FORT WORTH, Texas (April 16, 2014) – Graham Rahal, 25, completed his first test day on an oval for the 2014 season at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) today. He ran a total of 84 laps around the 1.5-mile high-banked oval in the No. 15 National Guard Honda in sunny but gusty conditions. The Verizon IndyCar Series will compete in the Firestone 600 here on June 7.
“Overall it was a good day even though we were fighting high winds,” said Rahal, who came close to winning at Texas Motor Speedway in 2012 before a slight brush of the wall with two laps to go forced him to settle for second place. “We made some good progress with basic chassis items and I feel like we are really getting somewhere. I am excited and eager to get to Indianapolis with Bill and the team to continue to work on our oval setup. And then come back to Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone 600.”
It was a sunny day with temperatures in the mid-60’s but wind gusts provided additional challenges. Lap times were not comparable as the series wanted to explore various downforce levels through the field in an attempt to determine the best downforce level for the upcoming race at TMS.
“The conditions were pretty bad in the morning when it was windy and then in the afternoon it became very gusty – between 25 and 30 mph wind gusts,” added race engineer Bill Pappas. “It would catch the car differently each lap so trying to detect where you wanted to place the car each lap made it very, very difficult. It was the first test on an oval for Graham and I together so, like the first road course test we did, I was just trying to get in sync with communication and understanding his lingo for ovals which was a big part of the day. We went through a handful of changes in light of the conditions to see if it affected the balance favorably for what he was looking for from the car. At the end of the test, he was a lot more confident in the car and himself compared to last season.”
The next race for the Verizon IndyCar Series will be the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 27 at Barber Motorsports Park. RLL will enter two cars for Graham Rahal, whose best finish there is fourth in 2012, and Oriol Servia whose best finish at Barber is fifth in 2011.
– RLL –