National Guard Driver Rahal Finished 14th After Starting 21st in the Firestone GP of St. Pete

SUMMARY: On the opening lap, Rahal charged from his 21st place starting spot to 12th and was in 14th when he made his first pit stop. Different pit strate­gies played out in a race that saw only 10 caution laps of 110 total. In the closing laps of the race, Rahal was 13th but lost a posi­tion to Bour­dais with two laps to go and finished 14th.

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 National Guard Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I got a good start.  I saw that it was going green and there was a stack-up in front of me and I knew you could go on green so I pulled off to the right and went straight on down the inside so it worked out for me. After that we strug­gled all day with a lack of grip. I could never attack the car; it was driving me more than I was driving it. There is a lot of work to be done but I think we had some high­lights this weekend. We’ve just got to keep working on it.”

  • FAST FACTS: Made his SEVENTH 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 as the youngest driver to do so… Qual­i­fied 15th in 2013 for RLL and was in ninth place when the team discov­ered an elec­trical issue on Lap 22 under caution that shut the engine off inter­mit­tently 6 – 7 times and dropped him to 21st place. He soldiered on to finish 13th… He qual­i­fied 11th in 2012 and finished 12th and qual­i­fied 12th in 2011 and finished 17th – both for Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR).  He qual­i­fied 16th and finished 9th for Sarah Fisher Racing in 2010.  While with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, he won pole in 2009 and finished seventh and qual­i­fied ninth, led 19 laps and won in his series debut in 2008 at the age of 19 years, 93 days old… His highest series start is pole at St. Pete (2009; street) and Kansas (2009; oval) and his highest finish is a win in St. Pete (2008) in his IndyCar Series debut to make him the youngest winner in series history at 19 years, 93 days old.

SEVENTH ST. PETE EVENT FOR RLL: This marked the seventh IndyCar race for the team in St. Pete and the 12th car entered. 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), Takuma Sato (2012), Graham Rahal (2013) and James Jakes (2013) prior to this year. The team led the 2012 race for 11 laps with Takuma Sato and for four laps with Hunter-Reay in 2008 (G. Rahal won) 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:  Round 2 of the Verizon IndyCar Series – the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – will take place April 11 – 13.  Graham Rahal finished second in Long Beach last year for RLL. Oriol Servia will drive the No. 16 entry for the team in Long Beach.

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