Rahal Ready to Defend His 2016 Victory in Texas From an 11th Place Start in the Rainguard Water Sealers 600

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rainguard Water Sealers 600 – Texas Motor Speedway
Verizon IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, June 9, 2017

RAHAL QUALIFIED 11TH FOR SATURDAY NIGHT’S RAINGUARD WATER SEALERS 600 AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

POLE: Charlie Kimball  2-lap avg. speed of 222.556 mph (L1: 222.364, L2: 222.747 mph)
11th:    Graham Rahal  2-lap avg. speed of 220.954 mph (L1: 220.919, L2: 220.990 mph)

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Mi-Jack / Bobby Rahal Automotive Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The car was okay, maybe we could have trimmed a little more. It didn’t quite pull all of the six gears. The track grip felt really low. It seemed to take a couple of laps just to get the tires to come in and start working but it was a solid run. There are guys that I knew would go quicker than that but it was an okay run. I was just hoping to stay in the top-10. We just wanted a good, solid starting spot for the race. On the last lap of practice we got pretty neutral with the setup and probably got too conservative going into qualifying. We started 13th last year and won so we’re hoping for the same result from 11th.”

  • FAST FACTS: In his nine races here, his best start came in 2012 of third and best finish is his win in 2016. The June 11, 2016 race was postponed until June 12 due to rain which again postponed the race to August 27 after the field complete 71 of 248 scheduled laps before rain came again. Rahal had qualified 13th for the race and was in 12th when it was halted. On August 27, he restarted on Lap 72 and quickly moved to sixth place. He maintained a top-five position the majority of the time except after pitting and never was lower than eighth. He ran second many times and only led once – the final lap – and won by a margin of victory of 0.0080-of a second in what is the fifth-closest finish in Indy car history and the closest finish at Texas Motor Speedway. In 2015, he qualified sixth and finished 15th. In 2014, he qualified 21st and finished 12th and in 2013 he qualified 19th and finished 21st after struggling with the handling of his race car. He qualified third in 2012, led 27 laps and looked close to earning what would have been his second series victory but a slight brush of the wall with two laps to go forced him to settle for second place with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR). He qualified 20th for the first of two heat races in 2011 and finished ninth with SCCGR. He drew the fourth starting spot for Race 2 in 2011 and finished 30th. He did not compete in Texas in 2010 during his partial season of competition. He qualified 12th with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) in 2009 but retired in 22nd place after contact. In 2008, he qualified 18th and finished 11th with NHLR… After winning both races in Detroit, he moved to sixth in series standings with a total of 251 points. He has a total of 251 points and trails leader Scott Dixon by 52 (303), second place Helio Castroneves by 44 (295), third place Takuma Sato by 41 (292), fourth place Simon Pagenaud by 27 (278), and fifth place Josef Newgarden by eight (259).

RLL AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: The 2017 Rainguard Water Sealers 600 will mark the 15th event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR) at the 1.5-mile, high-banked Texas Motor Speedway oval. The team’s highest start of pole with Scott Sharp came in 2007 and highest finish of first came in 2016 with Graham Rahal. The team earned another front row start in 2004 when Buddy Rice qualified second. Overall the team has earned four top-five finishes and seven top-10’s at the track. Prior to the 2017 event, the team prepared a total of 20 entries for drivers such as Kenny Brack (2003 x2), Buddy Rice (2004 x2; 2005, 2006), Vitor Meira (2004 x2; 2005), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Jay Howard (2011, Schmidt/RLL) Takuma Sato (2012), James Jakes (2013) and Graham Rahal (2013-2016). The No. 15 entry for Graham Rahal will bring that total to 21 in 2017.

NEXT UP: There will be a 30-minute practice session from 5:45-6:15 p.m. CT tonight and the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 will take the Green Flag at 7:50 p.m. CT Saturday. Live coverage will begin at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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