Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Firestone 600 – Texas Motor Speedway
Round 9 of 16 in the Verizon IndyCar Series
NEWS & NOTES:
June 10-11, 2016
Live Friday, June 10 at 12 noon
Tape delayed on NBCSN on Friday, June 10 at 6 p.m. ET and live on www.indycar.com (timing & scoring w/radio commentary)
Live on Saturday, June 11 at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The race will air on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209 and www.indycar.com
248 laps / 360.84 miles
Will Power (two-lap average speed of 218.519 mph)
RAHAL’S BEST OVAL START/FINISH:
Pole at Kansas 2009 / 1st in Fontana 2015 (500 miles)
RAHAL’S BEST TMS START/FINISH:
3rd / 2nd – both in 2012; will be his ninth race here
RLL’S TOP START/FINISH AT TMS:
1st by Scott Sharp 2007 / 2nd by Vitor Meira 2005
NEWS & NOTES:
1 POLE, 1 PODIUM, 2 FRONT ROW STARTS IN 13 EVENTS AT TMS FOR RLL RACING
The 2016 Firestone 600 will mark the 14th event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) at the 1.5-mile, high-banked Texas Motor Speedway oval. The team’s highest start of pole with Scott Sharp came in 2007 and highest finish of second came in 2005 with Vitor Meira. The team earned another front row start in 2004 when Buddy Rice qualified second. Overall the team has earned three top-five finishes and six top-10’s at the track.
Prior to the 2016 event, the team prepared a total of 19 entries for drivers such as Kenny Brack (2003 x2), Buddy Rice (2004 x2; 2005, 2006), Vitor Meira (2004 x2; 2005), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Jay Howard (2011, Schmidt/RLL) and Takuma Sato (2012), James Jakes (2013) and Graham Rahal (2013-2015). The No. 15 entry for Graham Rahal will bring that total to 20 in 2016.
GRAHAM SET THE SECOND FASTEST TIME IN PRE-RACE WARMUP AT TMS IN 2015
The 2016 race will mark Graham Rahal’s eighth event here and ninth race overall (2 in 2011). Last year he qualified sixth and set the second fastest time in the pre-race practice so the team had high hopes for the race. Ultimately the downforce level on the car for the race wasn’t ideal and he finished 15th. He hopes to improve upon that result this year.
“We had performance and speed at times during the Firestone 600 event last year but I think we really struggled to get the consistency out of the car and ultimately come race day it really hurt us. We underestimated the amount of downforce that we needed in the race and we have learned from that now. I hope we can go back this year and have a better performance all around. Texas is a tricky track and for sure it was one of the events that hurt us the most last year from a points stand point.”
GRAHAM ON THE IMPACT OF THE MAY TEST AT TMS AND PROGRESS SINCE THEN
Graham and the team tested at TMS on May 3. It was the first oval test of 2016 and the team learned some valuable information. Since then, the team added to that knowledge during track time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500. Rahal is looking forward to evaluating that progress on Friday at TMS.
“Having tested there helps but I think we have learned a lot since the test that I think will help us. We will take some of that testing data into consideration, without a doubt, but for sure we have learned more aerodynamically since then and anticipate being better than we were at the test.”
RAHAL ON THE AERO KIT CONFIGURATION AND EXPECTATIONS FOR THE FIRESTONE 600
“The Honda oval aero package at Indy looked good but Texas is a very different animal and we need to be prepared for whatever that might throw at us. Right now it’s hard for us to give an exact indication of where we believe we will stack up but if we can have a good balance (in the car) and have a good race car and can be fast, I think we can be competitive there no matter what.”
TIGHT POINTS BATTLE FOR THE TOP-10 AT THE HALFWAY POINT
Rahal has run in the top three in five of eight races this season with the exception of St. Petersburg, Long Beach and the Indy 500, and has led the race three times. After being ranked a season high of fifth place after Round 5, he is currently ranked 12th with a total of 225 points. He trails leader Simon Pagenaud by 132 points (357), second place Scott Dixon by 52 (277), and fifth place Carlos Munoz by 17 (242) after Round 8 of 16.
GRAHAM OVERALL AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
In his eight races here, his best start and finish came in 2012 when he qualified third and finished second. Last year, he qualified sixth and finished 15th. In 2014, he qualified 21st and finished 12th and in 2013 he qualified 19th and finished 21st after struggling with the handling of his race car. He qualified third in 2012, led 27 laps and looked close to earning what would have been his second series victory but a slight brush of the wall with two laps to go forced him to settle for second place with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR). He qualified 20th for the first of two heat races in 2011 and finished ninth with SCCGR. He drew the fourth starting spot for Race 2 in 2011 and finished 30th. He did not compete in Texas in 2010 during his partial season of competition. He qualified 12th with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) in 2009 but retired in 22nd place after contact. In 2008, he qualified 18th and finished 11th with NHLR.