Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Presented by PennGrade
Verizon IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING DAY 1 NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, May 21, 2016
1st:          James Hinchcliffe               4-lap avg. speed of 230.946 mph    (L1: 38.9238, L2: 38.9544, L3: 38.9605, L4: 39.0416)
21st:       Graham Rahal                     4-lap avg. speed of 227.437 mph    (L1: 39.3793, L2: 39.6153, L3: 39.6619, L4: 39.6288)  
23rd:       Spencer Pigot                      4-lap avg. speed of 227.100 mph    (L1: 39.6368, L2: 39.5565, L3: 39.5774, L4: 39.7495)  
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “That’s (qualifying time) not what we hoped for but the car has been giving me these sorts of signs the last few days. We’re going to continue to work hard here; there is no quit in these guys and they deserve better than this and we’re going to fight hard to get it. I think we have to give it another shot, if for no other reason than to try to improve the car.
(On second qualifying run:) “We went back out to try to learn. We went back out to try a different mechanical setup. I think it was better but obviously still slow. We have got to look at why this thing is not pulling; it’s just not pulling the gears it should easy. We’ve got a little work to do. But as I always say, and I really believe, we’ve got the best team out here. It’s a great group of people and they do a great job of building this car so I see no reason the car shouldn’t be pretty quick.”
FAST FACTS: Will be his ninth Indy 500. His best qualifying position in the Indy 500 is fourth in 2009 with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and best finish is third with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 after he led six laps. He ran in the top-five in five of his eight previous races here.  In 2008, with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, he was the highest Indy 500 starter of the Champ Car transitioning teams with his 13th place qualifying effort but made contact on L36 after driving high to avoid the slower car of Lloyd and retired in 33rd place.  He qualified fourth for NHLR in the 2009 Indy 500 but made contact on L56 while fifth and retired in 31st. In 2010, he competed for his father’s team – RLL – for the first time in an Indy car. He qualified seventh and ran as high as second but a blocking penalty on L188/200 dropped him from third to a 12th place finish. He qualified 29th with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 and earned his best finish at Indy to date of third place after he led six laps. In 2012, he qualified 12th, ran as high as third and finished 13th for SCCGR. In 2013, he qualified 26th and pitted from ninth place for his second to last stop and his outside rear tire changer had a mechanical problem and Rahal returned to the track in 21st place. He was in 17th with eight laps to go and lost control of his car in Turn 2 and made contact with the wall. In 2014, he started 20th but finished 33rd due to an electrical problem that kept shutting his engine off .  In 2015, he drove to a fifth place finish after starting 17th. … His best qualifying position of the season so far is third at the IMS road course (later DQ’d due to being a few pounds under weight) and best finish is second at Barber… He is fifth in series point standings with a total of 133.  Fourth place Castroneves has 159 (+26) and leader Pagenaud has 242 (+109).
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 16 RLL / Mi-Jack / Manitowoc Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “The most important day is next Sunday but I think we can improve the car a little bit for tomorrow and jump up a couple of rows. But again we are just focusing on the race especially after the track time that we lost this week. We’re focused on just building a good, fast race car. The car felt pretty good. It’s pretty windy and gusty out here which can be difficult. The guys gave me a good car. They have worked really hard the last couple of days especially and I can’t thank them enough.”
FAST FACTS: Will be his first IndyCar Series race on an oval and third overall... In his series debut in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Pigot ran as high as 12th and finished 14th… Pigot is the most successful driver since the formation of the Mazda Road to Indy in 2010 with 24 race wins to his credit in USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. He was the 15th driver to graduate from the Mazda Road to Indy into the Verizon IndyCar Series since 2010.  He has won no fewer than four scholarship prizes from Mazda to maintain his career’s momentum to get to the IndyCar Series.

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Volume 2016, Issue 5, Posted 11:19 AM, 05.22.2016