Jakes and Rahal Finish Sixth and Seventh Respectively in Race 1 of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Doubleheader

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston – Reliant Park, Houston

IZOD IndyCar Series

RACE 1 NOTES/QUOTES – October 5, 2013


GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 blu eCigs Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “The blu e Cigs guys did a great job making the right decisions in the race. Neil (Fife, race engineer), Wayne (Gross, assistant engineer) and everybody who made the tweaks to this thing went in the right direction. To go from 24th to seventh is always a good day, you can’t complain. I think we could have, and should have had James (Jakes) and (Josef) Newgarden there at the end but ran out of time. There was some close racing there so I just figured I would be a little bit smarter and lift off. Overall I thought it was a good day. If we can qualify a little more toward the front tomorrow I feel really good about our chances in Race 2. If we can qualify in the front, we can definitely run up there.”

  • FAST FACTS: This morning Rahal set the 10th fastest time in Group 2 of qualifying to earn a 19th place starting position but he was assessed a 10-grid penalty for an unapproved engine change and started 24th. The team employed good pit strategy and Rahal was able to move up to a seventh place finish. It was his second Indy car race here and third overall. His first Indy car race here was Round 3 of the Champ Car World Series on April 22, 2007 and he became the youngest driver to earn a Champ Car podium with his second place finish at the age of 18 years, 3 months and 18 days.  Rahal skipped his prom to compete in Houston and qualified sixth. His second place brought Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing their first 1-2 finish since the 2005 Las   Vegas race with teammate Bourdais earning the win from a second place start.  He also competed in the 2006 Atlantics race where he started third and was in second place when he collided with Raphael Matos while attempting to take the lead with three laps to go and finished 15th… His best finish this season is second place in Long Beach and best start is 6th at Iowa… Is ranked 17th in series standings with 292 points.

JAMES JAKES, No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We worked our way up after starting ninth. It was really good; we had it going in the beginning. The car was working well and the tire compound choice seemed to be working out, which we kind of knew it would after the first few laps because those on reds were falling off a little bit. We managed to pick a lot of people off, the car was working well but then we had a miscommunication in the pits and did an extra pit stop than we needed to. We had to work our way up from there. It’s a shame because I think without that we could have been on the podium. We will see what tomorrow brings. Generally we made some improvements to the car and I think we can still improve it slightly for the second race. We will work overnight and obviously we have another qualifying Sunday before the race.  I feel okay physically. Actually, the first part of the race went pretty quick. When the car is working well and you are overtaking people, it tends to. I radioed in and was told there were 43 laps gone already and I was quite surprised. Tomorrow is supposed to be a lot cooler so that will be nice. It’s just important to get some points right now. Obviously not finishing the last two races has been a killer for us. Unfortunately where we are in the championship doesn’t really represent how competitive we’ve been. And the priority is getting the car solidly in the Leaders Circle range for the team. ”

  • FAST FACTS: This morning Jakes set the sixth fastest time in Group 2 of qualifying to earn a ninth place starting position for his first race here.  Once the race started, he steadily gained positions and was in fourth place when a miscommunication over the radio led to him entering the pits for his first pit stop but the team was unaware so he had to come back in on the following lap which dropped him to the back of the field. Hard charging and the timing of caution periods enabled him to move up the field and finish sixth.  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… His best start to date this season is 2nd at Detroit Dual 2 and best finish is also 2nd in Detroit’s Dual 2 … Is ranked 19th in series standings with 272 points.

RLL AT HOUSTON / LANIGAN’S ROLE IN EVENT: The team competed on the temporary circuit downtown around the George R. Brown Convention Center from 1998-2001 but this will mark the first time for RLL to not only compete at Reliant Park, it will also be the first time for RLL to compete in a race promoted by team co-owner Mike Lanigan’s company, MJ Promotions, since he joined the team in 2011.  The event will mark the third overall Indy car race at ReliantPark and first since the 2006 and 2007 Champ Car races that MJ Promotions also promoted.

NEXT UP:  Qualifying for Race 2 will take place tomorrow morning from 8:45-9:15 a.m. CT.  The second of two 90-lap races will take the Green Flag at 12:40 p.m. CT Sunday and be televised live on NBC Sports Network beginning at 1:00 ET. Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com.

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