Rahal and Jakes Look Forward to the “Two in T.O.” Honda Indy Toronto Doubleheader and Have Mixed Opinions on Standing Starts

Honda Indy Toronto – Streets around Exhi­bi­tion Place

Pre-Race Notes
Rounds 12 & 13 of 19 in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series

DATE:
July 13 – 14, 2013

QUALIFYING BROADCAST:
Friday, July 12 at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network; LIVE on www.indycar.com (timing & scoring with audio commentary)

RACE BROADCAST:
Live on Saturday, July 13 and Sunday, July 14 – both at 3:00 p.m.  ET on NBC Sports Network

RADIO BROADCAST:
The race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM & Sirius chan­nels 211

TRACK LAYOUT:
1.75-mile, 11-turn tempo­rary street course

RACE LENGTH:
85 laps / 148.75 miles

2012 WINNER:
Ryan Hunter-Reay

2012 POLESITTER:
Dario Fran­chitti (59.3510, 106.451 mph)

RAHAL’S BEST ROAD/STREET START/FINISH:
Pole at St. Pete (street) 2009 / 1st at St. Pete in 2008

RAHAL’S BEST TORONTO START/FINISH:
3rd in 2009 / 5th in 2010; will be his sixth Indy car race here and seventh overall

JAKESBEST ROAD/STREET START/FINISH:
2nd at Detroit Dual 2 in 2013 / 2nd at Detroit Dual 2 in 2013

JAKESBEST TORONTO START/FINISH:
19th (started 24th due to engine penalty) / 8th – both in 2012; will be third start here

RLL’S BEST START FINISH AT TORONTO:
Pole 1992 (Rahal) / 2nd (Rahal 1992, 1994, 1995; Jour­dain Jr. 2003)

NEWS & NOTES:

FIVE PODIUMS AND ONE POLE IN TORONTO FOR RLL RACING

The 2013 Honda Indy Toronto will mark the 14th Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) on the streets of Toronto’s Exhi­bi­tion Place and second since 2003.  The team also competed in the Atlantic Series races here in 2003 and 2004.  The team’s highest finish is second, four times (Rahal 1992, 1994, 1995; Michel Jour­dain Jr. 2003) and best start was pole in 1992 by Bobby Rahal.  Prior to the 2013 event, the team prepared a total of 22 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) and Takuma Sato (2012). The team also prepared three Toyota Atlantic entries (Danica Patrick 2003 – 2004; Chris Festa 2004).  The team has earned FIVE podiums (3rd – Rahal 1996), 9 top-five’s and 17 top-10 finishes at the track.  The No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires entry for Graham Rahal and the No. 16 Acorn Stair­lifts entry for James Jakes will bring the Indy car total to 24 entries in 2013.

INAUGURAL TORONTO WINNER RAHAL ON EVENT

Team co-owner Bobby Rahal competed in Toronto from 1986 – 1991 as a driver and from 1992 – 1998 as a team owner/driver.  He earned one win (1986), two poles (1987, 1992), and seven podium finishes in 13 races here.  He also started on the front row three times, earned 10 top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in those 13 races.  He always looks forward to returning to one of the premiere races on the schedule.

From the first year it was held, Toronto has always been a great race,” said Rahal.  “I think the biggest thing is that the Cana­dians truly under­stand and appre­ciate road racing so from our first time there it was always a very popular event and just got huge over the years.  I love going to Canada to race; I spent most of my early career racing in Canada so in some respects it’s a little bit like going home. I’m always excited to go there. I think the Toronto event is equal or similar to Long Beach. It’s certainly one of the premiere races that the series has.”

GRAHAM AND JAMES ON THE RETURN TO STREET COURSE RACING

The past four events were held on oval tracks and both drivers are looking forward to returning to a street course.  “I’m excited as it has been a bit of a struggle lately,” said Rahal. “We’re all excited to get back on the street courses and see how it goes.”
“I’m very confi­dent about heading into Toronto,” added Jakes.  “We were very compet­i­tive in Detroit so I don’t see a reason why we can’t be this weekend. With two races it should be a great oppor­tu­nity to get some great points.”

GRAHAM RAHAL ON HIS PAST SUCCESS AT TORONTO

The 2013 Honda Indy Toronto will mark Graham Rahal’s sixth Indy car race here and seventh overall.  He started from pole in the 2006 Atlantic race but was hit by Raphael Matos on the first lap.  The team repaired the damaged suspen­sion and he returned to the track a few laps down, set the fastest race lap but later retired in 15th place.  He started 15th in the 2007 Champ Car race as a rookie for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (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.  He had to pit again for another front wing later in the race after running as high as second.  He retired in 11th place after he made contact for the third time due to a broken steering rack. A race was not held in Toronto in 2008 but the IndyCar Series returned in 2009 and he started third but was hit by second place starter Will Power, who squeezed him to the wall on the opening lap before Turn 1.  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 Danica 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.  In 2010, he started 14th with Newman/Haas Racing and earned his best finish since his 2008 win in St. Pete of fifth place.  He competed for Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 – 2012. In 2011 he qual­i­fied fifth, led 23 laps and finished 13th.  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. Rahal is looking forward to his return to Toronto and the oppor­tu­nity to earn his best result here to date.

Last year I had a struggle with braking and finally made a mistake that took me out of the race. Years before, I have felt very compet­i­tive and had a chance to win in Toronto before. I will be fighting hard to make it happen this year.”

THIRD TIME IS THE CHARM FOR JAKES IN TORONTO?

The 2013 Honda Indy Toronto will be James Jakes’ third event here and first with RLL.  Prior to earning his best series start and finish of second at the previous double-header races on the streets of Detroit (June 2) this season, Toronto was the site of his best series finish of eighth in 2012.  He qual­i­fied 19th here in 2012, started 24th due to a penalty for an unap­proved engine change and moved through the field to earn his best finish at the time of eighth place.  In 2011, he qual­i­fied 23rd and finished 18th.  Both events were with Dale Coyne Racing.

Last year we were able to finish eighth from the back of the grid due to an engine change.  We were up there on the fastest race lap chart which was nice and should put us in a good posi­tion for this weekend. Usually there is always quite a lot of contact so it’s impor­tant to try and stay clear of that.”

RAHAL AND JAKES ON THE CHALLENGES OF DOUBLE-HEADERS AND THE UPCOMING TORONTO RACES

It is very phys­ical for everyone doing two full races, but I felt good about going there (Detroit),” said Rahal. “I thought it was ok, but phys­i­cally I feel I’m pretty strong. I think mentally it is tough, but again I am looking forward to the chal­lenges ahead.  Toronto shouldn’t be as phys­ical as Detroit because Detroit is extremely busy and bumpy.  We need to continue to work forward and improve as a team, and we should have a good oppor­tu­nity to do so this weekend.  The extra race is track time and the more you get the more you learn.”
“It is a very tough weekend mentally and phys­i­cally espe­cially if you’re up front and are pushing to the extreme,” added Jakes. “If you have good speed during the event it can be very posi­tive for you, but if you are strug­gling a little bit with the balance of the car it can be very tough. With two races you really have to make sure that you maxi­mize the poten­tial in both races because it is a huge chunk of points for a weekend.  For sure you gain infor­ma­tion in Race 1 that helps you for Race 2. The track gener­ally grips up during the race weekend and that can change the balance quite a bit. So if the condi­tions stay the same throughout the weekend this really helps.”

RAHAL AND JAKES ON THE CHALLENGES OF THE TORONTO COURSE

It’s bumpy, very busy, and I think it will be ultra compet­i­tive,” said Rahal. “I think as a team with our recent devel­op­ments we should see an improved perfor­mance on the street courses, and we have shown to be quick at other spots this year. I am defi­nitely looking forward to it.”

Toronto is very much like a combi­na­tion of Detroit and Long Beach,” said Jakes. “I would say the ride is pretty similar to Long Beach with regards to bumps. Detroit has a lot more bumps but it has concrete patches like Toronto and it’s pretty diffi­cult to set the car up over those parts of the track. I’m very much looking forward to Toronto. It’s always a fun event and I believe we should be very compet­i­tive there. ”

RAHAL AND JAKES ON THE STANDING START

The IZOD IndyCar Series will conduct a standing start for the first time in the first race of the Two in T.O. double­header. The last time an Indy car race had a standing start was at the final race for Champ Car at Long Beach in 2008 when Will Power swept around the first three cars to take the lead. While previous Champ Car regu­lars competed in Long Beach, the IndyCar Series (then Indy Racing League) held a race in Motegi, Japan that same weekend there­fore some drivers have more recent expe­ri­ence with the process than others. Rahal partic­i­pated in the Long Beach event for NHLR in 2008 and Jakes made a standing start as recent as 2010.

My last standing start was in the final Champ Car race in Long Beach (2008),” said Rahal. “I think it will be ok. It’s a chal­lenge in these cars with the turbos (engines) and all, but I think it will be okay. I am a fan of the tradi­tional rolling start, but I guess were looking to spice it up a bit.”

I cannot wait for the standing starts,” added Jakes.  “Its some­thing I believe we should be doing on every street and road course. My last standing start was in Monza in 2010.”

JAKES ON ONE OF HIS FAVORITE RACE MARKETS

Jakes, who was born in Leeds, England, splits his time between his U.S. base of Orlando, Fla. and Toronto, Ontario, Canada and calls Toronto one of his favorite race markets.
“Toronto is a great place,” said Jakes, who arrived to Toronto on Sunday night after Pocono.  “It has so many different nation­al­i­ties and there always seems to be some­thing to do. There are some great golf course to play, and lots of fun restau­rants and bars to hang out in.”