Jakes’ Third Attempt Yields a 20th Place Starting Spot for the Indy 500; Rahal and Jourdain Jr. Will Be “Bump Day” Qualifiers

Indi­anapolis 500 – Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
POLE DAY NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, May 18, 2013

THIRD TIME IS THE CHARM FOR JAKES WHO QUALIFIED 20TH FOR THE INDY 500; RAHAL AND JOURDAIN JR. WILL BEBUMP DAYQUALIFIERS DESPITE RAHAL SETTING THE FOURTH FASTEST TIME IN THE MORNING PRACTICE

POLE:    Ed Carpenter (Seg 2)         4-lap avg. speed of 228.762 mph    (L1: 39.2418, L2: 39.3054, L3: 39.3402, L4: 39.4815)
20th:       James Jakes (Seg 1)         4-lap avg. speed of 225.809 mph    (L1: 39.8114, L2: 39.8664, L3: 39.8515, L4: 39.8975)

OVERALL: Rahal was the first RLL driver to make a qual­i­fying attempt and logged a four lap average of speed of 225.140 mph. Jakes was next from the team and set a four lap average of 225.401 mph but it was later disqual­i­fied due to being 0.5 lbs. under the minimum weight. Jour­dain Jr. made an attempt and had a 4-lap average of 220.471 which did not make the top 24. When Jakes went back out for his second attempt, Rahal was the 24th car and on the “bubble” of the cars that would earn starting spots today so when Jakes ran a 4-lap average of 225.153 mph, he narrowly bumped Rahal. Rahal went out for a second attempt later but his race car was slower with each lap and wasn’t fast enough for the top-24. Jakes was later bumped by Townsend Bell and went on to make his third qual­i­fying attempt with five minutes to go in the session. His 4-lap average of 225.809 mph earned him a 20th place qual­i­fying spot. Jour­dain Jr. went out for a second attempt as the gun went off but his 4-lap average of 218.329 mph was not fast enough.  Once qual­i­fying was complete, it was deter­mined that the No. 15 and No. 17 race cars would each have engine changes performed tonight.

BOBBY RAHAL, team co-owner: “Obvi­ously I am really pleased for James to come back in the eleventh hour to put together a great run to get back in the race today. I’m really disap­pointed for Graham. Every time we went out the car just went slower. The car handles well but we are just lacking. We’re going to be in the race but you would like to have been able to focus totally on the race setup. But we will still be able to do a lot of that. I have no doubt that tomorrow will be quite fast. It almost doesn’t matter where you start this race from. I think Michel just had way too much push in the car. We have got to get him more comfort­able in the car for sure. Tomorrow will be a good day.”

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I qual­i­fied on the second day a couple of years ago and my best finish came from my worst starting spot (29). I’m pretty frus­trated to not get in but what do you do? We’re fighting some uphill battles and we just can’t over­come them so it’s not worth trying at this point. We will just come back out tomorrow and start over.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his sixth Indy 500.  He ran in the top-five in four of his five previous races here.  In 2008, with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, he was the highest Indy 500 starter of the Champ Car tran­si­tioning teams with his 13th place qual­i­fying effort but made contact on L36 after driving high to avoid the slower car of Lloyd and retired in 33rd place.  He qual­i­fied fourth for NHLR in the 2009 Indy 500 but made contact on L56 while fifth and retired in 31st. In 2010, he competed for his father’s team – RLL – for the first time in an Indy car. He qual­i­fied seventh and ran as high as second but a blocking penalty on L188/200 dropped him from third to a 12th place finish. He qual­i­fied 29th with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 and earned his best finish at Indy to date of third place after he led six laps. In 2012, he qual­i­fied 12th, ran as high as third and finished 13th for SCCGR… This is Rahal’s first full season at RLL, sixth in the IZOD IndyCar Series and seventh in a top open wheel racing series (CCWS 2007)… His best finish this season is second place in Long Beach and best start is 11th — also in Long Beach… He is 14th in the series point stand­ings with 74.

JAMES JAKES, No. 16 Acorn Stair­lifts Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “First of all I would like to say thanks to the guys, without these guys it wouldn’t have been possible.  The Acorn Stair­lifts crew got it right there at the end and we made a couple of slight setup changes there at the end that will hope­fully help Graham tomorrow. We’ve been quick all day. Among the quickest of the Honda’s and we just haven’t been able to show it. Obvi­ously the guys made a mistake on the first run and we were disqual­i­fied but I’m not holding that against them. I would be upset if they weren’t pushing the limit.  Now we can work on the race setup tomorrow and help the other two boys get in.  (On the third attempt:) It was then or never.  On the first run, the car wasn’t great and I had to lift through one of the corners so I knew that if we got the car balanced right it would be okay, and we did. We made a couple of changes and it was great and I knew it from the out lap.  I thought ‘This could be a good run.’  The car was consis­tent and it’s been great all week.  I think we’ve got a good race car so I’m looking forward to next weekend.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his second race here. He qual­i­fied 17th and finished 15th in 2012. In 2011, he attempted to qualify but the car was not fast enough. Both events were with Dale Coyne Racing… Jakes is competing 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… His best start to date this season is 11th at Barber and best finish is 12th at Long Beach although he had the poten­tial to finish higher in each race… Is ranked 22nd in series stand­ings with 53 points.

MICHEL JOURDAIN JR, No. 17 Office Depot Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We tried some things in the morning prac­tice. The balance in the car wasn’t perfect but it was okay.  We felt there was a 225 mph lap there.  We made some extremely small adjust­ments for qual­i­fying. The track condi­tions were different but it was so hard to know exactly what they were.  The car was so different, there was huge under­steer and we made some adjust­ments in the car and it got so loose that I had to catch it many times.  It was very diffi­cult. We just made a qual­i­fying run to check things; it was just prac­tice but we had to do it because everyone was in line and we had to check some things in the car. It’s Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway, its tough for every­body. Some­times for some people, some­times for others and today it was us. Tomorrow is a new day. We have to put the car in the show.  I have all the confi­dence in the world in Bruno (Couprie, engi­neer) and the guys, that we will be good.”

  • FAST FACTS: Jour­dain is making his third attempt at the Indy 500 and second with RLL… His No. 17 Honda-Dallara-Firestone entry is spon­sored by Office Depot Mexico with asso­ciate spon­sor­ship from Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi… He started 22nd in his second Indi­anapolis 500 race in 2012 and finished 19th with RLL. He was called into a closed pit then penal­ized with a drive-through which put him one lap down after he ran in the top half of the field mid-race.  He qual­i­fied eighth and finished 13th in 1996.  When he partic­i­pated in the 2012 Indy 500, Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway was the site of his first laps behind the wheel of an Indy car since 2004… He made 152 starts in the CART/Champ Car World Series and three in the IRL/IndyCar Series (1996/97 season) between 1996 – 2004… His highest finish in the IRL/IndyCar Series is second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1996 and he earned two wins in CART/CCWS in 2003 at Montreal and Milwaukee while driving for Team Rahal… With support from Ford Motor Company, he moved to NASCAR’s Nation­wide Series from 2005 – 2008 and also competed in the Camping World Truck Series in 2006. Since then, he competed in various rally and sports car series.

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addi­tion, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139 – 140 and laps 189 – 197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ulti­mately ended under caution when JR Hilde­brand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap… The 2013 race will mark the 16th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2013, the team prepared a total of 28 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992 – 1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002 – 2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to prac­tice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasukawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011), Jay Howard (2011), Takuma Sato (2012) and Michel Jour­dain (2012).  The No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires entry for Graham Rahal, No. 16 Acorn Stair­lifts entry for James Jakes and No. 17 Office Depot entry for Michel Jour­dain will bring that total to 31 in 2013.

NEXT UP: Prac­tice will resume tomorrow from 9 – 10 a.m. ET.  Qual­i­fying will take place from 12 – 6 p.m.  NBC Sports Network will air qual­i­fying action from 12– 6:30 p.m.  The 97th Indi­anapolis 500 race will be May 26 and will be tele­vised by ABC at 12 p.m. (ET) and broad­cast by the IMS Radio Network on Sirius XM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com.

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