Rahal Set the Eighth Fastest Time on Opening Day for the Indy 500; Pigot Passed Rookie Orientation Program and Continued to Get Acclimated

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Presented by PennGrade

Verizon IndyCar Series

OPENING DAY & ROOKIE ORIENTATION PROGRAM NOTES/QUOTES – May 16, 2016

 

RAHAL AND PIGOT HAD A SUCCESSFUL OPENING DAY SESSION FOR THE 100TH RUNNING OF THE INDY 500  

1)         Marco Andretti             228.978 mph     61 laps

8)         Graham Rahal              225.326 mph     53 laps

24)        Spencer Pigot              222.816 mph     84 laps

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “Our focus today was to try to be more towards race trim in terms of setup and pound some laps. We didn’t run a ton of laps but I think we got some good efficient work it, we learned some stuff already which is good. We got ourselves a direction that I think will help us for the rest of the week.  We weren’t out here to go for a lap time so I’m pleased with the performance. To see us in the top eight without even getting a huge tow, just a single car tow is good.  I’ll definitely take that. We’ve got work to do for sure but I think we’re probably better off than we were last year.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his ninth Indy 500. His best qualifying position in the Indy 500 is fourth in 2009 with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and best finish is third with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 after he led six laps. He ran in the top-five in five of his eight previous races here. In 2008, with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, he was the highest Indy 500 starter of the Champ Car transitioning teams with his 13th place qualifying effort but made contact on L36 after driving high to avoid the slower car of Lloyd and retired in 33rd place.  He qualified fourth for NHLR in the 2009 Indy 500 but made contact on L56 while fifth and retired in 31st. In 2010, he competed for his father’s team – RLL – for the first time in an Indy car. He qualified seventh and ran as high as second but a blocking penalty on L188/200 dropped him from third to a 12th place finish. He qualified 29th with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 and earned his best finish at Indy to date of third place after he led six laps. In 2012, he qualified 12th, ran as high as third and finished 13th for SCCGR. In 2013, he qualified 26th and pitted from ninth place for his second to last stop and his outside rear tire changer had a mechanical problem and Rahal returned to the track in 21st place. He was in 17th with eight laps to go and lost control of his car in Turn 2 and made contact with the wall. In 2014, he started 20th but finished 33rd due to an electrical problem that kept shutting his engine off .  In 2015, he drove to a fifth place finish after starting 17th. … His best qualifying position of the season so far is third at the IMS road course (later DQ’d due to being a few pounds under weight) and best finish is second at Barber… He is fifth in series point standings with a total of 133. Fourth place Castroneves has 159 (+26) and leader Pagenaud has 242 (+109). 

SPENCER PIGOT, No. 16 RLL / Mi-Jack / Manitowoc Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a lot of fun out there. I have always been looking forward to the day that I got to drive an Indy car around this track so it was a great experience. We gradually built speed through the day and got through ROP (Rookie Orientation Program) and did a lot of laps. The car feels good in traffic. There is a lot more for me to learn and get used to as the days go on but I think it was a good first day. I will just continue to get more comfortable with it.”

  • FAST FACTS: Will be his first IndyCar Series race on an oval and third overall… In his series debut in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Pigot ran as high as 12th and finished 14th…Although he started from pole in two of his four races here, his finishing positions have been limited due to Turn 1 incidents in all four races. In 2014, he competed in the Pro Mazda doubleheader where he started from pole in both races and finished eighth in both.  In 2015, he competed in the Indy Lights doubleheader where he qualified sixth for Race 1 and finished seventh and qualified and finished 12th in race two.  He still holds the Pro Mazda qualifying record which he set in 2014 (1:26.9623 / 105.836)… Pigot is the most successful driver since the formation of the Mazda Road to Indy in 2010 with 24 race wins to his credit in USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. He was the 15th driver to graduate from the Mazda Road to Indy into the Verizon IndyCar Series since 2010.  He has won no fewer than four scholarship prizes from Mazda to maintain his career’s momentum to get to the IndyCar Series.

NEXT UP: Practice will take place from 12-6 p.m. ET tomorrow.

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: www.indycarmedia.com/pages/ApplyforAccess