Rahal Sixth Fastest in Afternoon Practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and Eighth Overall; Jakes Optimistic About Progress

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma – Sonoma Raceway
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE TEST NOTES/QUOTES – August 23, 2013

RAHAL SIXTH FASTEST IN AFTERNOON PRACTICE FOR THE GOPRO GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA AND EIGHTH OVERALL; JAKES OPTOMISTIC ABOUT PROGRESS

FASTEST: Scott Dixon 1:18.3145 / 109.635 mph
8th: Graham Rahal 1:18.9844 / 108.705 mph (6th in after­noon session)
20th: James Jakes 1:19.4673 / 108.044 mph (17th in after­noon session)

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I’m proud of these guys because we’re clearly making improve­ments and are more compet­i­tive than we have been. To put the Big O Tires car sixth is kind of like a victory for us. Do I think we are there, 100 percent? No, but I think I left about four tenths on the table there with a couple of bad moves in Turns 6 and 7 so real­is­ti­cally I think we could have been in the top-three which feels pretty nice. I’m posi­tive about our progress. I think there is still a ways to go but I feel good about it.”

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: “Today was pretty good actu­ally. Unfor­tu­nately we had a good lap going at the end but we lost nearly half-of-a-second on a shift issue. It would have been nice to end the day in the top-10 but we’ve got that in hand and we will just carry on working. We tried a lot of stuff, we needed to test out a few things and I think we made a lot of progress.”

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: Prac­tice will take place tomorrow morning from 11:00 — 11:45 a.m. PDT and qual­i­fying will take place from 2:30 – 3:40 PM on Saturday and will be tele­vised by NBC Sports Network at 9 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Network will begin their live broad­cast of Sunday’s race 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.

PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photog­raphy as well as video. Register for access to photos at: http://www.indycarmedia.com/pages/ApplyforAccess