Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Chevrolet Dual in Detroit – Raceway at Belle Isle Park
Round 7 and 8 of 16 in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series
June 3–5, 2016
Live on www.indycar.com (live streaming video with audio commentary, timing & scoring)
Live on Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5 – both at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
The race will air on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209 and www.indycar.com
2.35-mile, 13-turn temporary street course
70 laps / 164.5 miles (each race)
Carlos Munoz (Dual 1) and Sebastien Bourdais (Dual 2)
Will Power (1:11.178; Dual 1) and Juan Pablo Montoya (entrant points, rain; Dual 2)
RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES START/FINISH:
Pole at St. Pete 2009 (street) & Kansas 2009 (oval) / 1st in St. Pete in 2008, Fontana 2015 (super speedway), Mid-Ohio 2015 (road)
RAHAL’S BEST DETROIT START/FINISH:
6th in 2008 with NHLR / 2nd in Dual 1 in 2014 and 3rd in Dual 2 in 2015; will be his 9th & 10th starts here
RLL’S BEST START/FINISH AT DETROIT:
2nd – Bobby Rahal (1992) & Jakes (2013) / 1st – Bobby Rahal (1992 inaugural Belle Isle event)
NEWS & NOTES:
PODIUM FINISHES THE PAST THREE YEARS AT BELLE ISLE FOR RLL
The 2016 Chevrolet Indy Duel in Detroit will mark the Verizon IndyCar Series’ seventh visit to Detroit, and it’s fifth since 2008. The Motor City hosted Indy car racing from 1989-91 in Downtown Detroit. The race moved to Belle Isle Park from 1992-2001 and 2007-2008 and returned in 2012. The 2016 event will mark the 17th year for Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing to compete at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park and the team’s 20th and 21st races.
The team’s highest start of second place came in the inaugural running on Belle Isle in 1992 by Bobby Rahal and in 2013 by James Jakes in Dual 2. Bobby Rahal brought the team its highest finish with a win in 1992, Jakes added a third podium for the team in 2013 with his second place finish and Graham Rahal added a fourth and fifth podium with his second place finish in Dual 1 in 2014 and third place finish in Dual 2 in 2015. In total, the team has earned five podiums (2nd – G. Rahal 2014, Jakes 2013 & Max Papis 2000), (3rd – G. Rahal 2015) six top-five finishes and 14 top-10’s here (chart available). Prior to 2016, the team prepared a total of 25 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1998), Mike Groff (1993-94), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Kenny Brack (2000-01), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007-08) Takuma Sato (2012), Graham Rahal (2013-2015) and James Jakes (2013). The No. 15 United Rentals Honda entry for Graham Rahal will bring that total to 26 in 2016.
GRAHAM ON EXPECATIONS AT DETROIT AFTER 2014 & 2015 PODIUM FINISHES HERE
In Rahal’s eight races at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park, his best finishes have come in the past two years with a second place finish in Dual 1 in 2014 and a third place finish in Dual 2 in 2015. After setting the third fastest time on Friday at the previous street course race in Long Beach and the sixth fastest time in the final practice before qualifying, Rahal and the team hoped to make the Firestone Fast Six but contact at the end of the practice session provided an extra challenge heading into qualifying. Ultimately Rahal qualified 17th but set the fastest time in the race morning warmup. Due to his starting spot, it was challenging to make up much ground but he got as high as ninth in what resulted in a fuel economy race and he had to settle for a 15th place finish. Despite the finishing position, he is confident that the No. 15 United Rentals Honda should be as competitive as in Long Beach.
“I’m looking forward to getting back on a street course,” said Rahal. “I think we should be good. I know Long Beach was frustrating but I get the sense the United Rentals car should be fast and competitive. I am looking forward to getting to Detroit and getting running as soon as possible. Last year was a tough, wet, weekend. We were too conservative in the first race and ultimately got collected in others messes. We then went on Sunday and had a great race to follow it all up with podium. We are looking for a good solid weekend all around again this year.”
GRAHAM ON THE PHYSICALITY OF A DOUBLE HEADER AND THE POINT STANDINGS
Being a title contender heading into the 2015 season finale with a second place rank only whetted Rahal’s appetite more for a championship-winning season. The double points given for qualifying and the Indy 500 race put a temporary dent in Rahal’s aspirations. He was fifth in series point standings before Indy 500 qualifying and the race but dropped to seventh after qualifying and 12th after the race with a total of 173. He trails leader Simon Pagenaud by 119 points (292), second place Scott Dixon by 62 (235) and fifth-place-ranked James Hinchcliffe by 32 (205).
“The double-header is tough because it’s physical and a lot is thrown at you in a short period of time. With two full races it’s very valuable in the championship to have a great run in both races and gain as many points as we can.”
GRAHAM RAHAL – YEAR-BY-YEAR IN DETROIT
The event will mark Graham Rahal’s ninth and 10th races here. In his previous eight races here, his best finishes have come in the two years with second in 2014 (Dual 1) and third in 2015 (Dual 2). In 2015, he started 13th in Detroit Race 1 but was in 15th place on a wet track on a Lap 6 restart. The field entered Turn 1 and Coletti attempted an ambitious three-wide pass but contact with Jakes pushed Jakes into Kanaan who bounced off the tires and into Rahal’s path. Right-side front suspension damage forced him to retire in 23rd place. Standing water cancelled qualifying for Race 2 and the grid was set by entrant points so Rahal started fifth. He lost positions to Newgarden, Munoz and Bourdais in the opening laps but regained seventh when Munoz had mechanical problems. After the first cycle of stops concluded he regained seventh place and moved to sixth when Power pit to change his steering wheel. He came out eight from his second stop as those who took over the top three didn’t pit. On a restart, he lost a position to Castroneves but later gained it back by passing Newgarden when Castroneves did. He moved to sixth once Hunter-Reay made his out-of-sequence stop. Sato attempted a pass on Lap 48 but Rahal was able to stay ahead. Dixon, who was on rain tires while the majority of the field were on slicks, held up a pack of cars until Rahal and others were able to pass him. He moved into fourth when Power also pit. He lost traction on the exit of Turn 11 and made his one move to the outside in front of Sato but the series deemed it blocking and he had to give up a position during the caution for Dixon and Kimball. On the restart, he passed Montoya for third. Fuel was tight for race leader Bourdais and a 10 minute red flag to clear debris from contact between teammates Power and Castroneves deemed the race a timed event once it resumed. Once it was restarted, Rahal closed on Sato but was unable to pass and finished third to Sato and Bourdais who was able to stretch his fuel in the shortened race and win… In 2014 he qualified 9th for Dual 1 in Detroit, led 10 laps, challenged for the win and finished second. He started 14th in Dual 2 after the team elected to qualify on primary tires to save a set of red alternate tires for the race – a strategy that didn’t pay off. On the opening lap, Power, who was later penalized with a drive through penalty for avoidable contact, squeezed Newgarden in Turn 4 and the two made contact. Rahal was behind the two and had nowhere to go and hit Newgarden before Wilson ran into the rear of the No. 15 entry which resulted in gear problems. By the time the team replaced the front nose and repaired the gear sensor, he returned to the track seven laps down. He ultimately retired in 21st place after he brushed the wall and damaged his suspension after completing 43 of 70 laps… He qualified 14th for Dual 1 in Detroit in 2013 but started 23rd due to an unapproved engine change at Indy. He gained three spots on the opening lap and another two on the first restart on Lap 4. The team elected for an alternate strategy and the timing of the caution flags worked in the team’s favor and Rahal was able to climb 14 spots to finish ninth. He qualified 15th for Dual 2 in Detroit and finished ninth… In 2012, he qualified seventh with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing but had a 10-grid penalty for an unapproved engine change and started 17th. He was eighth when he made his final stop on Lap 45/60 but during the red flag stop to repair the track, a clutch problem surfaced and he was unable to continue and retired in 19th place. In 2008 he drove for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and progressed to the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying for the first time in his series career and qualified sixth. The team chose the same pit strategy as then race leader Dixon which almost worked but a late race fourth caution botched the plan and he had to stop for a splash of fuel with three laps to go and dropped to 13th.
BOBBY RAHAL IN DETROIT
Bobby Rahal competed in downtown Detroit from 1989-1991 with two second place finishes to his credit. When the series moved to Belle Isle, he won the inaugural event in 1992 and went on to compete there through 1998. In total, he competed in Detroit 10 times (three downtown, seven on Belle Isle) with one win (1992), three podiums (2nd – 1990, 1991), four top five finishes and five top-10’s. A chart is available upon request.
– RLL –