Jakes and Rahal Set Seventh and Eighth Fastest Times Respectively in Practice for the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

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

IZOD IndyCar Series




FASTEST:         Justin Wilson    1:04.4237 / 91.308 mph

7th:                   James Jakes     1:05.6092 / 89.658 mph

8th:                   Graham Rahal   1:05.6567 / 89.593 mph

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 blu eCigs Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I feel really good about our progress. We’ve got to find a little bit of rear and overall grip but, to be honest, we ended up eighth and frankly we were the only one to not run new tires at the end. We were on 20-lap tires and we still put the blu eCigs car in P8 (eighth fastest) so we’re in the hunt. We’ve just got to find a bit more speed. (Justin) Wilson’s awfully quick but, given new tires, maybe we would find half of a second or a little bit more. If we find a little bit more grip, we’ll be right there.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be 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 18th in series stand­ings with 266 points.

JAMES JAKES, No. 16 Acorn Stair­lifts Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “Its been a little frus­trating not to be able to put enough laps together (due to red flags) to be honest. I think we’ve got a strong car and can be quick here. We’ve just got to be patient and do it Saturday. We really made some changes in the second session because we tried to make sure that we antic­i­pated the red flags and were not caught out being able to get anything done so we managed to get a little bit of work done which was good. I think we should be in good shape for tomorrow. Obvi­ously the track is going to change a little bit but it shouldn’t really affect the setup.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his first race here.  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 244 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.

RLL TRUCKIE FINISHES SECOND IN TRUCK DRIVER CHALLENGE:  Todd DeNeve of Target Chip Ganassi Racing won the 2013 Pilot Travel Center Flying J Truck Driver Chal­lenge, which took place during the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season. He earned a $5,000 prize.  Mark Bruce of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing finished second, and Greg Folk of KV Racing Tech­nology was third. Drivers demon­strate their safe-driving abil­i­ties head to head in the compe­ti­tion, which took place at IZOD IndyCar Series events at St. Peters­burg, Fla., Indi­anapolis and Houston.

NEXT UP:  Qual­i­fying for Race 1 will take place tomorrow morning from 10:45 – 11:15 a.m. CT.  The first of two 90-lap races will take the Green Flag at 2:40 p.m. CT Saturday and be tele­vised live on NBC Sports Network begin­ning at 3:00 ET. Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com.