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2017 Watkins Glen: Rahal Letterman Lanigan IndyCar Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Aug 30, 2017 - 06:19 AM
IndyCar Weekend Team Reports
2017 Watkins Glen: Rahal Letterman Lanigan IndyCar Race Preview


DATE: September 1-3, 2017

PRACTICE BROADCASTS: Live on Friday, September 1 from 10:15-11:00 a.m. ET and 3:05-3:50 p.m. ET on
Indycar.com, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Also live on Saturday from 10:30-11:15 a.m. ET and 9:00-9:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

 
QUALIFYING BROADCAST: Same day delay on NBCSN at 7 p.m. ET Saturday, September 2 and live at 3 p.m. ET on
the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network (AAPIRN), the INDYCAR 17 app and www.indycar.com (video streaming and timing & scoring + live analysis).

RACE BROADCAST: Live on NBCSN beginning at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, September 3, the INDYCAR 17 app and
www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis).

RADIO BROADCAST: Live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209
and www.indycar.com

TRACK LAYOUT: 3.37-mile, 11-turn road course
RACE LENGTH: 60 laps / 202.2 miles

2016 WINNER: Scott Dixon
2016 POLESITTER: Scott Dixon (1:22.5259; 147.008 mph)

RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES
START / FINISH: 3 Poles - St. Pete (street) 2009, Kansas (oval) 2009, Detroit (street) 2017 / 6 Wins - St.
Pete 2008, Fontana (oval; 500 miles) 2015, Mid-Ohio (road) 2015, Texas (oval) 2016; Detroit Race 1 2017, Detroit Race 2 2017

RAHAL’S BEST WGI
START / FINISH: 5th in 2009 with NHLR but penalized 10 starting spots / 8th in 2008 with NHLR; will be his
fourth race here

RLLR’S BEST START/
FINISH AT THE GLEN 3rd / 1st – both in 2008 by Ryan Hunter-Reay

NEWS & NOTES:

RLL RACING AIMS TO ADD TO 2008 WIN HERE
The 2017 INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Glen will mark the sixth Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR) at Watkins Glen International (WGI) and second since the team won the 2008 event with Ryan Hunter-Reay. The team has one win (Hunter-Reay 2008), and four top-10 finishes here and team drivers have led a total of 15 laps. Prior to the 2017 event, the team prepared a total of 10 Indy car entries for drivers Buddy Rice (2005-2006), Danica Patrick (2005-2006), Vitor Meira (2005), Jeff Simmons (2006-2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008) and Graham Rahal (2016). The No. 15 entry for Graham Rahal will bring the Indy car total to 11 entries in 2017.

GRAHAM AT WATKINS GLEN = HIGH EXPECTATIONS
The INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Glen will mark Graham Rahal’s fourth race here. In 2016, he started 20th after a qualifying penalty on Saturday. He had set the sixth fastest time in Group 2 of Round 1 when Takuma Sato brought out the red flag and would have advanced to Round 2 to set the top-12 positions but INDYCAR withdrew Rahal’s two fastest laps because they ruled he impeded Jack Hawksworth’s lap time. Rahal’s third fastest lap put him P10 in his group and he did not advance. He started the race on primary Firestone tires and most utilized the softer, alternate Firestones. He passed a car on the opening lap and after a multi-car incident, he was up to 15th. He passed Hunter-Reay for 14th on Lap 3 and steadily moved up to eighth place as the pit cycle was in progress. He had been saving fuel to extend the stint as long as possible and gain positions but Aleshin crashed and brought out the first caution on Lap 14. Once the pits opened, Rahal pitted from eighth place on Lap 16. He returned to the track in 18th place with the top 11 having made their first stops on Lap 14 or before. On the restart, he was passing Charlie Kimball and contact between the two forced him head-on into the tire barrier on Lap 19 and he retired in 20st place after one of the hardest impact’s he had taken in Indy car. In 2008, he qualified 18th with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) after a Saturday practice crash and finished eighth. In 2009, he qualified fifth with NHLR but lost 10 starting positions when his car was ruled to be too light in a tech inspection and he started 15th. He ran as high as second but the wrong fuel strategy contributed to a 13th place finish. He did not compete in the 2010 race. Rahal is looking forward to the return to the Watkins Glen road course and is hoping he has a competitive race like he did at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course where he qualified fourth and finished third.

“My expectations for the weekend are extremely high. Last year the car was very good at Watkins Glen so I believe we can start where we left off. The tires are the same this year so there shouldn’t be anything unexpected and it should be similar to Mid-Ohio this year.”

GRAHAM ON ROAD/STREET COURSE QUALIFYING SINCE INDY AND THE TEAM’S STRENGTH, COURSE-WISE
Since the Indianapolis 500, Rahal has qualified no lower than sixth place on the road and street courses including front row starts at Detroit’s Dual 1 with pole, and also third place in Dual 2, and a second place start on the streets of Toronto. On the two road courses, he progressed to the Firestone Fast Six both times with a sixth place start at Road America and fourth at Mid-Ohio. He is hoping to continue that through the next two road courses at Watkins Glen and Sonoma and put himself and the team in a position for a good finish.

“I think that the upcoming races fit the strengths of our team very well so I’m looking forward to them. I’m glad we’re through some of the more challenging tracks for us of the year and on to a really good track at Watkins Glen that I believe we can qualify and race well at and hopefully run up front. It’s going to be tough as always. We can’t overlook that. We will keep our heads down and push as hard as we can. We will try to start up front and go racing. Fuel strategy played a role last year, amongst other things, but hopefully we can put it all together.”

GRAHAM AND THE POINT STANDINGS
With two races remaining on the schedule, Rahal is sixth in series point standings with a total of 436. He is 111 points behind leader Josef Newgarden (547), 80 behind second place Scott Dixon (516), 69 behind third place Helio Castroneves (505), 68 behind fourth place Simon Pagenaud (504) and 28 behind fifth place Will Power (464).

“Obviously I would like to get into the top five. I’m disappointed with the way the last two races ended off after being competitive but I do believe we are a team that is capable of taking it to the big boys. We have all year and our goal is to sneak up there into the top five. Certainly a win this weekend would really help that.”

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