Rahal Aims to Repeat Detroit’s Winning Performance at the Honda Indy Toronto Street Race

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Honda Indy Toronto – Streets around Exhibition Place

Pre-Race Notes

Round 12 of 17 in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series



July 14-16, 2017



Live on Friday, July 14 at 10:40 a.m. ET and 2:15 p.m. ET on Indycar.com, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.  And on Saturday at 10 a.m. ET.


NBCSN will air coverage on a tape delayed basis on Saturday, July 15 at 6:30 p.m. ET; live at 2:15 p.m. ET Saturday on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network (AAPIRN), the INDYCAR 17 app and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis).


Live on CNBC beginning at 3 p.m. ET Sunday, July 16, the INDYCAR 17 app and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis). NBCSN will replay the race at 7 p.m. ET Sunday night.


Live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209 and www.indycar.com



1.786-mile, 11-turn temporary street course


85 laps / 151.81 miles


2016 WINNER:                         

Will Power

2016 POLESITTER:                 

Scott Dixon (107.326 mph)



3 Poles – St. Pete (street) 2009, Kansas (oval) 2009, Detroit (street) 2017 / 6 Wins – St. Pete 2008, Fontana (oval; 500 miles) 2015, Mid-Ohio (road) 2015, Texas (oval) 2016; Detroit Race 1 2017, Detroit Race 2 2017    


3rd in 2009 / 5th in 2010; will be his 11th Indy car race here and 12th overall



Pole 1992 (B. Rahal) / 2nd (B. Rahal 1992, 1994, 1995; Jourdain Jr. 2003)




The Honda Indy Toronto will mark the 18th year of Indy car racing for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here.  The team also competed in the Atlantic Series races here in 2003 and 2004.  The team earned a total of four second place finishes (Rahal 1992, 1994, 1995; Michel Jourdain Jr. 2003) and best start was pole in 1992 by Bobby Rahal.  Prior to the 2017 event, the team prepared a total of 30 Indy car entries for drivers Bobby Rahal (1992-98), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jourdain Jr. (2002-03), Takuma Sato (2012), Graham Rahal (2013 x 2; 2014 x2; 2015-2016), James Jakes (2013 x 2) and Luca Filippi (2014 x2). RLLR also prepared three Toyota Atlantic entries (Danica Patrick 2003-2004; Chris Festa 2004).  In total, the team has earned FIVE podiums (3rd – Rahal 1996), 9 top-five’s and 18 top-10 finishes at the track.  The No. 15 Rousseau Metal entry for Graham Rahal will bring the Indy car total to 31 entries in 2017.


In the four street races so far this season in St. Petersburg, Long Beach and the doubleheader in Detroit, Graham Rahal has earned two wins (1st – Detroit Race 1 & 2) and dealt with setbacks in the other two races.  After passing Alexander Rossi and Charlie Kimball at the start of the season-opener in St. Pete, Kimball made contact with Rahal’s right rear in Turn 3 of the first lap.  An unscheduled stop due to a punctured tire limited his finish to 17th place.  He made the Firestone Fast Six qualifying session in Round 2 in Long Beach but a punctured tire while sixth with six laps to go limited him to a 10th place finish.  He has started in the top-six all but one time in the four street races, including his first pole since 2009 for Race 1 in Detroit. Weekend headlines from Detroit coverage included “Graham-Slam,” “InstaGraham,” and “Graham Prix,” among others.


After dominating Detroit’s doubleheader weekend where he scored all but one of the maximum points after winning Race 1 from pole and winning Race 2 from a third place start, Rahal is understandably looking forward to returning to a street course.

“My expectations are pretty high for the Honda Indy Toronto,” said Rahal, who led 96 of the 140 laps over two races in Detroit. “I feel like we are in a pretty good spot with the basic setup for our race car for street courses so I hope it’s a really strong weekend for the Rousseau Metal Honda.  The course is very similar to Detroit in many ways. It’s very bumpy, very tight and there are no margins for error.  There are a lot of different pavement types and it’s very slippery on the concrete which make it similar to Detroit. Going there with the set up basics that brought us two wins in Detroit gives us reason to be confident heading to Toronto and hopefully it works out like it did in Detroit.”


“Toronto is a special race for all of us. It’s always a fun, great atmosphere and a track I really enjoy. “I think the Canadian fans always love and respect what we do and come out and support us in big numbers.”


With six races yet to be run this season, including one that is worth double points (Sonoma), Rahal is sixth in series point standings with a total of 337. He is 66 points behind leader Scott Dixon (403), 58 behind second place Helio Castroneves (395), 35 behind third place Simon Pagenaud (372), 13 behind fourth place Will Power (350), and 10 points behind fifth place Josef Newgarden (347).  After four top-five finishes in the past five starts, Rahal is hoping to continue the momentum in Toronto.

“To do well in Toronto would be huge for the point standings. We’ve got to keep adding good finishes to try to stay in the championship hunt.  There is not a race weekend that isn’t important at this point.”


The 2017 Honda Indy Toronto will be Graham Rahal’s 11th Indy car race here and 12th overall.  In 2016, he started 16th and was hit on the start by Kimball which led to a flat tire and forced pit stop. The team capitalized on a caution for debris from contact between Montoya and Newgarden to top off fuel two more times. Multiple pit strategies led to Rahal being sixth when the team called him in for his last stop and seconds later Newgarden crashed which brought out a full course caution and closed the pits. Rahal made his final stop on Lap 60/85. The timing benefitted eventual winner Will Power who entered the pits as Newgarden crashed and third place finisher Hinchcliffe who was able to stretch his fuel to the end, among others.  Rahal returned to the track in 17th place but 12th of those who stopped at the same time.  With a few laps to go, ninth place Hawksworth crashed and 14th place Montoya ran into the tires. On the restart with one lap to go, Rahal passed Daly for a 13th place finish… In 2015, he started 10th and finished ninth. The timing of the first full course caution on Lap 29 for James Jakes benefitted eventual winner Josef Newgarden, who made a pit stop just before the caution and was able to move up the field to run second behind Helio Castroneves, who also stayed out during the caution to gain the lead, when the rest cycled through their stops once the pits opened… In 2014 in Race 1, he qualified 14th but started 11th in the race due to issues with three competitors in Saturday’s attempted race that was postponed until Sunday morning. After an opening lap multi-car crash that brought out a red flag he restarted the race in ninth place. He moved into eight when Filippi made contact and retired and later passed Wilson for seventh. He later moved into sixth place and held the position until the checkered flag… In Race 2 at Toronto, he started 19th based on Entrant Points and took over 15th after Lap 1. The team elected to pit early (Lap 7) to go on an alternate strategy and he was running 21st but light rain began to intermittently fall. As the rainfall picked up, many drivers slid off course and the majority of the field pitted for rain tires on Lap 14.  With 19 laps to go Rahal passed Wilson for seventh place before the race was deemed a “timed event.” Once he made another stop to switch rain tires for slicks on the rapidly drying course, he returned to the track in 14th place and was in 13th when a shifting issue surfaced. He ultimately stopped on course after he completed 50 of what would become a 56 lap race after a red flag for a multi-car accident that blocked Turn 3 and led to a subsequent restart. He retired in 20th place due to a shifting barrel failure…  In Race 1 of 2013, he started 18th and moved to 17th when Justin Wilson (and also Newgarden, behind) stalled before the standing start. On the rolling start he gained two spots and another when he passed Sato on the following lap.  He was later hit by Tristan Vautier, who was assessed a drive through penalty for avoidable contact, on Lap 35 and fell three laps down by the time he got restarted and pitted. He finished the 85-lap race in 20th place.  In 2013 Race 2, he qualified 20th but started 19th after gaining a position due to Ryan Briscoe breaking his wrist in Race 1 and being replaced by Carlos Munoz, who started in the back. He drove to a 13th place finish… In 2012, he qualified 12th, started 10th after penalties were served to two competitors ahead on the grid and was sixth when contact in Turn 1 forced him to retire from the race in 23rd with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR)… In 2011 he qualified fifth, led 23 laps and finished 13th for SCCGR… In 2010, he started 14th with Newman/Haas Racing and earned his best finish since his 2008 win in St. Pete of fifth place…  In 2009, he started third with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing but was hit by second place starter Will Power, who squeezed him to the wall on the opening lap before T1.  A forced stop to replace his front wing dropped him to the back but he charged through the field into seventh place.  He held his position behind Patrick but flat-spotted his tires which led to losing three positions before his next stop.  He tried to pass the lapped car of Ed Carpenter on the inside on a right-handed turn but the contact ended his race in 20th place after 57/85 laps… There was not a race in Toronto in 2008… Started 15th in the 2007 Champ Car race as a rookie for NHLR but an evasive move to avoid a pile up on Lap 1 led to him hitting the wall and a subsequent stop for a new front wing.  Had to pit again for another front wing later in the race after running as high as second.  Retired in 11th place after he made contact for the third time due to a broken steering rack… Started from pole in the 2006 Atlantic race but was hit by Raphael Matos on the first lap.  Repaired the damaged suspension and returned to the track a few laps down, set the fastest race lap but later retired in 15th place.

– RLLR –