Rahal Letterman Lanigan Ready To Play Two At Texas Indy Car Race

HILLIARD, Ohio (June 7, 2011) — It is not imme­di­ately known whether Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame short­stop Ernie Banks ever drove a race car, but his famed “Let’s Play Two’ rallying cry will be Saturday’s night’s theme for Rahal Letterman Lanigan and driver Jay Howard.

For the first time since 1981, Indy cars will contest two races on the same date as Saturday evening sees Texas Motor Speedway play host to the Fire­stone Twin 275s on the demanding high-banked 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth. The historic occa­sion features one 114-lap event begin­ning at 7:45 p.m. Central Time with another to follow at approx­i­mately 9:45. To throw an added twist into the mix, the starting grid for the second race is slated to be set by a blind draw to be held upon the conclu­sion of the first race.

For RLL, the evening marks another forward step as it builds on a posi­tive showing at Indi­anapolis two weeks ago. The Texas event is the first Indy Car Series event other than the Indi­anapolis 500 that the team has contested since 2008, and the Ohio-based squad will do so by again part­nering with Sam Schmidt Motor­sports to field the #88 Service Central SSM/RLL Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Jay Howard. Howard, who had a promising run at the 500 dashed by a loose wheel, will make his second start at Texas, having run with Sarah Fisher Racing one season ago.

“I am excited to be going to Texas, I lived in Dallas for a short time, so it’s nice to visit again,” Howard said. “The new format is going to be cool, and just like the double file restarts, will make for exciting racing espe­cially in race 2!”

Rahal Letterman Lanigan has reason to be opti­mistic about its sojourn to Texas as well. The team won the pole in 2007 and had a real­istic chance to win the race in 2008 with Ryan Hunter-Reay, before he and Marco Andretti tangled with five laps to go while fighting for second place behind even­tual race winner Scott Dixon.

“We have had fast cars at Texas and it is a place that suits our team well,” said RLL Senior VP of Oper­a­tions Scott Roembke. “We were very encour­aged by how racy Jay Howard was at Indi­anapolis and we expect to repre­sent ourselves and Service Central well this weekend. This will be an inter­esting event. With only an hour between races, keeping your nose clean will go a long way toward deter­mining what kind of night you will have, but you have to go hard because there are 25 other cars that will be charging all night long.”

Things get underway on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway with a 75-minute prac­tice session leading into single-car qual­i­fying at 3:45 p.m. The teams will have another 30-minute prac­tice outing after qual­i­fying, which will set the stage for Saturday’s races. The event will both be tele­vised live on Versus with coverage slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time.