Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – Barber Motorsports Park
IZOD IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, April 7, 2013
MIDAS / BIG O TIRES DRIVER RAHAL DROPPED FROM 12TH TO 21ST AFTER RUNNING OUT OF FUEL ON THE FINAL LAP OF THE HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA; ACORN STAIRLIFTS DRIVER JAKES FINISHED 23RD AFTER PROBLEMS
SUMMARY: Graham Rahal started 21st in the 90-lap race but made contact with Servia on the opening lap when the field checked up. He had to pit for a new front wing and returned to the track in 25th place. He worked his way into a solid finishing position of 12th place but ran out of fuel on the final lap and coasted to the checkered flag in 21st. James Jakes started 11th and was in 12th place when he reported a problem with the rear of the car early in the race. After stops on Laps 10 and 11 it was determined that the camber shims had fallen out of the left rear upright. Once that was fixed, he returned to the track two laps down in 25th place. He soldiered on and ran the fastest lap of the race near the end of the event and finished 23rd.
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I got into (Oriol) Servia at the start; everyone just checked up and I had no where to go. I was going really slow but he hit the brakes and I feel bad. There was no way I could get it stopped and just punted him. Then I felt like we got into a rhythm and we started to pass some cars. The car kind of struggled in traffic a bit but I still thought we were going to have the pace to move forward. On old tires the car became a big handful behind guys and unfortunately I just didn’t have the pace to drive around them. On the last lap we ran out of fuel. I was hitting the fuel number that I was being told but obviously the fuel number was off. Unfortunately all of that hard work was for nothing. I ran out of fuel on the back straight and coasted across the finish line but lost a lot of positions. I worked hard today and the Midas / Big O Tires team did a good job so I am disappointed we didn’t get the finish we thought we would.”
FAST FACTS: Was his fourth race here. Started 8th, led 1 lap and finished 4th here in 2012 with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing. Started 10th and finished 18th in 2011 with SCCGR. Started 15th and finished 17th for Sarah Fisher Racing in ‘10… This will be Rahal’s first full season at RLL, sixth in the IZOD IndyCar Series and seventh in a top open wheel racing series (CCWS 2007)… The Ohio native recorded 92 starts between the Champ Car World Series and IZOD IndyCar Series (2007 – 2012) capturing one win, two poles, 19 top-five and 44-top 10 finishes. He led a total of 28 laps in 2012 – 27 at Texas Motor Speedway where he nearly claimed victory — had an average start of 12.4 and average finish of 11.2, earned three podium finishes and completed 87.2 percent of the laps run (1,841 of 2,111).
JAMES JAKES, No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The Acorn Stairlifts team had good pace all weekend and I think that if we hadn’t had a problem in the race, we would have finished in the top six. We had a great strategy; we worked well in the warmup on a setup to preserve the tires and had just a bit of bad fortune in the race but I know the guys will work hard and be ready for Long Beach. On a positive note, we set the fastest lap of the race.”
FAST FACTS: Was his third race here. He qualified 20th and finished 16th in 2012 and qualified and retired in 25th place in 2011 due to mechanical failure – both with Dale Coyne Racing. He was 9th fastest in Practice 4 of the 2013 Open Test at BMP and 11th overall.… Jakes began racing in 2002 in the British T-Car series where he finished second. He graduated to the British Formula Renault Series in 2004 – 2005. In 2005 he finished second in the standings after seven podium finishes and two poles and was named a Rising Star by the prestigious British Racing Drivers Club and was a McLaren Autosport Award finalist. He progressed to the British Formula 3 Series and Formula 3 Euro Series (2007 – 2008) where he won the Pau Grand Prix from pole in 2008 and set the fastest race lap. He earned two podiums in the GP2 Asia series (2008 – 2009) and a pole and two podiums in GP3 (2010) and finished eighth in series standings despite missing four races because of injury… Will compete in his third season in the IndyCar Series and first with RLL. In 31 Indy car starts with Dale Coyne Racing from 2011 – 2012, his best finish was eighth at Toronto and series-best start of eighth was at Motegi.
BOBBY RAHAL, team co-owner: “It was a tough day for us for both cars. We ran Graham out of fuel. We were trying to get it right there with just enough to make it to the end and knew it was going to be tight. We got close but not close enough unfortunately; mainly because we had to stop early for the tires because we were going backwards and that put us in a real box. We had to backpedal from there to try and make it and unfortunately we couldn’t. He was getting the fuel numbers that I asked him to get. I take responsibility for that one. James had some issues which we need to address. It’s the second race in a row that we have had refueling probe issues with the redhead. And we have to qualify higher up. It’s difficult to feature when you start in the back of the field. We have a lot of work to do before the next race.”
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT BARBER… This was the second IndyCar race for the team at Barber Motorsports Park. In 2012, the team prepared an entry for Takuma Sato who set the third fastest time in Friday’s first practice and was fastest in the wet second session but traffic limited his qualifying performance to 16th. In the race he passed four cars for 12th place on red alternate tires but struggled on primary tires and ultimately retired in 24th place due to mechanical failure after 52/90 laps.
NEXT UP: The series will return to action April 19 – 21 in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. It will mark the 14th Indy car race for the team here. In total, the team won three poles (Herta 1998, Vasser 2002, Jourdain, Jr. 2003); made five front row starts including an all-Team Rahal front row in 1998 (2nd – Rahal 1998, Brack 2001); earned their best finish of second place three times (Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002) and earned five podiums (2nd — Rahal 1992 – 1993, Vasser 2002; 3rd — Herta 1998 – 1999). In 2003 the team appeared destined to win when Michel Jourdain, Jr. won pole, led a race high 48 laps and was in the lead when his car stuck in gear on his final stop with seven laps to go and ultimately retired in 15th place. In 2012, Sato was en route to a career-best series finish of third with RLL on the final lap when he was the victim of “avoidable contact” by Ryan Hunter-Reay in Turn 8 and ultimately was scored with an eight place finish due to a multi-car pileup that blocked the track leading to the front straight.
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