Rahal Matched His Best Mid-Ohio Qualifying Effort With a Fourth Place Start for the Honda Indy 200

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Verizon IndyCar Series

QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – July 29, 2017

 

STEAK ‘N SHAKE DRIVER RAHAL MATCHED HIS BEST MID-OHIO QUALIFYING EFFORT WITH A FOURTH PLACE START FOR THE HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO

 

1)         Will Power          1:04.1720 / 126.672 mph       (Round 3)

4)         Graham Rahal    1:04.7959 / 125.452 mph       (Round 3; P1 lap from R2 – 1:04.08)

 

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “To have the Steak ‘n Shake Honda be the fastest overall in qualifying is special but we would have liked to be on pole. I messed up on my best lap in Q3 and obviously the two rounds before I put it all together but when it counted we lost a lot in the last turn, in turn 12, on the very start of the final lap.  I don’t know if we had enough on used reds – Power was on used reds too – but I don’t think I had that sort of time in me but we were definitely better than fourth so I’m a little disappointed in fourth place.  I lost four-tenths in one corners alone and then on the last lap I almost lost it.  It’s great for our team and program to be up front once again. We’ve got a good starting spot and hopefully can battle from there. Last year you saw with the three-stopper that a lot of guys were on reds, even if they were used they were preferred. This year it’s a new tire so we haven’t run them a full stint yet. We’re in a really good spot in terms of tires. We didn’t use any new blacks and Helio used two sets in qualifying. So I thinking tomorrow morning we can use a set and then we can have a heyday in the race and run whatever we want.”

  • FAST FACTS: Matched his best start of fourth place here from 2009 for his 10th Indy car race here. His best start is fourth in 2009 (and 2017) and his best finish is his win here in 2015. He has competed in many other series at his “home track.” In 2016, he started sixth and was passed by Montoya on the start when he experienced an over boost. Once that was adjusted, he settled into seventh place and made his first stop on Lap 17 during a caution for contact between Dixon and Castroneves. He returned to the race in 17th place while multiple fuel strategies were in play and the top three had yet to pit.  He moved to 15th after Castroneves and Newgarden had issues and would have gained two spots but was passed by Kanaan and ran 15th. He was eighth when he made his second stop on Lap 40/90 and returned to the track in 14th place.  After attrition took a few drivers out, Rahal ran 10th by Lap 51. He passed Pigot for ninth place on Lap 59 and made his final stop during the caution for Hawksworth on Lap 62. He returned to the track in 10th place and once the race was restarted, fifth place Kimball drove off track and Rahal moved into 9th. He was able to pass Kanaan on Lap 67 for eighth place and Ryan Hunter-Reay for seventh on Lap 77.  Once race leader Daly made his out-of-sequence stop on Lap 84, Rahal moved into sixth.  He closed on Bourdais to set up a possible pass but fifth place Bourdais attempted to pass fourth place Sato and the two collided and Rahal moved to fourth.  He closed on third place Munoz but was unable to pass before the checkered flag. In 2015, he led a race-high 23 laps en route to victory with a 3.4-second margin over Justin Wilson.  In 2014, he qualified seventh and avoided an opening lap, multi-car crash to take over fourth place. He maintained a top-five position throughout the race with the exception of pit cycles and ran as high as third at one point. An alternate strategy played out for eventual winner Scott Dixon who started 22nd and made four pit stops in comparison to the majority who made three. Rahal took the checkered flag in fifth place to better his previous best finish at this track of eighth place in 2009. In 2013, Rahal qualified 22nd, and ran as high as eighth on a three pit stop strategy but finished 18th after being held up by drivers on a two-stop strategy.  In 2012 he qualified 22nd, started 21st (engine penalty ahead on grid) and finished 11th with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR). In 2011 he qualified sixth, stalled in the pits after his first stop and finished 24th with SCCGR.  In 2010, he qualified 25th with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) and had moved up to 14th when he attempted to pass Wheldon for 13th on Lap 61/85 in T2 and went off course and dropped to 21st. Finished 20th.  In 2009, he started fourth with NHLR and looked likely to finish fourth before an off-track excursion while fifth late in the race led to an eighth place finish.  In 2008, he started 14th with NHLR and ran as high as eighth, but an off track excursion on lap 53 limited him to a 16th place finish.  At the age of 16 in 2005, he became the youngest to claim the SCCA National Formula Atlantic championship at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs here by a dominant 43-seconds.  He also competed in the Star Mazda race here in 2005 (S/F 4/9) and tested a Grand Am car here in 2007… His best finishes this season are two wins in Detroit and best start is pole for Detroit Race 1… Rahal is tied for fifth in series point standings with a total of He is 64 points behind leader Scott Dixon (423), 61 behind second place Helio Castroneves (420), 45 behind third place Simon Pagenaud (404), 41 behind fourth place Josef Newgarden (400), and tied with fifth place Will Power (359).

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT MID-OHIO … The Honda Indy 200 will mark the 20th Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here. The team also competed in the Atlantic Series race in 2003 with Danica Patrick and has competed in ALMS races here in 2007 and from 2009-2012.  The team has one win (G. Rahal 2015), three podiums (3rd: B. Rahal 1997, 1998) and the highest start is pole (Herta 1997).  Another front row start came in 1999 (Herta; 2nd).  Prior to the 2017 event, the team prepared a total of 29 Indy car entries for drivers Bobby Rahal (1992-98), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jourdain Jr. (2002-03) Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007-2008), Takuma Sato (2012), Graham Rahal (2013-2016) and James Jakes (2013).  The team has earned THREE podiums (1st – G. Rahal; 3rd – Rahal 1997, 1998), 12 top-five’s and 16 top-10 finishes at the track.  The No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake entry for Graham Rahal will bring the Indy car total to 30 entries in 2016.

NEXT UP:  The morning warm-up will take place tomorrow from 11:15-11:45 a.m. ET and the 90-lap race will take the Green Flag at 3:47 p.m.  The Honda Indy 200 will be televised live on CNBC beginning at 3:00 PM ET Sunday, July 30. NBCSN will re-air the race beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

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