Rahal Qualified 26th for the Indy 500 on “Bump Day” but the Team Was Unable to Get Jourdain Jr. Up to Speed to Qualify

Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
BUMP DAY NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, May 19, 2013


25th:       Josef Newgarden (Day 2)  4-lap avg. speed of 225.731 mph    (L1: 39.8550, L2: 39.8554, L3: 39.8777, L4: 39.8935)
26th:       Graham Rahal (Day 2)       4-lap avg. speed of 225.007 mph    (L1: 39.9699, L2: 39.9812, L3: 40.0092, L4: 40.0345)

OVERALL: Rahal made one qualifying attempt today and it yielded a 26th place starting spot. After Rahal was in the field, he got in the No. 17 car at approx. 2:30 p.m. ET, made two outings and provided feedback on Jourdain’s car. The team checked the car, changed the under tray, front and rear wings and other items, went through a series technical inspection and returned to the track. Their best lap of the day was 219.843 mph and they were unable to get up to the speed the 33rd qualifier had posted (223.176 mph average over 4 laps) and made the difficult decision to cease running at approx. 5:45 p.m. ET.

BOBBY RAHAL, team co-owner: “We are obviously very disappointed for Michel and the Office Depot team.  Despite our best efforts we could not determine the source of major instability in the car. Graham confirmed Michel’s feelings about the car when he drove it. Obviously we are quite upset about it. Until we do a complete investigation of the car, it’s pointless to guess what it might be. This chassis only has one race on it which was Long Beach with Mike Conway.”

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “The Midas / Big O Tires boys have been working extremely hard and I think we have made the car significantly better.  Yesterday I think the car handled a little bit better than it did on the qualifying run I made today but it doesn’t matter, we’re in and that the biggest thing.  That was a tough four laps. We are moving on and focusing on next Sunday. We worked on the race car this afternoon, and that was what we needed to do today.  I have been in this spot before in 2011 and it was actually my best finish ever here so I kind of knew this would be the way it was. We thought we would go quicker yesterday. We fought some uphill battles and unfortunately we could qualify. We went out this morning and right away the car was back up in the 226’s so it knew the car had plenty of speed in it. We just needed to get four laps in and move on. When the temperatures were as high as they were today, the car was sliding around significantly more.  I could feel that and the wind gusts. It was pretty much on edge a couple of times but you just hold your breath, get your four laps done and get in the show.”

  • 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 had a very busy day; we got a lot done with the race setup.  We did a lot of laps – 118 – so it was a great day for the Acorn Stairlifts car. The car was good, very good. I am very confident for the race. We should be in good shape for next weekend.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his second race here and he will start 20th.  He worked on his race setup today and ran 118 laps with a best lap time of 220.818 mph. 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:  “It’s so hard because the guys tried so hard but we struggled a lot and some days it was feeling a little better but it was just never really there. This morning we tried James Jakes’ set up and it was impossible to drive and then we tried Graham’s set up but it felt exactly the same and he couldn’t drive it. It felt exactly the same. We changed whatever we had time to but it just felt the same and we couldn’t drive it.  To trim like we needed to do to put it in the race would have put it in the wall.”

  • FAST FACTS: Jourdain was making his third attempt at the Indy 500 and second with RLL.  His fastest lap today was 219.843 mph… 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 and the No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts entry for James Jakes will bring that total to 30 in 2013.

NEXT UP: Carb Day will be Friday, May 24 with final practice from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET.  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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