele­vised live by NBC Sports Network begin­ning at 2 p.m. ET.  Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com.  The season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Peters­burg will be tele­vised live on NBC Sports Network at 12:00 PM ET Sunday, March 24.

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