Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Firestone 600 – Texas Motor Speedway
Round 8 of 18 in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series
NEWS & NOTES:
June 6 – 7, 2014
Tape delayed on NBCSN on Friday, June 6 at 7 p.m. ET and live on www.indycar.com (timing & scoring w/radio commentary)
Live on Saturday, June 7 at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The race will air on IMS Radio Network, XM channel 94 & Sirius channel 212
248 laps / 372 miles or 600 km
Will Power(two-lap average speed of 219.182 mph)
RAHAL’S BEST OVAL START/FINISH:
Pole (Kansas 2009) / 2nd (Texas 2012 and Milwaukee 2011)
RAHAL’S BEST TMS START/FINISH:
3rd in 2012 / 2nd in 2012
RLL’S TOP START/FINISH AT TMS:
1st by Scott Sharp 2007 / 2nd by Vitor Meira 2005
NEWS & NOTES:
1 POLE, 1 PODIUM, 2 FRONT ROW STARTS IN 11 EVENTS AT TMS FOR RLL RACING
The Firestone 600 will mark the 12th event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) 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 second came in 2005 with Vitor Meira. The team earned another front row start in 2004 when Buddy Rice qualified second. Overall the team has earned three top-five finishes and six top-10’s at the track.
Prior to the 2014 event, the team prepared a total of 17 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) and Takuma Sato (2012). The No. 15 National Guard entry for Graham Rahal will bring that total to 20 in 2014. Last year Rahal qualified 19th, started 17th due to engine change penalties ahead on the grid. He finished 21st after struggling with the handling of his race car. James Jakes earned a career-best oval qualifying position at Texas of 10th and ran as high as fourth but pitted from the position for fuel with 16 laps to go and finished 12th.
81ST PODIUM AT DETROIT FOR RLL’S INDY CAR PROGRAM
Graham Rahal brought the team its 81st Indy car podium with his second place finish in Dual 1 in Detroit last Saturday. It was the first podium finish for the team since James Jakes finished second in Detroit Dual 1 in 2013. To date the Indy car team has earned 20 wins, 35 second place finishes and 26 third place finishes.
GRAHAM AND THE “ONE THAT GOT AWAY” AT TMS IN 2012
The 2014 race will mark Graham Rahal’s sixth event here. 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 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.
GRAHAM ON POSITIVES TO COME
“We tested at Texas in April but we’re not sure what our oval setup will be like to start this weekend. Indy wasn’t a whole lot different but I’m very positive about everything going forward. I think the team is working awfully hard to improve and get better. The heat and wind always play a role so at this point a lot of the teams are pretty unsure of what they are going to get but it’s the same for everybody. We’ve got to go out there, figure out how to get as much grip as we can, go as fast as we can. I think that with (race engineer) Bill (Pappas) being involved and the team starting to work with dampers and stuff like that, we should be able to find some speed. Without a doubt there are definitely some positives to come.”
GRAHAM ON THE CHALLENGES OF RACING AT TMS
“Nowadays one of the great challenges is tire management and keeping the car underneath you. There is by no means the amount of grip at Texas that there used to be as tires have changed, and the downforce levels of the cars have been greatly reduced. It has become one of the most challenging oval tracks we will run all year.”
GRAHAM ON THE ENTERTAINMENT FACTOR AT TMS
“It’s going to be the same type of racing it always is at Texas Motor Speedway, it’s going to be close and hard-fought. There isn’t going to be a lot of grip so everyone is going to be sliding around and making it more entertaining. Tire degradation will be big but we’ll just have to wait to see. I’m sure its going to be entertaining.”
The Firestone 600 will mark the fifth straight weekend of competition since the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10. During the two week racing hiatus before the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader June 27 – 29, the team will test at the Milwaukee, Iowa and Pocono oval tracks.