GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "It was a good run and the Steak ';n Shake boys did a good job in the pits. The strategy was fine. Our car had great pace today we just could never quite get in clear air but I'm really proud of everyone on the Steak 'n Shake team. Obviously to be the only team in the top five other than a Penske speaks volumes to the quality of people we have in this organization. We're going to keep our heads down, keep working hard. It was another good day for our United Rentals Turns for Troops program. We raised a lot of money to help the veterans today. We'll be back strong in Pocono. (On attempt to pass second place Power:) I broke as late as I could and he obviously broke late too and locked up, slid across my bow. Luckily I saw him or that could have easily been both of us out, gone. I will talk to him about that later but overall it was hard racing today. (On battle against four-car teams:) It's hard work. Our guys are working very hard, and, in many ways, out working them. We just have to out drive them as best we can too. We were hanging on today; it was a lot of work out there. It was a good, solid day. Hats off to all of my guys because they work very hard back in the shop. We're a 20 person team up against a 400 person team at Team Penske so quality over quantity. They've got great quality and they've got quantity. We've just got a lot of quality."
- FAST FACTS: On the start, Graham spent many laps attempting to pass the slower car of third place Sato. After using a lot of Push to Pass and his tires, he was able to do so on Lap 14. Once by, he focused on catching back up to second place Power (-0.8) and leader Newgarden (-4.6). As the pit cycle started, he stayed out on lap longer than the top-two and cycled into the lead before he made his stop on Lap 18. He came back on track ahead of second place Power but was unable to hold him off due to being on cold tires to Power's hot ones. He cycled into the lead again before his second stop on Lap 42 but got back on track with the lapped car of Munoz between himself and second place Power. Munoz was difficult to pass as he was using P2P on each straight to keep Rahal behind. By Lap 57, he was able to pass him but had lost a lot of track position to second place Power (-5.9) and leader Newgarden (-13.3). He had just made his third stop on Lap 66 when Ed Jones brought out a full course caution. When the race restarted, 18th place Gutierrez was second in running order ahead of Power and Rahal which enabled Newgarden to pull away again. Both Power and Rahal were on the quicker alternate tires to Newgarden's primary ones but were unable to take advantage of that. On Lap 73/90, Rahal was alongside Power to challenge for second place but had to back off of both would be taken out. He ultimately finished third… Was fastest in the pre-race warmup after matching his best start of fourth place here from 2009 for his 10th Indy car race at this track. He also set the fastest overall time in qualifying in Round 2 although Round 3 times are the official ones. His best start is fourth in 2009 (and 2017) and his best finish is his win here in 2015. He has competed in many other series at his "home track." In 2016, he started sixth and was passed by Montoya on the start when he experienced an over boost. Once that was adjusted, he settled into seventh place and made his first stop on Lap 17 during a caution for contact between Dixon and Castroneves. He returned to the race in 17th place while multiple fuel strategies were in play and the top three had yet to pit. He moved to 15th after Castroneves and Newgarden had issues and would have gained two spots but was passed by Kanaan and ran 15th. He was eighth when he made his second stop on Lap 40/90 and returned to the track in 14th place. After attrition took a few drivers out, Rahal ran 10th by Lap 51. He passed Pigot for ninth place on Lap 59 and made his final stop during the caution for Hawksworth on Lap 62. He returned to the track in 10th place and once the race was restarted, fifth place Kimball drove off track and Rahal moved into 9th. He was able to pass Kanaan on Lap 67 for eighth place and Ryan Hunter-Reay for seventh on Lap 77. Once race leader Daly made his out-of-sequence stop on Lap 84, Rahal moved into sixth. He closed on Bourdais to set up a possible pass but fifth place Bourdais attempted to pass fourth place Sato and the two collided and Rahal moved to fourth. He closed on third place Munoz but was unable to pass before the checkered flag. In 2015, he led a race-high 23 laps en route to victory with a 3.4-second margin over Justin Wilson. In 2014, he qualified seventh and avoided an opening lap, multi-car crash to take over fourth place. He maintained a top-five position throughout the race with the exception of pit cycles and ran as high as third at one point. An alternate strategy played out for eventual winner Scott Dixon who started 22nd and made four pit stops in comparison to the majority who made three. Rahal took the checkered flag in fifth place to better his previous best finish at this track of eighth place in 2009. In 2013, Rahal qualified 22nd, and ran as high as eighth on a three pit stop strategy but finished 18th after being held up by drivers on a two-stop strategy. In 2012 he qualified 22nd, started 21st (engine penalty ahead on grid) and finished 11th with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR). In 2011 he qualified sixth, stalled in the pits after his first stop and finished 24th with SCCGR. In 2010, he qualified 25th with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) and had moved up to 14th when he attempted to pass Wheldon for 13th on Lap 61/85 in T2 and went off course and dropped to 21st. Finished 20th. In 2009, he started fourth with NHLR and looked likely to finish fourth before an off-track excursion while fifth late in the race led to an eighth place finish. In 2008, he started 14th with NHLR and ran as high as eighth, but an off track excursion on lap 53 limited him to a 16th place finish. At the age of 16 in 2005, he became the youngest to claim the SCCA National Formula Atlantic championship at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs here by a dominant 43-seconds. He also competed in the Star Mazda race here in 2005 (S/F 4/9) and tested a Grand Am car here in 2007… His best finishes this season are two wins in Detroit and best start is pole for Detroit Race 1… Rahal is sixth in series point standings with a total of 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), 6 behind fifth place Will Power (401).
RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT MID-OHIO … The Honda Indy 200 marked the 20th Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here. The team also competed in the Atlantic Series race in 2003 with Danica Patrick and has competed in ALMS races here in 2007 and from 2009-2012. The team has one win (G. Rahal 2015), FOURpodiums (3rd: B. Rahal 1997, 1998; G. Rahal 2017) and the highest start is pole (Herta 1997). Another front row start came in 1999 (Herta; 2nd). Prior to the 2017 event, the team prepared a total of 29 Indy car entries for drivers Bobby Rahal (1992-98), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jourdain Jr. (2002-03) Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007-2008), Takuma Sato (2012), Graham Rahal (2013-2016) and James Jakes (2013). The team has earned THREE podiums (1st - G. Rahal; 3rd - Rahal 1997, 1998), 12 top-five's and 16 top-10 finishes at the track. The No. 15 Steak 'n Shake entry for Graham Rahal brought the Indy car total to 30 entries in 2017.
NEXT UP: The team will test at Gateway Motorsports Park on Thursday, August 3.