Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Round 5 of 15 in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series
Thursday – Saturday, May 12-14, 2016
Live on the INDYCAR 16 app at 3 p.m. ET Friday, May 13, INDYCAR Radio Network and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring)
Live on ABC, Saturday, May 14 at 3:30 p.m. ET
The race will air on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209 and www.indycar.com
2.439-mile, 14-turn road course
82 laps / 200 miles
Will Power (1:09.4886; 126.357 mph)
RLLR TOP START/FINISH AT IMS (ROAD):
12th by Rahal in 2014/ 2nd by Rahal in 2015; two events
RAHAL’S BEST START/FINISH AT IMS (ROAD):
12th in 2014 / 2nd in 2015; two events
RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES START/FINISH:
Pole at St. Pete (street) 2009 & Kansas (oval) 2009 / 1st in St. Pete in 2008, Fontana (oval; 500 miles) 2015, Mid-Ohio (road) 2015
NEWS & NOTES:
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING & THE GP OF INDY
The Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis (ALGPI) will mark the third Verizon IndyCar Series race on the 2.439-mile road course. In 2015, Graham Rahal brought the team its highest finish here of second place after starting 17th. In 2014, the team prepared an entry for Graham Rahal and Oriol Servia. Rahal started 12th, ran as high as sixth and was 11th when he was hit by the lapped car of Montoya on a restart on Lap 51/82 and ultimately finished 21st. Servia qualified 22nd and was struck by the flying tire of another car after the standing start. He was forced to pit for a new front wing which put him out of sequence. Later he led seven laps but the team’s hope to capitalize on a caution flag didn’t pan out and he had to pit for a late-race splash of fuel which limited him to a 12th place finish. For 2016, RLL has entered the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda-Dallara-Firestone car for Graham Rahal and No. 16 RLL / Mi-Jack / Manitowoc Dallara-Honda-Firestone car for Spencer Pigot.
RAHAL AND WHY HE EXPECTS TO BE COMPETITIVE AFTER A SECOND PLACE FINISH HERE IN 2015
The 2016 ALGPI will be Graham Rahal’s third Indy car race on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In 2015, he finished second after starting 17th. He moved to sixth on the opening lap after avoiding a multi-car accident and passed Filippi for fifth place on Lap 10. As others made their first pit stops he moved into the lead for laps 22-23 and gained valuable track position before he pitted at the end of Lap 23. He returned to the track in fifth place and moved into second a few laps later when three out-of-pit-sequence cars made their stops. Leader Will Power pitted and Rahal returned to the lead on Laps 40-43 after being able to stretch his stint due to maintaining good fuel mileage compared to others. The team opted to stay on track one lap longer than previously determined before his second stop but at the pit exit Rahal closed on the car of Scott Dixon, who was returning to the track with cold tires and a heavy fuel load and slightly held up Rahal, who had a light fuel load and hot tires. Rahal pitted the next time by, at the end of Lap 43, and returned to the race in fifth place but again reclaimed second place a few laps later. While navigating lapped traffic earlier, most notably the 23rd place car of Josef Newgarden, who ran between he and Power, the gap to Power grew at times but he finally passed him after he returned to the track from his third and final stop. On Lap 63 of 82 he was -4.4 seconds behind Power but closed to -1.4 by Lap 70. He ultimately took the checkered flag 1.5 seconds behind the reigning series champion. In the inaugural Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis in 2014, Rahal started 12th, ran as high as sixth and was 11th when he was hit by Montoya on a restart on Lap 51/82 and ultimately finished 21st. After a second place finish in the previous race, also on a road course, Rahal is looking forward to the opportunity to continue the momentum this weekend.
“The race last year was interesting,” said Rahal. “We struggled in qualifying but due to the first corner mess I was able to get into sixth place on the start. After that it was work as usual and trying to get by everyone with strategy and some passes. Luckily we were able to do both and it worked out great! We have been very solid on road and street courses this season and I think we are only scratching the surface. We will continue to work hard and see what we can gain. The track is similar to Barber which is why I expect to be good. The main difference is there are no elevation changes and a little bit faster speeds! (On expectations for the ALGPI:) To run up front and be very competitive, that’s what I expect everywhere now. I love being here and love racing in Indy. I can’t wait.”
POINT STANDINGS AFTER FOUR OF 15 RACES
Rahal is ranked sixth in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings with a total of 100 points. He is only six points out of a top-five rank (Kanaan, 106) and 40 behind second place Scott Dixon, who has 140 heading into Round 5 of 15. Rahal was a championship contender heading into the season finale last year from a second place rank. The start to his 2016 season is similar to 2015 thus far in that his momentum last year started with a second place finish at Barber Motorsports Park (BMP) and continued with a second place finish in the ALGPI. After his second place finish at BMP two weeks ago, Rahal hopes to continue the momentum with a strong finish this weekend.
“The start to last season and this season are seemingly identical. I would have loved better results this year, and frankly feel the team deserves them, but due to my mistakes in Long Beach and bad luck in St. Pete we have found ourselves in a similar position. I think this weekend will be key for a good kick off to our month of May. The track is tricky because it’s all pretty high speed so you have to have a very neutral balance to be fast. But to do that and not kill the tires is hard. So it will be interesting to see how it works out for us this year.”
THE RETURN OF SPENCER PIGOT
The ALGPI will mark the second Verizon IndyCar Series races for reigning Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot. In his series debut in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Pigot ran as high as 12th and finished 14th. He has been looking forward to this Saturday’s race since the checkered flag flew in St. Pete on March 13.
“I’m very excited for my second IndyCar race,” said Pigot. “Now that I have an idea of what to expect during an IndyCar race weekend, I think I’ll be much better prepared. I’ve been spending a lot of time with the team at the races since St. Pete, picking their brains and learning as much as I can.”
TWO POLES FOR PIGOT AT THE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE
Pigot will compete on the road course at IMS for the fifth time overall and first in an Indy car. 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). He is hoping to turn his luck around on the IMS road course and capitalize on how much he learned at the St. Pete season-opener.
“The IMS road course hasn’t been great to me in the past,” said Pigot. “We’ve been quick but always seem to get caught up in a turn one incident so hopefully that trend stops this year. I enjoy the layout of the track. It has some tricky sections that require patience and precision. There are a few good passing places as well which should make for an exciting race.”