Rahal and Jakes Return to the Streets of Belle Isle for the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit

Pre-Race Notes
Chevrolet Indy Duel in Detroit – Raceway at Belle Isle Park
Round 6 and 7 of 19 in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series
 
DATE:                                           May 31 – June 2, 2013
QUALIFYING BROADCAST:       None; LIVE on www.indycar.com (timing & scoring with audio commen­tary)
RACE BROADCAST:                   Live on Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2 – both at 3:30 p.m.  ET on ABC
RADIO BROADCAST:                  The race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM channel 94 & Sirius channel 212
TRACK LAYOUT:                         2.36-mile, 13-turn tempo­rary street course
RACE LENGTH:                            70 laps / 164.22 miles (each race) 
2012 WINNER:                              Scott Dixon
2012 POLESITTER:                      Scott Dixon (1:10.5036; 2.07 mile layout)
 
RAHAL’S BEST ROAD/
STREET START/FINISH:              Pole at St. Pete (street) 2009 / 1st at St. Pete in 2008
RAHAL’S BEST DETROIT
START/FINISH:                             6th / 13th – both in 2008; will be his third start here
 
JAKESBEST ROAD/
STREET START/FINISH:              8th at Motegi (road) in 2011 / 8th at Toronto (street) in 2012
JAKESBEST DETROIT
START/FINISH:                             25th / 23rd (DNF; mechan­ical) – both in 2012; will be second start here
 
RLL’S BEST START/
FINISH AT DETROIT:                    2nd / 1st – both in 1992 by Bobby Rahal in the inau­gural Belle Isle event
 
 
 
NEWS & NOTES:
 
WIN, 1 FRONT ROW START, 2 PODIUMS IN 13 BELLE ISLE RACES FOR RLL RACING
The Chevrolet Indy Duel in Detroit will mark the IZOD IndyCar Series’ fourth visit to Detroit, and it’s second since 2008. The Motor City hosted Indy car racing from 1989 – 91 in Down­town Detroit. The race moved to Belle Isle Park from 1992 – 2001 and 2007 – 2008 and returned in 2012.  
 
The 2013 event will mark the 14th year for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) to compete at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.  The team’s highest start of second place and highest finish of first in the event came in the inau­gural running on Belle Isle in 1992 by Bobby Rahal.  In total, the team has earned two podiums (Max Papis 2000 – 2nd), three top-five finishes and nine top-10’s here (chart avail­able). Prior to 2013, the team prepared a total of 21 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992 – 1998), Mike Groff (1993 – 94), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996 – 99), Max Papis (1999 – 2001), Kenny Brack (2000 – 01), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007 – 08) and Takuma Sato (2012).  Last year Sato qual­i­fied 12th and was sixth when he hit a curb that wrenched the steering wheel from his hands and retired in 20th place after he hit the wall.  The No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires entry for Graham Rahal and the No. 16 Acorn Stair­lifts entry for James Jakes will bring that total to 23 in 2013.
 
BOBBY RAHAL IN DETROIT
Bobby Rahal competed in down­town Detroit from 1989 – 1991 with two second place finishes to his credit.  When the series moved to Belle Isle, he won the inau­gural event in 1992 and went on to compete there through 1998.  In total, he competed in Detroit 10 times (three down­town, seven on Belle Isle) with one win (1992), three podiums (2nd — 1990, 1991), four top five finishes and five top-10’s. A chart is avail­able upon request.
 
DOUBLE THE FUN
The Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit will mark the first of three double­headers on the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule. The series will race a pair of 70-lap races Saturday and Sunday on the 2.36-mile tempo­rary street circuit, posing a unique chal­lenge for IZOD IndyCar Series drivers and teams. In addi­tion, SONAX will offer a $50,000 bonus to any driver who can win both races through the SONAX Perfect Finish Award.
            “There are a lot of chal­lenges for the teams and drivers phys­i­cally, however I feel its nothing but posi­tive for the fans,” said Rahal. “I really hope they all enjoy the show we will put on, and most of all feel they are getting their moneys worth. It will be a very demanding and phys­i­cally tiring weekend, but I am up for the chal­lenge.”
 
THIRD TIME THE CHARM FOR RAHAL?
The event will be Graham’s third here.  He qual­i­fied seventh with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2012 but had a 10-grid penalty for an unap­proved engine change and started 17.  He was eighth when he made his final stop on Lap 45/60 but during the red flag to repair the track, a clutch problem surfaced and he was unable to continue and retired in 19th place. In 2008 he drove for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and progressed to the Fire­stone Fast Six in qual­i­fying for the first time in his series career and qual­i­fied sixth.  The team chose the same pit strategy as then race leader Dixon which almost worked but a late race fourth caution botched the plan and he had to stop for a splash of fuel with three laps to go and dropped to 13th. Rahal hopes to earn his second podium finish of the season in Detroit after a second place finish in Round 3 at Long Beach.
            “We had a great race, marched through the field, passed a ton of cars, but unfor­tu­nately the clutch failed under the red flag there­fore we couldn’t get it restarted and fell to the back,” recalled Rahal. “It was very frus­trating as we were extremely quick last year!”
 
AFTER MECHANICAL WOES IN 2012, JAKES LOOKS FORWARD TO DETROIT RETURN
The 2013 event will be his second here.  He qual­i­fied 25th at Belle Isle last year with Dale Coyne Racing and had gained seven spots by Lap 14 before a problem surfaced and he retired in 23rd due to mechan­ical failure.
                “Last years race was very short lived. I had a brake master cylinder problem and stopped early into the race. I did struggle a little bit with the track, with learning it and figuring out which was the best way to get around so I’m hoping to improve that this weekend.”
 
RAHAL AND JAKES ON THE CHALLENGES OF THE COURSE
“It’s always a tough circuit because of the mix of high and low speed corners, as well as the various different types of asphalt,” said Rahal. “Detroit has always typi­cally been very bumpy, although by the sounds of it Roger has done a tremen­dous job to repave a lot of the circuit. Its one of the toughest, highest commit­ment street circuits we go to.”
                “It’s a fun track to drive,” added Jakes. “It will be nice to be back on a street course after spending such a long time on an oval. We were compet­i­tive in Long Beach and obvi­ously Brazil so hope­fully we can get a good result in Detroit.  We’ve shown good pace on a number of occa­sions and it has been frus­trating not to capi­talize on it but we are close. We will be pushing as hard as ever. I am looking forward to it.”
 
RAHAL ON HIS EXPECTATIONS FOR THE DETROIT DUELS
“We want to run up front, there is no reason we can’t, and I think this team is up for the chal­lenge,” said Rahal. “We know we need to improve and now is a good time to score a lot of points. We are looking forward to the next four weeks in a row, and this is the start of it all!”
 
RAHAL AND JAKES ON THE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE COURSE
“I have heard nothing but good things, and I think this new circuit will really improve the passing zones and oppor­tu­ni­ties. For us with a 10 place grid penalty for the first race it will be some­what of a chal­lenge, but by the sounds of it we should be able to pass our way forward if need be.”
                “We know there have been improve­ments and I can’t wait to check them out,” said Jakes.  “It was very bumpy last year and obvi­ously the setup was quite crucial. They have repaved areas and extended the straight so it will be nice to check it out.”
 
RAHAL ON HIS 10-GRID PENALTY
RLL made an unap­proved engine change on the No. 15 entry for the Indy 500 and will be assessed a 10-grid penalty for Race 1 in Detroit. Rahal is hopeful that he can move to the front like he did in Long Beach where he finished second after starting 11th.
                “It certainly makes the road ahead more diffi­cult; however we have started from the back and marched forward before. I feel strongly that our team and our cars should excel in Detroit. I am looking forward to what’s ahead of us.”
 

 – RLL -