CHEVROLET DUAL IN DETROIT - DAY 1
RAHAL LED 10 LAPS AND CHALLENGED EVENTUAL WINNER POWER FOR THE VICTORY IN RACE 1 OF THE CHEVROLET INDY DUAL IN DETROIT AND FINISHED SECOND
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 National Guard Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "I thought I was going to finally get the monkey off my back today. I knew I had a car that was as quick as him (Will Power). I knew I had one opportunity and that was on the restart and he blocked me, which I would have done too, so I don't blame him. On the last run we put on a charge, we caught him and then started to fade a little bit. I wasn't sure what was going on but then all of a sudden it came to us and this National Guard car went right to the front. I've got to tell you, these National Guard guys did a phenomenal job. I said after Indy that this team was made up of champions and that it was going to come in time. Where were going to win one, we're going to do it I can promise you that. One of these days we're going to get that monkey off of our backs. I was focused on the task at hand and I knew I was one of the few guys who could drive by a lot of people today. So when I saw myself in 13th place after a bad run on the reds, I thought 'This isn't over. I can still pass these guys.' And sure enough we went to the front. This is where our season started, right here today."
FAST FACTS: He started his fifth race here from ninth place, led 10 laps and earned his best finish of the season of second place in Dual 1 in Detroit… 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.
1 WIN, 2 FRONT ROW STARTS & 4 PODIUMS ON BELLE ISLE FOR RLL RACING: The 2014 entry will mark the 15th year for the team in the event as well as the 16th and 17th races. The team's highest start of second place and highest finish of first in the event came in the inaugural running on Belle Isle in 1992 by Bobby Rahal. The team also started second in 2013 with James Jakes (Dual 2). In total, the team has earned FOUR podiums (Graham Rahal 2014, James Jakes 2013, Max Papis 2000 - 2nd), four top-five finishes and 12 top-10's here (chart on back page). Prior to 2014, the team prepared a total of 23 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) and James Jakes (2013). The No. 15 National Guard entry for Graham Rahal will bring that total to 24 in 2014.
CHEVROLET DUAL IN DETROIT - DAY 2
RAHAL WAS COLLECTED IN AN OPENING LAP INCIDENT, REJOINED THE RACE SEVEN LAPS DOWN BUT ULTIMATELY RETIRED IN 22ND FROM RACE 2 OF THE CHEVROLET INDY DUAL IN DETROIT
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 National Guard Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "Yesterday was a really good day for the National Guard guys. Unfortunately we just peaked too early. At the start today we just had terrible luck. These things happen. I couldn't see him (Power). I got a great start and got by about five guys and I saw Newgarden and I knew there were two inside but I didn't know who the other one was and I guess it was Power. Then I saw Newgarden start to turn in so I thought it was clear and I started to go and the next thing I know Power just drilled him and hit him straight into me and I t-boned him. When I got hit from behind by (Justin) Wilson it broke the gear sensor and when that happens these cars can't run, its all electronics so the car wouldn't go into gear at all and that's what took us so long to fix. Unfortunately we couldn't fix it properly but the guys did a good job. Then later I brushed the wall in Turn 13 and we retired. I was trying to build upon yesterday. We've just got to keep our chin up and go. We'll be alright."
FAST FACTS: He started his sixth race here from 14th place after the team elected to qualify on primary tires to save a set of red alternate tires for the race. On the opening lap, Will Power, who was later penalized with a drive through penalty for avoidable contact, squeezed Josef Newgarden in Turn 4 and the two made contact. Rahal was behind the two and had no where to go and hit Newgarden before Justin 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 22nd place after he brushed the wall and damaged his suspension after completing 43 of 70 laps. Yesterday he started his fifth race here from ninth place, led 10 laps and earned his best finish of the season of second place to Will Power in Dual 1 in Detroit and set the fastest lap of the race with two laps to go.
NEXT UP: The Firestone 600 will take place next Saturday night, June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). Graham Rahal's best start of third and finish of second came at TMS in 2012. RLL has earned one pole at TMS (Scott Sharp 2007), made two front row starts and the team's highest finish is second place with Vitor Meira in 2005.