Rahal Qualified Eighth for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma; Jakes Qualified 19th

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma – Sonoma Raceway
IZOD IndyCar Series


POLE: Dario Franchitti 1:17.5271 / 110.748 mph (Round 3, Group 2)
8th: Graham Rahal 1:18.3051 / 109.648 mph (Round 2, Group 1)
19th: James Jakes 1:19.1563 / 108.469 mph (Round 1, Group 1)

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We got a lot out of qualifying, I think the lap was solid. Unfortunately we had a few overboost’s and when that happens it basically gives you a penalty. I think we probably lost three or four tenths (of a second) and with that alone I think we could have advanced to the top-six. But eighth is a victory for us right now though. I’m pretty proud of the Big O Tires / Midas guys for pushing as hard as we have. This hasn’t been easy. (New race engineer) Neil (Fife) has done a great job. We found some stuff this weekend that I think is really going to help us on into the future. Honda is pushing hard and doing a great job to put all of our cars up front. I didn’t think it would benefit us in Round 2 to go run on (Firestone) blacks or used reds and fool ourselves and I just wanted to wait (to get on track) and it worked fine for us.”

• FAST FACTS: Will be his sixth Indy car race here. His best start is sixth place with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) in 2009 and best finish is fifth with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR) in 2012. He has finished in the top-10 in all but one of his five races (broken drive shaft in ’09). He qualified 15th for SCCGR in 2012, started 13th after grid penalties were served and finished fifth. He qualified 13th for SCCGR in 2011 and finished eighth. In 2010, he qualified 16th with NHR and finished 9th. Made the final Firestone Fast Six in qualifying six times in the seven road/street races in 2009 and started sixth in Sonoma for NHLR. Contact on the opening lap with Marco Andretti forced an early stop for a new front wing but his drive shaft broke when he attempted to leave the pits. After the car was repaired in the garage area, he returned to the track many laps down in 21st position and ultimately retired in the same place after completing 30 of the 75 laps. He started 15th and finished 8th here in 2008 with NHLR… His best finish this season is second place in Long Beach and best start is 9th at Iowa… Is ranked 17th in series standings with 233 points.

JAMES JAKES, No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was strange, the track conditions were awful at the start of qualifying but then we came in P2 (second fast). We just didn’t anticipate that much grip on the (Firestone) reds so we got caught out really after the one lap, it wasn’t enough. It’s a shame really. I didn’t really think we would get in the top-six. To be honest we were really struggling with the balance a lot. Just putting the perfect lap together might have allowed us to creep into the top-10. We’ve just got a lot of work to do. We passed a lot of cars in the race last year so hopefully we will do the same tomorrow, just get some good points and move on to Baltimore.”

• FAST FACTS: Will be his third event here and first with RLL. In 2012 he qualified 26th, started 24th after two competitors were penalized for an unapproved engine change and finished 12th. In 2011 he qualified 17th and finished 19th. Both events were with Dale Coyne Racing… It is 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 2nd at Detroit Dual 2 and best finish is also 2nd in Detroit’s Dual 2 … Is ranked 18th in series standings with 232 points.

RLL AT SONOMA: This race will mark the sixth Indy car event for RLL here and second since 2008 when Ryan Hunter-Reay started eighth and finished 18th for the team. The highest start and finish for the team here is by Buddy Rice in 2005 when he started sixth and finished second. Prior to the 2013 event, the team prepared a total of 10 Indy car entries for drivers Buddy Rice (2005-2006), Vitor Meira (2005), Danica Patrick (2005-2006), Jeff Simmons (2006), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007-2008), and Takuma Sato (2012). The team has earned one podium (2nd – Rice 2005), 1 top-five and four top-10 finishes at the track. The No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires entry for Graham Rahal and No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts entry for James Jakes will bring the Indy car total to 12 entries in 2013.

NEXT UP: Pre-race warmup will take place tomorrow from 10:05 – 10:35 a.m. PDT and NBC Sports Network will begin coverage of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at 4 p.m. ET. The race will also be 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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