Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
KOHLER Grand Prix – Road America
Round 10 of 17 in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series
June 23–25, 2017
Live on Friday, June 23 at 11:45 a.m. ET and 4:15 p.m. ET on Indycar.com, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. And also live at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 24.
NBCSN will air coverage on a tape-delayed basis on June 24 at 5 p.m. ET and live coverage will begin at 4 p.m. ET on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network (AAPIRN), the INDYCAR 17 app and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis).
Live on NBCSN beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday, June 25.
Live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209 and www.indycar.com
4.048-mile, 14-turn permanent road course
55 laps / 222.6 miles
Will Power (1:42.2105 / 141.379 mph)
RAHAL’S BEST ROAD/STREET START/FINISH:
Pole at St. Pete (street) 2009 & Detroit Race 1 (street) 2017 / 1st at St. Pete in 2008, Mid-Ohio (road) 2015, Detroit Race 1 & Race 2 2017
RAHAL’S BEST ROAD AMERICA START/FINISH:
4th in 2007 with NHLR / 3rd in 2007 & 2016; will be his 3rd Indy car race here & 7th overall
RLLR’S BEST START/FINISH AT ROAD AMERICA:
1st – Kenny Brack (2001) / 2nd – Bobby Rahal (1996); 14th race here
NEWS & NOTES:
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT ROAD AMERICA
The 2017 KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America will mark the 14th time for Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing to compete in an Indy car race here and second since 2003. The team competed in CART and Champ Car-sanctioned races here from 1992-2003 and again in 2016 with a best starting position of pole by Kenny Brack in 2001 and best finish of second place by Bobby Rahal in 1996. The team has earned a total of five podium finishes here (2nd – B. Rahal 1996; 3rd – B. Rahal 1992-1993, Kenny Brack 2000, Graham Rahal 2016).
Prior to 2017, the team prepared a total of 23 Indy car 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), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jourdain (2002-2003) and Graham Rahal (2016). The No. 15 GEHL / D-A Lubricant Honda entry for Graham Rahal will bring that total to 24 in 2017. The team has also competed in ALMS and IMSA-sanctioned races here under the name BMW Team RLL since 2009 and has three wins (2009, 2010, 2012), three poles (2009, 2011, 2014) and a total of eight podium finishes here.
ANOTHER PODIUM FOR RAHAL IN 2016 HERE
The KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America will be Graham Rahal’s seventh race here and third in a Champ or Indy car. In his two previous Indy car races here in 2007 and 2016, he finished third. Last year, Rahal not only returned to the track to race for the first time in nine years (2007), he also returned to the podium. He progressed to the Fast Six in qualifying and started sixth. He passed Helio Castroneves on the opening lap for fifth place and on Lap 6 of 50, he moved into fourth when second-place runner Dixon had engine issues. On Lap 7 he passed series points leader Simon Pagenaud for third place and held the position until he took the lead before his first stop on Lap 13. He leapfrogged Kanaan for second place when he returned to the track ahead of Kanaan but the Brazilian was able to get back by on hot tires compared to Rahal’s cold tires. He moved into second when Kanaan made his second stop before Rahal made his on Lap 26. The same scenario happened and Rahal beat him on track but was passed by Kanaan right after due to being on cold tires. He was on scuffed red tires and Pagenaud was able to pass him for third on Lap 34 with the help of Push to Pass. He made his third stop on Lap 39 and he was unable to get back on track ahead of Kanaan but got ahead of Helio Castroneves for fourth. On the restart from Conor Daly’s crash, he held fourth but was able to pass Pagenaud for third on Lap 46 of 50. He held the position and finished third… He finished third in the 2007 Champ Car race after starting fourth with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing… An electrical failure in the season-finale Atlantic Championship race in 2006 at Road America after starting third led to a runner-up finish in the title fight with eventual champion Simon Pagenaud after he retired in 20th place… Rahal also competed in two Formula BMW events here in 2004 and once in Star Mazda in 2005.
“It’s always great to go to Road America,” said Rahal. “I would say it’s the best circuit in North America that I have ever seen and I think my dad and many others would agree. It’s awesome to go back there this year and, particularly with where we are at in the championship, it should be a good place to try to continue our momentum. Last year we had a great run at Road America. We qualified in the Fast Six, ran up towards the front and finished third which we were very happy about but obviously we would like to get a win. And it would be fun to get a win there with Gehl being a local company and supporter of mine since 2006. We were at a little deficit there last year but this year, with the Honda engine, I feel like we have overcome that so we’ll just have to see how it all plays out.”
POINTS BATTLE AFTER 9 OF 17 RACES
Heading into Round 10 of 17 at the KOHLER Grand Prix, Rahal has a total of 283 points and is ranked sixth overall. He trails leader Scott Dixon by 43 (326), second place Simon Pagenaud by 30 (313), third place Takuma Sato by 29 (312), fourth place Helio Castroneves by 22 (305), and fifth place Will Power by three (286).
GRAHAM ON THE POWER OF MOMENTUM
After a puncture while fifth late in the Indy 500 took him out of contention and he finished 12th, Rahal has built momentum heading into the summer. A dominating win from pole in Dual 1 in Detroit and a win from a third-place start in Dual 2 vaulted Rahal from his pre-Detroit rank of 15th in series standings to sixth heading into Texas. He managed to avoid multiple crashes and left Texas with another strong result of fourth place. Like his 2015 charge that saw him enter the season-finale second in series points and a contender for the title, Rahal is hoping to continue the momentum through the summer and move up in the standings.
“We certainly have momentum right now. It feels like we’re headed down the right path as a team. We’ve had a lot of good results lately although (our result at) Indy is still a bummer because I really feel like we had a car that could have contended to win so to not see that come together is still disappointing. But we definitely have momentum on our side. We would like to keep that going and roll through the summer. This is an important time, an important stretch of the year for us points-wise. It’s where we really excelled in 2015 and I hope that we can do it again. Road America is a track that we’re comfortable and confident at. I’m excited to go there. There is just a great atmosphere there and I hope we can go there and hopefully we can keep our strong performance going.”
GRAHAM ON THE IMPACT TO STRATEGY WITH THE ADDITION OF FIVE LAPS
The 2017 KOHLER Grand Prix has been extended five laps for a total of 55 this year. Rahal hopes that addition will create more hard-charging and reduce the chance of a fuel conservation strategy.
“Adding five more laps will hopefully get it away from being a fuel-strategy race. Not that last year was that bad but you were just stuck at the number of laps that we were all faced with making (per stint) so this might free that strategy up and give us an extra stop and hopefully just make everybody push harder from the start and put on an exciting race.”
ON ROAD COURSE COMPETITIVENESS
“The road courses haven’t been our strength this year but we look at the INDYCAR Grand Prix as a place that is fairly similar so we will take what we learned there and move on from that. Road America is so different aerodynamically and everything else, it’s so unique that we will have to learn as we go throughout the weekend.”
BOBBY RAHAL AT ROAD AMERICA
Bobby Rahal competed in 10 Indy car races at Road America from 1989-1998 with a best start of pole in 1991 and best finish of second in 1996. He has earned a total of three podium finishes here (3rd – 1992-1993). A chart is available upon request.
– RLL –