Rahal Suffered a Punctured Tire in the Final Stage of the Toyota GP of Long Beach and Finished 10th

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

Verizon IndyCar Series

NOTES/QUOTES — Sunday, April 9, 2017

 

PENNGRADE DRIVER RAHAL SUFFERED A PUNCTURED TIRE IN THE FINAL STAGE OF THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH AND FINISHED 10TH

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 PennGrade Motor Oil Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We got a good start and passed (Alexander) Rossi and (Helio) Castroneves for fourth. I felt like we were in a pretty good place to settle in but it became apparent that a lot of guys around me weren’t going to save fuel like I was.  I tried to just keep pace but struggled pretty hard on the first stint with a bit of an issue with the front tires. On the second stint we were as good as anybody but when it came down to it, we had lost too much time in the first stint.  It was disappointing to get the puncture.  This PennGrade team deserved more than a tenth place finish. Yes it’s a top-10 but it’s not going to help us in the point standings very much and we definitely need a lot of those.”

  • FAST FACTS: On the start, Rahal passed Rossi and pole sitter Castroneves, who had lost the lead on the start. He held fourth place while trying to conserve fuel to have a two-stop race. He was passed by Rossi and later Newgarden. Once race leader Dixon pit for a three-stop strategy, he moved into fifth and was fourth when he made his first stop on Lap 30. As other fuel strategies played out he cycled back into sixth place by the halfway point. On Lap 46, he was seventh overall and fourth of those who were on a two-stop strategy. The timing of the cautions negated the two-stop strategy and Rahal was sixth when he got a right rear puncture and had to pit on Lap 79 of 85 which dropped him to 13th. He moved into 12th and was pressuring Hildebrand when Hildebrand and Aleshin made contact on the final lap and Rahal moved into 10th place… Was his 11th Champ or Indy car race here and 12th overall … In 2016, after setting the third fastest time overall on Friday, Rahal held the fastest spot in Saturday morning’s final practice at one point late in the session and was ranked sixth with a few minutes to go when he made contact with the wall in Turn 9 and sustained damage to his front and rear wings and left-side corners of his car. The team repaired it by qualifying but he was unable to progress from his group and ultimately qualified 17th. In the race, the team elected for an alternate strategy due to starting from 17th place. Rahal passed two cars on the start and another by Lap 3 to run 14th… He made his first stop on Lap 20 of 80 and returned to the race in 19th place. As the field cycled through their stops he moved up to 10th place and later made his second stop on Lap 48 which came one lap earlier than expected which forced the team into even more of a fuel-savings mode. He had moved up to ninth place by Lap 59 and held it while the team hoped for a caution period. The race ran caution-free and Rahal dropped from ninth to 15th in the final 10 laps and coasted across the final line. His car ultimately stooped on track in Turn 1… In 2015, he qualified eighth in Long Beach but struggled in the race and finished 11th… In 2014, he finished seventh after struggling in practice and qualifying 23rd… In 2013, he finished second after starting 11th with RLL… In 2012, he qualified 15th for Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR), started 8th due to penalties to Chevy-powered teams, ran as high as fourth but finished 24th due to contact with Marco Andretti… In 2011, he qualified 16th for SCCGR and finished 13th… In 2010 he started and finished 22nd for Sarah Fisher Racing after contact… In 2009, he started seventh and finished 12th for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR)…In 2008 he started ninth and had a podium in sight when he was alongside third place but contact during this pass led to a 13th place finish for NHLR. Started fifth in 2007 but the pit strategy of others and slow fuel flow related to teething problems for the all-new Panoz Champ Car on two stops limited his finish to eighth place for NHLR. In the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Series race here he started seventh and finished fifth… Has four IndyCar Series wins (2008 – St. Pete street course; 2015 – Fontana Super Speedway, Mid-Ohio road course; 2016 – Texas oval) and two poles (2009 – St. Pete street course, Kansas oval) and his highest series season-ending standing is fourth place in 2015. He finished fifth overall in 2016.

NEXT UP: The team will test at the newly-repaved Texas Motor Speedway on Tuesday, April 11.

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