June 04, 2019

Rahal Optimistic About Return to Texas Motor Speedway Oval after Competitive Runs at Indianapolis

RAHAL’S BEST TMS START/FINISH: 3rd in 2012 / 1st in 2016; will be his 12th race here


RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES START/FINISH: Pole at St. Pete (street) 2009, Kansas (oval) 2009, Detroit (street) 2017 / 1st in St. Pete in 2008, Fontana (oval; 500 miles) 2015, Mid-Ohio (road) 2015, Texas (oval) 2016; Detroit Race 1 (street) 2017, Detroit Race 2 (street) 2017



In his 11 races here, his best start came in 2012 of third and best finish is his win in 2016. In 2018, he started 20th and took the opportunity to pit during the first caution for a fire on Leist’s car on Lap 9 after running 19th. This enabled him to stretch his fuel and cycle into the lead on Lap 68 before he made his second stop on Lap 72 and returned to the track in 14th.  He took over 13th when Veach made contact and then into 12th when Newgarden pit due to a tire going down. The field had been watching for tire wear, particularly on the right front and rear, and Rahal reported a vibration on lap 101/248. As the next pit cycle began, he moved up to second by Lap 127 before making his stop on L128. Her returned to the track in 13th place and moved up to eight when a caution came out for Wickens and Carpenter, who made contact on Lap 173. At this point, he was in seventh and a lap down but was waved around before he made his next pit stop on L183.  When the race restarted, he held seventh place and another caution came out for Power and Claman De Melo who made contact as Claman De Melo was passing on the high side. He was in sixth and the team elected to pit for new tires when the pits opened. The race was restarted on Lap 215/248 and Rahal maintained his position until the checkered flag.  In 2017, Rahal drove to a 4th place finish after avoiding many crashes in an action-packed 248-lap race that saw a red flag stop to clear the track after a crash that collected eight cars and later, competition yellows for mandatory pit stops for new tires, among other events.  Near the end of the race, Rahal pitted from fifth place on Lap 225/248 during a competition yellow and mandatory stop but stalled leaving the pits and returned to the track in ninth.  He was in seventh place when Sato and Dixon made contact and collected other cars with four laps to go.  The race ended under caution with Rahal in fourth place.  The June 11, 2016 race was postponed until June 12 due to rain which again postponed the race to August 27 after the field complete 71 of 248 scheduled laps before rain came again.  Rahal had qualified 13th for the race and was in 12th when it was halted.  On August 27, he restarted on Lap 72 and quickly moved to sixth place. He maintained a top-five position the majority of the time except after pitting and never was lower than eighth.  He ran second many times and only led once – the final lap – and won by a margin of victory of 0.0080-of a second in what is the fifth-closest finish in Indy car history and the closest finish at Texas Motor Speedway. In 2015, 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. Rahal aims to post a good result to put the disappointment of crashing with a top-three finish in sight in Detroit Dual 1.

“I’m excited about going to Texas.  We’ve won there before so that makes you look forward to the race more. We struggled there a little bit last year but we were in the hunt at the end of the race. My hope is that we can be a little bit stronger this year. We have the oval maestro Allan (McDonald; race engineer) on the strand and after Indianapolis, where our race car was great, it will be good to go to Texas and see how much of that carries over there. If we can take a couple of things that we learned at Indy to Texas and they work out there too, I think we’ll be just fine.  It looks like it’s going to be a scorcher.”


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