Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

ABC IndyCar

Honda Grand Prix of St. Peters­burg
IZOD IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, March 24, 2013


GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “Frankly I am pretty pleased with how the Midas / Big O Tires car handled. Gerry and all of the guys did a great job getting the car in good running order and it defi­nitely felt good. Unfor­tu­nately we had some elec­trical issues; the car kept shut­ting off five or six times. Then we had a high fuel pres­sure issue that meant we couldn’t run full power. We had to run conser­v­a­tively because we couldn’t ask the car for all of the fuel because it kept shut­ting off. I’m pretty disap­pointed that happened; we need to improve on that side but the guys did a good job. They were certainly on it. After the start to the weekend that we had, it felt good to be that compet­i­tive in the race.”

FAST FACTS: He qual­i­fied 15th for the race and was in ninth place when an elec­trical issue surfaced on Lap 22 under caution that dropped him to 21st place. He soldiered on to finish 13th in his sixth start at the track.  His best start here is pole in 2009 and best finish is a win in 2008 in his IndyCar Series debut – both history-making moments… While with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing he qual­i­fied ninth in 2008, led 19 laps and became the youngest driver to win at the age of 19 years, 93 days old in his series debut after only 10 laps of testing at speed before the event (more details avail­able). His pole-winning run in 2009 here also made him the youngest driver to accom­plish the feat in series history. He was hit from behind on the opening lap and finished seventh. In 2010, he qual­i­fied 16th and finished 9th for Sarah Fisher Racing. While with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR) he qual­i­fied 12th and finished 17th in 2011 and qual­i­fied 11th and finished 12th in 2012… This will be Rahal’s first full season at RLL, sixth in the IZOD IndyCar Series and seventh in a top open wheel racing series (CCWS 2007)… The Ohio native has recorded 91 starts between the Champ Car World Series and IZOD IndyCar Series capturing one win, two poles, 19 top-five and 44-top 10 finishes. He led a total of 28 laps in 2012 – 27 at Texas Motor Speedway where he nearly claimed victory — had an average start of 12.4 and average finish of 11.2, earned three podium finishes and completed 87.2 percent of the laps run (1,841 of 2,111).

JAMES JAKES, No. 16 Acorn Stair­lifts Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a diffi­cult race for us. We were involved in an inci­dent at the begin­ning when someone hit us from behind and it put us to the back. Then we managed to crawl our way to the front with a fuel strategy gamble and got up to sixth but then had to pit for fuel to finish the race and it put us out of sync.  And I think we also we chose the wrong tire for the final stint so we were strug­gling but we finished 15th, got some points and will move on. Someone told me the average finishing posi­tion of the cham­pion last year was ninth so if you look at that every­thing is not lost. We just need to make some small improve­ments with the Acorn Stair­lifts car. I appre­ciate all the effort from the team and I’m looking forward to racing in Alabama.”

FAST FACTS: He qual­i­fied 18th for his third start at this track but was hit by JR Hilde­brand and had to pit early to check the car. An alter­nate fuel strategy helped James climb as high as sixth and he ulti­mately finished 15th.  He qual­i­fied 22nd and finished 15th in 2011 and qual­i­fied 20th and finished 26th in 2012 – both with Dale Coyne Racing… Jakes began racing in 2002 in the British T-Car series where he finished second. He grad­u­ated to the British Formula Renault Series in 2004 – 2005. In 2005 he finished second in the stand­ings after seven podium finishes and two poles and was named a Rising Star by the pres­ti­gious British Racing Drivers Club and was a McLaren Autosport Award finalist. He progressed to the British Formula 3 Series and Formula 3 Euro Series (2007 – 2008) where he won the Pau Grand Prix from pole in 2008 and set the fastest race lap.  He earned two podiums in the GP2 Asia series (2008 – 2009) and a pole and two podiums in GP3 (2010) and finished eighth in series stand­ings despite missing four races because of injury… Will compete in 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.

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT ST. PETE… 2013 will mark the 22nd consec­u­tive season of compe­ti­tion for the team.  It will be the sixth IndyCar race for the team in St. Pete and the team has entered 11 cars in this race to date. The team prepared Indy cars for Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Buddy Rice (2005, 2006), Vitor Meira (2005), Jeff Simmons (2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008) and Takuma Sato (2012) prior to this year. The team led the race for four laps with Hunter-Reay in 2008 (G. Rahal won) and 11 in 2012 (Sato) and has earned three top-10 finishes with the best being fifth by Meira in 2005.  The highest starting posi­tion by the team is sixth place by Hunter-Reay in 2008.

NEXT UP: Round 2 of the IZOD IndyCar Series season — The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – will take place April 5 – 7 at Barber Motor­sports Park. Prior to that, the team will partic­i­pate in its first oval test for 2013 at Texas Motor Speedway on March 27.

PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photog­raphy and video. Register for access at:

SAFE IS FAST: Tech­nical Director Jay O’Connell recently answered ques­tions for aspiring race car drivers and inter­ested observers via the Safe is Fast program. The infor­ma­tion can be accessed here: