Rahal Took the Checkered Flag Third But a Post Race Penalty Dropped Him to 11th in Race 1 in Houston; Filippi Qualified 4th but Contact Limited His Finish to 21st

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston – NRG Park, Houston

Verizon IndyCar Series

RACE 1 of 2 NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, June 28, 2014


GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 National Guard Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Obviously I told Tony (Kanaan) I was sorry. It was my mistake and I feel bad for Tony. With the stack up on the restart, I was trying to keep the tires as dry as I could and I was to the left and when it stacked up I just didn’t see it at all and I got into the back of him. Obviously this sort of thing has happened about 100 times this year but it doesn’t make it right. I said last night that I thought this National Guard car could win today. We didn’t qualifying as well as we thought we could have but everybody saw how quick we were on the race track. The National Guard car was phenomenal. We have to go back out there tomorrow and try to qualify a little better and run up front. I think if the race ended under green I would have won this race for sure. And I feel confident saying that because I was moving by those guys in a hurry. Should’ a, could’ a, would’ a. I made a mistake and I don’t even know where we finished.”

  • FAST FACTS: Qualified 14th for his fourth Indy car race here. On the standing start he stalled the car and dropped to last (23rd) once restarted but fought back to fourth place by the end of the race and had attempted to pass second and third place before a caution period came out for Saavedra. Under caution prior to a restart with less than two minutes to go, he ran into the back of Kanaan when he checked up and then moved into third for the checkered flag but was assessed a post-race 30-second penalty for avoidable contact and was scored with a 11th place finish in Race 1… Will be his be his fourth Indy car race here and fifth overall… His first Indy car race here was Round 3 of the Champ Car World Series on April 22, 2007 and he became the youngest driver to earn a Champ Car podium with his second place finish at the age of 18 years, 3 months and 18 days. Rahal skipped his prom to compete in Houston and qualified sixth. His second place brought Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing a 1-2 finish with teammate Bourdais’ win from a second place start… Last year he set the 10th fastest time in Group 2 of qualifying on Saturday to earn a 19th place starting position but was assessed a 10-grid penalty for an unapproved engine change and started 24th. The team employed good pit strategy and he was able to move up to a seventh place finish… Qualifying for Race 2 in Houston was cancelled due to standing water on the course so the field was set by Entrant Points and Graham started the race 19th. He was hit on the opening lap by Simona de Silvestro who was penalized for “avoidable contact” and had to pit for a new nose which put him a lap down. Later he tagged the wall and had to pit for a new rear wing which dropped him another lap down and he ultimately finished 18th… He also competed in the 2006 Atlantic race here where he started third and was in second place when he collided with Raphael Matos while attempting to take the lead with three laps to go and finished 15th… His best finish this season is second place in Detroit Dual 1 and best start is ninth – also in Detroit Dual 1.

LUCA FILIPPI, No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We never ran on the wet tires so it was a bit tough at the beginning then everything went well after we settled in. In the middle we were struggling a little with the worn out wet tires but still we were fighting for some positions. I think the car was very strong with slicks on and I wanted to try to overtake Simon. I was on the overtake button and wanted to take the last corner as fast as possible and I even anticipated the understeer that was coming from the cold tires but I made a misjudgment and I hit the inside wall. It’s a shame because everything went well to that point and I think the car was strong in the conditions.”

  • FAST FACTS: Earned a career-best Indy car qualifying position of fourth place and was in eighth place when he made contact with the inside wall of a turn on a restart while attempting to overtake Pagenaud and retired in 21st place in Race 1… He competed in the doubleheader races in Houston in 2013. He qualified eighth for Race 1 and finished 10th which is his best start and finishing positions to date of his four series races. Qualifying for Race 2 was cancelled due to standing water on the course so the field was set by Entrant Points and Luca started the race 23rd due to his lack of points in his partial season, set the fastest race lap (Lap 86/90) and finished 19th… It is his first IndyCar race since last year at Houston and first time in a race car since he competed in a GT car in Europe in December ’13.

RLL AT HOUSTON / LANIGAN’S ROLE IN EVENT: The event will mark the third (and fourth) time for the team to race at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Speedway at NRG Park. The team competed on the temporary circuit downtown around the George R. Brown Convention Center from 1998-2001 but this will mark the second year for RLL to compete at NRG Park. Team co-owner Mike Lanigan’s company, MJ Promotions, is the promoter of the event. The event will mark the fifth overall Indy car race at Reliant Park and second since the 2006 and 2007 Champ Car races that MJ Promotions also promoted. Last year the team finished seventh and 18th in races 1 & 2 respectively with Rahal and sixth and 17th with James Jakes.

NEXT UP: Qualifying for Race 2 will take place tomorrow morning from 10:00-10:30 a.m. CT and the second 90-lap race will take the Green Flag at 2:50 p.m. CT Sunday and be televised live on NBC Sports Network beginning at 3:00 ET. Live streaming video and Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com with live audio commentary from the IMS Radio Network.

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