Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
ABC Supply 500 – Pocono Raceway
Round 14 of 17 in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series
August 19-20, 2017
Live on Saturday, August 19 at 9:00-10:15 a.m. ET and 5:00-5:30 p.m. ET on Indycar.com, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Live on NBCSN at 1 p.m. ET Saturday, August 19 and 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 2 p.m. ET Sunday, August 20, the INDYCAR 17 app and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis).
Live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209 and www.indycar.com
2.5-mile triangular oval
200 laps / 500 miles
Mikhail Aleshin (2-lap avg. speed 220.445 mph)
RAHAL’S BEST OVAL START/FINISH:
Pole (Kansas 2009) / 1st (Fontana 2015, Texas 2016)
RAHAL’S BEST START/FINISH AT POCONO:
5th in 2015 / 11th in 2016
RAHAL’S BEST 500-MILE START/FINISH:
4th – 2009 Indy 500 / 1st – Fontana 2015
RLLR’S BEST START/FINISH AT POCONO:
5th in 2015 / 11th in 2016 – both by Rahal
RLLR’S BEST 500-MILE START/FINISH:
1st – Buddy Rice, 2004 Indy 500 / 1st – Vasser (2002 Fontana), Rice (2004 Indy 500), G. Rahal (2015 Fontana)
NOTES & QUOTES:
RLLR AT POCONO RACEWAY
The 2017 ABC Supply 500 will mark the fifth open-wheel race at Pocono Raceway since 1989 as well as the fifth for the team. The 2.5-mile oval hosted Indy car races from 1971 to 1989 and team co-owner Bobby Rahal competed in eight races here from 1982-1989. The team entered cars for Graham Rahal (2013-2016) and James Jakes (2013) at this track and the No. 15 Bobby Rahal Automotive Group entry for Rahal will be the sixth for the team here.
GRAHAM ON FIVE TOP-FIVE FINISHES IN THE PAST SEVEN RACES
In the past seven IndyCar Series races, Rahal has two wins (Detroit Dual 1 & 2), three podiums (Mid-Ohio) and five, top-five finishes. In addition, he finished eighth at Road America but the race in Toronto looked likely to end with a strong finish after he qualified second but the timing of a caution shuffled the front runners back and he finished ninth. With the string of top-five’s in mind, coupled with a strong run at the Indianapolis 500 before he had to pit from fifth place on Lap 149/200 due to a puncture, Rahal is hoping for a strong finish in Pocono.
“The team absolutely has momentum. I think we are the hottest team other than Penske right now if you look at it across the board. We have been extremely strong at most races recently. We’ve got some big races coming up clearly and Pocono is going to be a big one that should suit the Honda really well. I think we learned a lot at Indianapolis that can translate to our Pocono setup. Hopefully we’ll be able to go out there, use the knowledge from Indianapolis and improve the setup to have a really competitive car. I think we have had a fast car there the last couple of years, particularly on race day but last year we had a puncture to the underwing after Takuma (Sato) crashed which really hurt us. There have been a lot of things that have gone against us in the races but hopefully we’ll have a good one.”
RAHAL AND THE POINT STANDINGS
The four remaining races in 2017 include two ovals and two road courses, including the double-points race at Sonoma Raceway. Rahal is sixth in series point standings with a total of 395. He is 58 points behind leader Josef Newgarden (453), 51 behind second place Helio Castroneves (446), 50 behind third place Scott Dixon (445), 41 behind fourth place Simon Pagenaud (436) and six behind fifth place Will Power (401).
“We’re 58 points out and I think we have been the most consistent car so we’re hoping to continue that. I think the Penskes have had advantages at certain tracks in general but Pocono should be one where we are very strong so my hopes and expectations are very high. Hopefully we can make it happen. Every race for us now is huge, points-wise, and Pocono will be no different. Every week is make-or-break for us; it’s crunch time so we need to go out there and have the absolute best result that we can. If that’s winning, we need to win, and if we have a seventh place car, we need to finish seventh at the worst.”
RAHAL ON HIS APPROACH TO A 500-MILE RACE
“It’s always great to race in the 500-milers. The physical demands aren’t too bad but mentally it is. Mentally it’s long so you have to pace yourself, take care of your equipment and keep your eye on the prize which is getting to the end and being able to go for the win. I believe we’ve got the team to do it and the car should be right there. We should definitely be capable of making it happen.”
BUILDING ON THE KNOWLEDGE GAINED FROM THE INDY 500
“Coming out of Indianapolis set-up wise, we should have some good knowledge that we didn’t have going into the month but that we found very late in the month. We had very fast race cars and ran up front there so hopefully we can carry that forward and do the same at Pocono this weekend.”
GRAHAM ON THE TYPE OF RACING EXPECTED AT THE TRICKY TRIANGE
“It’s always crazy, action-packed racing at Pocono. The cars punch a huge hole in the air. Guys will be able to tow-up on others really well and I think it will be a crazy, busy race as we’ve always seen.”
GRAHAM AT POCONO RACEWAY
The ABC Supply 500 will be Rahal’s fifth race at Pocono Raceway. In 2016, he started 11th and held the position through the first caution for contact by Sato. After the restart, he was passed by Hunter-Reay but reclaimed the position a few laps later. Once the first pit stop cycle began, he pitted from fourth place. A pit issue on the inside front tire cost a few positions but he cycled back up to 12th. The handling of his car wasn’t as good on this stint and he dropped to 16th place. Before his next stop, he cycled up to 10th. As he was approaching his pit box, a scary accident between Rossi and Castroneves, who was positioned on one side of Rahal’s pit, and Kimball, who was on the other side made a quick stop and launch challenging but Rahal got back on track without much issue. He took the restart eighth and passed Andretti for seventh on Lap 71/200. Once leader Aleshin pit on Lap 93, he moved to sixth place, and fifth to Hinchcliffe. When Hinchcliffe pit on Lap 94, the team elected to pit with him. Once back on track, he moved up to seventh by Lap 100/200 and was passed for eighth by eventual winner Power on Lap 106. He cycled up to fourth place before his fourth pit but the handling of his race car wasn’t as good on the stint and he was passed by Kanaan for eighth on Lap 129 and dropped to 11th by Lap 148/200. He pitted from 10th place for his fifth stop on Lap 150 and again from 10th place for his sixth stop on Lap 160 during the caution for points leader Pagenaud, who crashed. Hinchcliffe passed him on the Lap 162 restart. By Lap 164 he moved up to sixth place but was passed by four cars to drop to 10th place on Lap 168. The final caution of the race came on Lap 175 for debris and the majority of the field made their last stops. On Lap 189, Hinchcliffe passed Rahal and made slight contact in the process but the two continued and Rahal ultimately finished 11th… In 2015, he started fifth and ran in the top-eight until a fueling problem on his second pit stop dropped him to 20th place. On Lap 66 of 200, he was in 16th place on a restart and got a run on Justin Wilson and pulled inside him on track. They were two-wide until Tristan Vautier decided to dive low inside, partially on the track, and make it three-wide. Vautier made contact with Rahal and spun the two into the wall. Both were checked and released from the medical center. The DNF in 20th place hindered his title bid after having entered the penultimate race in second place and only 9 points behind leader Montoya who finished third and increased his lead to 34 points entering the double-points season-finale in Sonoma. In 2014, he started 14th and moved into 11th on the opening lap but his helmet pad on the right side of the cockpit flew out of the car and he gradually dropped to 19th. The helmet pad helps the drivers head stay upright while sustaining high G-Forces for 200 laps and he was unable to see as well. Once he made his first stop and the team replaced the helmet pad he steadily climbed back up the field and ran 12th midway through the race and held the fastest lap of the race through his third stint. He was in 11th place when a problem surfaced on Lap 158/200. The car appeared to abruptly change and Rahal spun. The side of the car made contact with the Turn 2 wall and he ultimately retired in 19th place. In 2013 he qualified 17th, started 16th due to a grid penalty ahead and finished 18th.
– RLLR –