Rahal, Jakes and Jourdain Jr. Focused on Qualifying Setups Until Rain Brought an End to the Day

Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
FAST FRIDAY NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, May 17, 2013
1)         E.J. Viso                     229.537 mph / 39.2093          15 laps
20)       Graham Rahal           226.152 mph / 39.7963          43 laps
27)       James Jakes              224.632 mph / 40.0655          23 laps
30)       Michel Jourdain Jr.   223.266 mph / 40.3107          16 laps
OVERALL: “Fast Friday” had another meaning today as drivers got a boost for the seventh day of practice for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race as they transitioned from race setup evaluation to mostly qualifying simulations.  As with the 2012 race, the boost level was upped from 130 kPa to 140 kPa for “Fast Friday” as drivers/teams focused on qualifying setups and the two days of qualifications. The boost level to the 2.2-liter, turbocharged V-6 engines will return to 130 kPa for the one-hour final practice May 24 and Race Day on May 26.  Rain brought an end to practice at approx. 3 p.m. ET.
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “Our plan for “Fast Friday” was to get as many new-tire runs in that we could to see how the balance is and to see how much speed we could get out of the car and I think we found some good stuff. We made some changes today to the Midas/Big O Tires car that will not only improve the car for qualifying but also in the race.  It’s always good when you find things like that.  We’ll just keep moving forward. I feel good about where we are.  I think we’re certainly amongst the best of the Honda’s. There is a little bit more room to go but we’re close.
(On getting nervous for qualifying:) “I think everybody gets nervous, its just part of the deal. It’s one of the biggest days of your life every year to come here and qualifying at Indy. We’ll be giving it our all, I know that.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his sixth Indy 500.  He ran in the top-five in four of his five previous races here.  In 2008, with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, he was the highest Indy 500 starter of the Champ Car transitioning teams with his 13th place qualifying effort but made contact on L36 after driving high to avoid the slower car of Lloyd and retired in 33rd place.  He qualified fourth for NHLR in the 2009 Indy 500 but made contact on L56 while fifth and retired in 31st. In 2010, he competed for his father’s team – RLL – for the first time in an Indy car. He qualified seventh and ran as high as second but a blocking penalty on L188/200 dropped him from third to a 12th place finish. He qualified 29th with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 and earned his best finish at Indy to date of third place after he led six laps. In 2012, he qualified 12th, ran as high as third and finished 13th for SCCGR… This is Rahal’s first full season at RLL, sixth in the IZOD IndyCar Series and seventh in a top open wheel racing series (CCWS 2007)… His best finish this season is second place in Long Beach and best start is 11th — also in Long Beach… He is 14th in the series point standings with 74.

JAMES JAKES, No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We did a lot of good work today.  We were obviously hindered by the weather but I think we are in good shape. If we put everything together we should have a strong package for qualifying tomorrow.  Obviously now it gives us a chance to look over some data, some extra time. We’ll see what happens. All guns blazing tomorrow. All three cars have worked well together all week. I’m excited to get out there tomorrow.
(On preference for qualifying draw:) “It would be great to be the late teen’s. I don’t want to be the first out and I don’t want to be the last out. To be honest I don’t care, it doesn’t really bother me. You have to go out at some point right? Here qualifying is so different to everywhere else. It’s not too dissimilar to a test session apart from the fact that you are the only car on track. Let’s see if we can get all three cars Rahal Letterman Lanigan cars inside the top-10.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his second race here. He qualified 17th and finished 15th in 2012. In 2011, he attempted to qualify but the car was not fast enough. Both events were with Dale Coyne Racing… Jakes is competing 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… His best start to date this season is 11th at Barber and best finish is 12th at Long Beach although he had the potential to finish higher in each race… Is ranked 22nd in series standings with 53 points.

MICHEL JOURDAIN JR, No. 17 Office Depot Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We didn’t get as much done before the rain came as we wanted to.  We wanted to run five new sets of tires. We had a little problem with the weight jacker that they had to fix this morning so we were delayed a couple of hours so we were only able to run one set of tires and do our first trim so we are a little behind schedule but better than last year.  It’s tough because its so competitive.  It’s going to be really tough for me to be in the top-24 but we will see where are tomorrow.  In the pre-qualifying practice we have to do two steps of trimming (the aerodynamic settings of the car) and we’ll see if we can get them done in the morning and see what we have for qualifying.”

  • FAST FACTS: Jourdain is making his third attempt at the Indy 500 and second with RLL… His No. 17 Honda-Dallara-Firestone entry is sponsored by Office Depot Mexico with associate sponsorship from Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi… He started 22nd in his second Indianapolis 500 race in 2012 and finished 19th with RLL. He was called into a closed pit then penalized with a drive-through which put him one lap down after he ran in the top half of the field mid-race.  He qualified eighth and finished 13th in 1996.  When he participated in the 2012 Indy 500, Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the site of his first laps behind the wheel of an Indy car since 2004… He made 152 starts in the CART/Champ Car World Series and three in the IRL/IndyCar Series (1996/97 season) between 1996-2004… His highest finish in the IRL/IndyCar Series is second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1996 and he earned two wins in CART/CCWS in 2003 at Montreal and Milwaukee while driving for Team Rahal… With support from Ford Motor Company, he moved to NASCAR’s Nationwide Series from 2005-2008 and also competed in the Camping World Truck Series in 2006. Since then, he competed in various rally and sports car series. 

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY … The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addition, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139-140 and laps 189-197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ultimately ended under caution when JR Hildebrand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap… The 2013 race will mark the 16th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2013, the team prepared a total of 28 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002-2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to practice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasukawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011), Jay Howard (2011), Takuma Sato (2012) and Michel Jourdain (2012).  The No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires entry for Graham Rahal, No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts entry for James Jakes and No. 17 Office Depot entry for Michel Jourdain will bring that total to 31 in 2013.
NEXT UP: Practice will resume tomorrow from 8-10 a.m. ET.  Qualifying for Segment 1 will take place from 11-4 p.m. with Segment 2 taking place from 4:30-6:00 to determine the top nine qualifiers.  NBC Sports Network will air qualifying action from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m.  The 97th Indianapolis 500 race will be May 26 and will be televised by ABC at 12 p.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on Sirius XM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com.
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