Rahal Ran Well Before an Engine Issue Shortened His Day; Servia Up to Speed Quickly After a Refresher Program for the Indy 500

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 Presented by PennGrade

Verizon IndyCar Series

OPENING DAY NOTES/QUOTES – May 15, 2017

 

RAHAL RAN WELL BEFORE AN ENGINE ISSUE SHORTENED HIS DAY; SERVIA UP TO SPEED QUICKLY AFTER A REFRESHER PROGRAM FOR THE 101ST RUNNING OF THE INDY 500  

1)         Marco Andretti             226.338 mph     47 laps

6)         Graham Rahal              224.407 mph     35 laps

11)        Oriol Servia                  223.547 mph     34 laps

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We had a good and bad day.  I think the Steak ‘n Shake car has a lot of pace and is fast. Obviously, to lose an engine is frustrating but I know the Honda guys are pushing these things as hard as they can. I would have liked to be a little better but we are struggling a little bit in traffic but its early days and we can’t panic. She’s in one piece, we going to change the engine and fire it up tomorrow.  (On the feeling when the engine was letting go:) It rattles you good.  When it goes like that, the whole car starts to shake good. We didn’t get everything done that we wanted too today.  We wanted to only run a limited amount of tires today so we didn’t run much – only two sets and not even fully two sets. We tried to save them up for later.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his 10th Indy 500. His best qualifying position in the Indy 500 is fourth in 2009 with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and best finish is third with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 after he led six laps. He ran in the top-five in five of his eight 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. In 2013, he qualified 26th and pitted from ninth place for his second to last stop and his outside rear tire changer had a mechanical problem and Rahal returned to the track in 21st place. He was in 17th with eight laps to go and lost control of his car in Turn 2 and made contact with the wall. In 2014, he started 20th but finished 33rd due to an electrical problem that kept shutting his engine off.  In 2015, he drove to a fifth place finish after starting 17th… Started 26th for the 2016 race and ran 10th in the final stage despite many challenges before a Lap 190/200 stop for a splash of fuel was followed by a 14th place finish in a race in a race where the outcome was dictated by fuel strategy.  Rahal lost his left rear winglet and 100 lbs. of downforce after his Lap 96/200 pit stop, had to make an extra stop for a splash of fuel in a closed pit before it opened and avoid two near misses when Montoya and Aleshin crashed in separate incidents immediately in front of Rahal. He also took a hit to the right rear of the car by Servia. Despite those incidents, he would have been in a decent position if he had been able to stretch his fuel mileage until the checkered flag.

ORIOL SERVIA, No. 16 Manitowoc Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It’s great to be back in an Indy car. It felt like I was in a car only yesterday.  It was a good, solid first day.  If we can keep having good days like this, I think we have a shot.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his 200th Indy car start… The 2017 Indy 500 will be Servia’s ninth in the famed race and fourth with RLL. His best finish overall is fourth in 2012 with Dreyer & Reinbold and best start is third in 2011 with Newman/Haas Racing. In the 2009 Indianapolis 500 with RLL, Servia was in ninth place halfway through the race when a mechanical failure led to his retirement in 26th place. In 2014, he competed for the team in Long Beach, at Barber Motorsports Park and two events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he led seven laps in the road course race but finished 12th, qualified 18th for the Indy 500 and finished 11th.  In 2015, Servia retired in 29th place from the Indy 500 with RLL after Ed Carpenter attempted an inside pass while Servia was 15th and took both drivers out of the race after 112 of 200 laps… He will compete for RLL in the Indy 500 and doubleheaders in Detroit…  A native of Pals, Spain, Servia has made 199 starts in CART, Champ Car and the IndyCar Series since his rookie season in 2000.  His Indy car highlights include one win (Montreal 2005) and one pole (Surfers Paradise, Australia 2005) as well as a total of 19 top-three, 51 top-five and 101 top-10 finishes.

NEXT UP: Practice will take place from 12-6 p.m. ET tomorrow.

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