2009 IRL Team Reports: Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing

IRL Team reports for the 2009 IRL season

Moderator: mlittle

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Postby mlittle » Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:51 pm

McDONALD'S DRIVER RAHAL FINISHED 20TH AFTER CONTACT IN THE HONDA INDY TORONTO; DOORNBOS RETIRED IN 23RD DUE TO AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM IN THE GEAR SHIFT SYSTEM

Graham Rahal, No. 02 McDonald's Dallara/Honda/Firestone: b^0x001cIt was a frustrating day for the McDonald's boys. Right from the start the race was bad because (Will) Power didn't try to stay in his lane on the start. It's as easy at that; you're supposed to be two wide and he wasn't. He came straight across and just took off my front wing. So right away we were fighting an uphill battle and those are the worst races because it's so frustrating when you know you're out of the game at the start. After coming in for the wing change I just tried to recover. We had pretty good lap times but I just couldn't hang in there being behind Danica. She would brake so early and I was bad at judging where she was going to hit the brakes because it was inconsistent, but always early and I ended up flat-spotting my tires. I tried to recover from that as well and then tried to pass Ed. Danica dove in (ahead of Ed) and Ed stayed wide so I dove underneath him and got mid-corner and he turned in while I was there. I tried to back out but I was pinched. That was it for us. I'm not going to blame him though because I should have known that's what he would do. The whole idea today was to get some points and close on fifth place but now (fifth place) Danica gained a lot of points and moved further away."

Robert Doornbos, No. 06 Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "I had a great start and was up four positions. I got the maximum out of that and was up to third and running strong and settled into our strategy of saving fuel. We were looking good and then the gearbox
started performing less good on the downshifts and it slowly got worse until we ended up with no ability to shift. It's a very frustrating end to the race given the potential we showed at the start."
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Postby mlittle » Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:27 am

McDONALD'S DRIVER RAHAL AND TEAMMATE DOORNBOS HOPE TO CONTINUE TEAM'S STREAK OF PODIUM FINISHES IN EVERY REXALL EDMONTON INDY

EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada (July 22, 2009) --- Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) has always looked forward to their return to the 1.973-mile, 14-turn City Centre Airport course in Edmonton since the first race here in 2005 which was won by then team driver Sebastien Bourdais. Bourdais started from pole the next year and finished second before another win came in 2007. The team has finished on the podium in every Champ or Indy car race held here for a total of six times in the four events, most recently with Justin Wilson's third place finish in 2008. McDonald's driver Graham Rahal and Robert Doornbos are looking forward to the opportunity to extend that record in this Sunday's Rexall Edmonton Indy.

"Edmonton has been a great place for me," said Rahal who has finished on the podium in two of his three races here. "I love the circuit, its very demanding, fast and fun. I have felt very competitive every time I have competed there and I really hope that streak continues this year and we can give the McDonald's team another win here. Absolutely it is very possible to continue the team's record of finishing on the podium in every race here. I feel very highly that either of our drivers have an opportunity to do great things here, and a win is certainly possible."

Rahal competed here in the Atlantic series in 2006 where he started third and finished second before he moved up to the Champ Car series and raced for NHLR in 2007 where he started fourth and finished third to Bourdais and Justin Wilson, respectively. In his 2008 return here in the inaugural IndyCar Series race at this track, he had big expectations but was hit on the opening lap by Mario Moraes and, after multiple stops to repair that damage, he was later hit by E.J. Viso, who was given a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact. Rahal qualified third at the previous street race in Toronto but second-place starter Will Power ran over his front wing at the start and ended his hopes of a victory there. He is not only looking to turn his luck around at Edmonton this weekend, he is also looking to turn his luck around for the season.

"The track is very physically demanding, and it is tough to figure out," said Rahal, who has earned two poles this season and his best finish is third place on the oval in Richmond. "Being that areas are wide open, it is difficult to find your brake markers and etc. It is a fast place, with areas of high g-forces so it makes it lots of fun. I'm disappointed that the season hasn't been better for us so far. I have been very competitive and my entire team has done a fantastic job but we have had the worst luck that anyone could ever have. I just hope we can end it off well in the remaining races beginning with Edmonton. We have the potential."

Rahal's teammate Robert Doornbos is also hoping to reach the full potential of the team in Edmonton. This track is the third and final one he has raced on before of the 17-race 2009 IndyCar Series schedule. He entered the 2007 race here as the points leader but he qualified and finished 11th for Minardi Team USA after contact with Alex Tagliani while ninth put him one lap down. He is looking forward to his return to the track and getting back to work after a rare weekend off.

"It's great to come back to Edmonton," said Doornbos, who is within seven points of the leader Raphael Matos in the Rookie of the Year standings (182-175), in second place. "In Champ Car I was very impressed with the turn-out of fans even on practice days! It's great for the drivers and sponsors to have a big crowd watching and I hope this year is going to be the same. The track is technical and challenging with some fast bits so we just have to find a good car balance so that we can be strong all around the track! It sounds easy but a lot of hard work will take place to make this happen."

Doornbos narrowly missed making it to the third round of the Firestone Fast Six qualifying at the last event in Toronto and started seventh. After making a great start he moved into third place on the opening lap but ultimately retired due to an electrical failure in the gear shift system. Like Rahal, he has the potential to continue the team's string of podium finishes in Edmonton.

"I think as a team we have had many opportunities this season to be on a podium but we had too many problems," said Doornbos. "To make it happen this weekend in Edmonton we just need a mega set-up for the car from the engineers, mechanics who prepare the car to the max and make it bulletproof and a driver who's very hungry for a podium. The 06 crew has all of these and the potential to pull this off."

As one of the main challengers of NHLR and Bourdais, with Justin Wilson, for the 2007 Champ Car title, Doornbos showed his ability by winning two races and amassing five podium finishes during the title fight on road and street courses and finished third overall. His best start this season of second place came on an oval and best finishes of ninth place came three times on two ovals and a street course. Prior to joining the IndyCar Series in 2008, the team and current drivers had built the bulk of their experience base on road and street courses. Doornbos believes the diversity of ovals, road courses and street courses in the IndyCar Series enable a variety of contenders throughout the year.

"You always have to believe that a win is possible and that is what is great about the IndyCar Series with the races being so exciting, almost anybody can win on these types of tracks," said the Dutchman. "My goals are the same and that is to be successful in Indy cars in the long run. In all the championships apart from Formula One I have been a frontrunner and a race winner and I want to keep doing so in Indy car!"

Not only is it the second time for the IndyCar Series to race in Edmonton, it is also their third race in Canada in general after holding and event in Toronto two weeks ago. However, the team has enjoyed many competitive races in Canada over the years. Of their 107 wins, they have earned a combined total of 15 at events in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Edmonton dating back to their first in Canada with Michael Andretti in the 1989 event in Toronto. In addition, they have a total of 34 podium finishes in Canada. If they are able to carry over their previous success in Edmonton with a win, it would enable the team to extend their record of earning at least one victory every year but one in their 27th season of competition. Doornbos predicts a big celebration if he takes the checkered flag first on Sunday.

"It would be great to win a race this year with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and I promise you it will be a BIG party when we do! We have to keep working harder than the rest and make less mistakes, have a bit more luck and we can keep the tradition going! I flew out to Mont Tremblant and did my physical training which was great as there are awesome hiking and mountain bike trails and I also went back to the see the Mont Tremblant race track where I won the Champ Car race in 2007. I picked up some winning energy and now I'm ready for the Edmonton race!"

"I think that the team can win this season," added Rahal, who earned one of the team's two wins in 2008. b^0x001cThere are things we need to improve on, but yes we absolutely have a great opportunity to gain some wins here towards the end of the season. It would mean a lot to me to win again for this team, and I think it would give us a lot of momentum as the season ends and the 2010 season begins. Of the remaining races I think our best chance to win is at Edmonton, Mid-Ohio, Sonoma and Chicago."

This weekend's Rexall Edmonton Indy can be seen on live on Sunday, July 26 at 5:00 p.m. EDT on Versus. The event will get underway with practice on Friday, qualifying on Saturday and the 95-lap race will begin at 4:00 p.m. MDT on Sunday. As always, fans can follow the action from every on-track session via the official website of the IndyCar Series, www.indycar.com. It will also be broadcast live on IMS Radio Network and XM Radio Channels 144 and 145.
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Postby mlittle » Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:39 am

McDONALD'S DRIVER RAHAL SEVENTH FASTEST IN PRACTICE FOR THE REXALL EDMONTON INDY; DOORNBOS 12TH

Graham Rahal, No. 02 McDonald's Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "The McDonald's car certainly seemed to get better at the end of the day. At the start we were struggling pretty bad and I felt like we needed a big change to really improve it. At the end I think we started to figure it out but there is a little bit of room to go obviously. The Penske's are very fast. On our last set of tires, on the second run, were pretty old and they had a couple of big lockups on them already but we were up almost three-tenths on the last lap and I gave it away because I couldn't keep it through Turn 7 because I had a lot of understeer. I'm just happy that we were more competitive by the end of the day.JIt was a big step forward and certainly there is more to do but I am definitely much happier."

Robert Doornbos, No. 06 Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "It's good to be back in Edmonton and see all of the Canadian fans in the stands, cheering us on for a practice day. We worked hard today in the morning session. It was quite obvious that this afternoon our two team cars went in different directions set-up wise and the 02 McDonald's car performed a bit better so we're hoping we can find some more out of it for tomorrow because at the moment we aren't that competitive but we should be better tomorrow."
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Postby mlittle » Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:04 pm

McDONALD'S DRIVER RAHAL QUALIFIED FIFTH FOR THE REXALL EDMONTON INDY; DOORNBOS TO START 10TH

Graham Rahal, No. 02 McDonald's Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "We started the third round on the old reds (alternate tires) and we probably could have gone a little bit quicker but we wouldn't have done a 1:01.2. We decided early on that if we weren't going to get enough out of it we were going to come in early and put on a set of blacks (primary tires) but it felt like the left rear was loose when we did which wasn't the case but that's how it felt. It was so loose in the right handers that it felt like something was broken so we pitted and didn't really make our second run in the final round of qualifying. Fortunately we're in the top-six again which feels really good for the McDonald's boys. The best thing is that at the end of last year we sat down and had a talk at the shop and we said 'If we don't make the top-six at least three times next year we're going to be disappointed' and we've been in it every single time but once and we narrowly missed it and started seventh. So we've got to be pretty pleased with that."

Robert Doornbos, No. 06 Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "We worked hard today towards qualifying. I think we proved in the first round that the pace is there and ended up P2 in that one. We made some changes in between rounds which didn't seem to work when we went back out so we tried to go back on them but we couldn't seem to find the balance anymore. It is obviously disappointing but it will be a long race."

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Postby mlittle » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:44 pm

McDONALD'S DRIVER RAHAL FINISHED SEVENTH IN THE REXALL EDMONTON INDY; DOORNBOS NINTH

Graham Rahal, No. 02 McDonald's Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "At the start I saw Moraes coming and I said 'Forget it, I'm just going to let him go around rather than get hit.' He and his teammate collected each other anyway so that helped. I really just wanted to make it through the first lap so I thought losing a position or two was better than getting taken out again. I saw Moraes really early pull to the inside, and he wasn't on me but I didn't want to see last year happen again. Then after that I was just conserving fuel and I felt like we were one of the guys that went the longest. And then we pitted a little bit early on the second stop to try and get out from behind Wheldon. Then we put the black's on at the end and the car felt diabolical for the first 15 or 20 laps. We started to get it cured a little bit by using my bars and with the tires wearing it helped out a little bit but I just never quite had the pace that I did on the reds. I wish I had the reds there at the end to try and challenge PT (Paul Tracy) because he didn't look too strong at the end either."

J Robert Doornbos, No. 06 Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "We had a good start. Coming out of the chicane I had good momentum building up and I was in the middle of a sandwich between PT and Matos, I think, and I managed to outbreak two cars so that was good and I just slotted in line and had a good first lap. So I was following Graham and saving fuel and trying to think of some strategy, hoping for some yellows but nothing happened so we just started running on higher fuel maps and pushing to try to keep the position. We had a good first stint and we were pushing with both cars and at the pit stop everything went well and I got out I got held up a bit and that's when I lost track position with the train of cars in front of me. There wasn't much action going on because there was no one for me to race nearby. It was fun, it was a hard race for P9 but we brought both cars back home in the top-10 which is good for now. We'll just work harder to close the gap to the top teams. Near the end I had to let Power by but it was good to see the Penske pace and to see that we could follow them and drive the same lap times and that was quite positive."

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Postby mlittle » Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:32 am

NEWMAN/HAAS/LANIGAN RACING'S SENIOR ENGINEER CRAIG HAMPSON REMARKS ON THE IMPACT OF CHANGES TO THE INDYCAR SERIES' TECHNICAL PACKAGE THAT WILL DEBUT THIS WEEKEND AT KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (July 29, 2009) --- Craig Hampson, senior engineer for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing was asked about the possible impact of recent rule changes in the IndyCar Series that are being introduced in an effort to enhance the racing. The new technical rules will debut at this weekend's Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Hampson's comments are below:

"As in most cases, I think the teams with the most money can react fastest to rules changes like these, because they can quickly get into the wind tunnel and properly evaluate what all the possible permutations do - and what knock-on effects they have for other parts of the car and setup.

"The IRL has not created any new parts for the speedways, but they have re-legalized parts which were previously banned several years ago. I think the teams which were in the IRL many seasons ago will have some small advantage with the rules changes, because they do have the experience and aero data from when these parts were last legal. We don't have that. But the good thing is that we had all of these parts in our inventory already, so we didn't have to purchase anything new. And in this economy, that's good for everyone's budget.

"For example, we can now use wheel rim backing plates. These were not legal at speedways - but were required at short ovals. So what we're doing is fitting the short oval parts we already owned.

"In general, the changes the IRL has made both increase downforce and reduce drag. For sure, the cars will be going faster - by well over 1 mph. The added downforce, if you don't make any other adjustments, will give the driver some more comfort in traffic, which is what the IRL wants to achieve. But to go faster than the next guy, you're likely to try and trim the car out further with front ride height and other removable wickers. So it's entirely possible that we're all going to migrate back down to the original downforce level, but with less drag, and thus a higher speed.

"Honda and the IRL have also added additional functionality to the overtake button. This has been tested by other teams, but we have not experienced it yet. It's very good that both our drivers previously used an overtake button in Champ Car - though here it works a little differently, and the effects will be a lot smaller.

"The thing I do very much like about Honda's system is the "hold off time" they have put on the backside of each use. After you use the button, there is a period of time where you CANNOT use the button. This will likely set up a few "pass, and then pass back" scenarios, where the drivers trade off who leads at different ends of the track. Certainly, the driver will need to be smart about when to use the pass button because you only get 20 shots of it. And once you use a shot, you have to wait a bit before your next one. It will surely be a thinking man's game.

"I do wish the power boost was larger, but with a normally aspirated engine, there is only so much you can achieve. The only other approach would have been to detune the engine power for the majority of its running - and that's not a path anyone wanted to see us go down.

"The only rules changes made for the road tracks are the inclusion of the overtake function. In terms of aero or mechanical changes, nothing has been altered so far. So I think you'll see the effects of the IRL's current efforts more at the Kentucky, Chicago, Motegi, and Homestead ovals. Though I'll have to say Toronto was pretty darn entertaining as it was. Edmonton was admittedly much more of a parade, but a lot of that had to do with the fastest cars starting up front, and staying there. The fact is, the faster the corners are, the more your grip level is effected by dirty air from the car in front. It's been that way for as long as I can remember. Whichever series can someday solve the mystery of dirty air will certainly win the fans' vote because it currently affects not just us, but also F1 and NASCAR."

Craig Hampson -- Senior Engineer J Craig Hampson begins his 16th season with the team in 2009 and his second as senior engineer. For the previous six seasons he was a race engineer, four of which were championship-winning seasons with Sebastien Bourdais.
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Postby mlittle » Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:32 am

McDONALD'S DRIVER RAHAL AND TEAMMATE DOORNBOS LOOK FORWARD TO RETURN TO A 1.5-MILE OVAL FOR THIS SATURDAY'S MEIJER INDY 300 AT KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY

SPARTA, Kentucky (July 30, 2009) --- The 2009 IndyCar Series is heading back to an oval track after three road/street course races and Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) is looking forward to their return to a 1.5 mile tri oval for the first time since Kansas Speedway in April where the team qualified both cars on the front row. McDonald's driver Rahal and teammate Robert Doornbos are hoping to repeat their strong qualifying performance on this type of track at Kentucky Speedway, site of Saturday night's Meijer Indy 300.

"I am looking forward to getting back onto the ovals," said Rahal. "It (Kentucky Speedway) should be very similar to the Kansas track. I think that basically a 'Kansas car' is a 1.5 mile all around car. The trick with Kentucky is it is bumpy and that makes the shock package more of a premium than any of the other 1.5 mile tracks we will go to. I think that its time to see how the McDonald's team has progressed on the 1.5 mile courses, and I am looking forward to giving it a shot this weekend."

At Kansas Speedway on April 25, 2009, Rahal became the youngest pole winner on an oval in IndyCar Series (ICS) history after already becoming the youngest overall pole winner with his top starting spot on the streets of St. Pete in the season-opener. It was also the first pole on an oval for a team transitioning from the Champ Car World Series as well as NHLR's first oval pole since Sebastien Bourdais won from pole at the final Champ Car oval race which was held at the Milwaukee Mile in 2006. The team also earned their first 1-2 start on an oval since the 2006 Milwaukee race where Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira made up the front row. One big difference however was that Kansas marked Robert Doornbos' oval debut. After starting second, he took the lead after the first round of pit stops but was penalized for hitting Rahal's tire while leaving his pit box and had to drop to the back of the field. He learned a lot from that experience as well as in other oval races this season and is looking forward to his seventh race on an oval in Kentucky.

"The last time I was on a 1.5 mile oval it was in Kansas and it was my first ever oval race weekend," said Doornbos, whose highest finish on an oval is ninth place in Texas and Richmond. "Obviously the car was working well and I qualified on the front row in second place which was very motivating for everybody on the team. I learned a lot in that race because I was in all different positions from leading until getting a penalty and driving in last place. I now look forward to going back to a similar track even though I've never been to Kentucky."

Like Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway is a tri oval with similar banking. The Kentucky track is bumpier than the Kansas track but that isn't the only change the team is anticipating. Beginning in Kentucky, IndyCar Series teams will have the option of adding aerodynamic pieces to their cars as well as bursts of additional horsepower in an effort to increase passing opportunities. Rear tire ramps, sidepod extensions and wheel backing plates used together, or in any combination will be optional items for the 1.5-mile ovals.

"From what I have been told, the cars should be quicker and I do think that it is a good first step towards making the cars more racey," said Rahal. "I think the team has made great gains on the 1.5 mile track, specifically those like Kentucky. I think this race weekend gives us a great opportunity to continue on somewhat of a roll from our Richmond performance on ovals. We ought to be very competitive and I have high expectations. I will say with the rule changes it will be interesting to see how competitive everyone is."

"We shall see if some of the technical changes will have an influence on the racing," added Doornbos, who with Mike Conway are the only two ICS drivers who will race here for the first time. "We all have a fresh approach and we all need a good result! The target is to get more side by side racing with more downforce available for the teams to run and this should make things better for the racing show. All my experience in racing has been on road or street courses so it's obvious that I feel more comfortable on those types of tracks but I'm open to learning the tricks of oval racing and that will take time but it's a great challenge. I'm looking forward to working with the engineers to setup a good car as that would make life a little easier!"

Rahal is currently ranked 10th in ICS standings with 235 points, only 50 behind fifth place Danica Patrick with six races to go this season. Doornbos leads the Rookie of the Year battle with 197 points, three more than second place Raphael Matos, and is ranked 12th in series standings. Rahal hopes to carry over the momentum of earning his first podium finish on an oval at the last oval race in Richmond and close in on a top-five, season-ending finish.

"I believe we have everything it takes to finish on the podium here like we did at the last oval race in Richmond," said Rahal, who ran as high as 12th in the race here last year before he retired with gearbox failure. "We are becoming stronger as a team, and I see no reason why with some luck we can't be right there. It's our time to have some luck and it could all come together this weekend. I think it's easy to say we have come a long way, and I am excited to see what happens both in qualifying and the race in Kentucky."
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Postby mlittle » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:16 pm

QUALIFYING CANCELLED DUE TO "WEEPERS"; McDONALD'S DRIVER RAHAL TO START 10TH AND TEAMMATE DOORNBOS 12TH BASED ON ENTRANT POINTS

Graham Rahal, No. 02 McDonald's Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "It's definitely disappointing because I felt like we would have been able to qualify much higher than tenth given our pole in Kansas and progress on ovals. The McDonald's car should be pretty good here and I felt pretty confident so it's awfully frustrating to not even get a shot to go out there and see what we've got. It's disappointing."

Robert Doornbos, No. 06 Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "Looking forward to the race, I think this track suits us. In Kansas obviously we were very competitive and both cars started on the front row but unfortunately we had no chance to prove that today and it looks like we just have to show it tomorrow in the race."
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Postby mlittle » Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:44 pm

McDONALD'S DRIVER RAHAL FINISHED FIFTH AND TEAMMATE DOORNBOS FINISHED 19TH AFTER A PIT PROBLEM

Graham Rahal, No. 02 McDonald's Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "I just don't think that oval racing can get any more exciting than that. The McDonald's car was really good tonight. And if people aren't impressed with that race I don't know what will impress them. Chicago will be better because you can run three wide but the amount that we ran three wide in the last two stints of this race I think I passed more guys -- both ways, forward and back -- than I have in my whole oval racing career
so I think that says a lot. The cars were very comfortable to run side by side so I think they've done a very good job with the technical changes. People can say what they want about Push to Pass but I was on it the last 10 laps and I came from a second back of those guys to get past the Ganassi guys so I would have to say that it works somewhat. They were dicing it out up front but certainly the McDonald's car was very good tonight and when we were on the button we were catching up so it works."

* FAST FACTS: Was his second race here. He started 20th and ran as high as 12th in the opening laps before gearbox failure ended his race after 28/200 laps and he retired in 25th...Highest start this season is two poles (St. Pete/street & Kansas/oval) and highest finish is third place at Richmond...Is ranked 9th in series points with 265.

Robert Doornbos, No. 06 Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "I had a great start; I was on it. Then my teammate cut me off going into Turn 1 and I had to check up and a couple of cars passed me. I fought my way back to the front and the car was getting better and better throughout the race and then we had a pit problem with the right rear tire that managed to take 10 laps and that was it."

* FAST FACTS: Was his second race here. He started 20th and ran as high as 12th in the opening laps before gearbox failure ended his race after 28/200 laps and he retired in 25th...Highest start this season is second at his oval debut in Kansas and highest finish is 9th in Long Beach, Richmond, Watkins Glen and Edmonton... Is ranked 15th with 209 points and leads the Rookie of the Year standings by one over Matos (209-208).

* NHLR IN KENTUCKY: The team competed here for the first time in 2008. Graham Rahal started 20th and ran as high as 12th in the opening laps before gearbox failure ended his race after 28/200 laps and he retired in 25th. Justin Wilson started 19th and ran 16th before gearbox failure after 82/200 laps.
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Postby mlittle » Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:18 am

ORIOL SERVIA TO DRIVE FOR NEWMAN/HAAS/LANIGAN RACING AT THE HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (August 5, 2009) -- Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) announced today that Spaniard Oriol Servia, 35, will drive the team's No. 06 entry at this weekend's Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, August 7-9. Servia will take over the ride previously piloted by Robert Doornbos.

"I'm very pleased about this opportunity for many reasons," said Servia. "First, I am excited to be back in the cockpit where I should be and, second, it reunites me with the team that I had the most success with in my career. It's not ideal in terms of preparation time but the last time we did this with the same amount of notice, we ended up on the podium so I don't see why that can't happen again. I would like to thank Carl and Mike for thinking of me and I won't let them down."

Servia returns to the team after having served as the replacement driver for Bruno Junqueira, who was injured in the 2005 Indianapolis 500. He finished third in his debut with the team at the Milwaukee Mile and went on to finish on the podium a total of seven times in 11 races including his win at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal. He earned his first series pole in Australia and made a total of four front row starts en route to a career-best second place rank in the 2005 season-ending standings.

"Oriol did a fabulous job when he drove for the team in 2005 and I am confident he will do as well now," said Carl Haas, co-owner of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing with Michael Lanigan. "The combination of Oriol's talent, energy and personality and the team's excitement in having him back is as good as it gets."
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Postby mlittle » Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:19 am

McDONALD'S DRIVER RAHAL RETURNS TO HOME TRACK FOR THE HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE; ORIOL SERVIA RETURNS TO TEAM THAT BROUGHT HIM THE BEST RESULTS OF HIS CAREER

LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 6, 2009) --- Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing drivers Graham Rahal and Oriol Servia will both make memorable returns at this weekend's Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. It will be McDonald's driver Rahal's much-anticipated return to his home track while new teammate Oriol Servia will return to the team with which he earned the best results of his career.

"It feels great to run at Mid-Ohio, because it is so close to home," said Rahal, 20, who was born in Columbus and resides in New Albany, Ohio, one hour from the track. "You get tons of fans and tons of friends and family that can come out and that feels good for me in the race. You think of racing in Ohio, and the Rahal name is very prevalent. For me to be representing that these days, and to get the opportunity to go race there, nothing feels better for me, and I'm certainly looking forward to it. I think that we as a team ought to be very competitive. I think the race will be a good one for us, our car has been very competitive on the road courses all year and I don't see a reason why we can't put the McDonalds car in victory lane. If there was a race I'd love to win, other than the Indy 500, Mid-Ohio's the one."

Graham is proud to carry on the racing legacy his father Bobby started at this track, where he made 16 starts [1983-98] during the CART days and posted eight top-three finishes, including victories in 1985 and '86. Graham has many fond memories of long weekends here with his siblings and friends during that time. Those memories also include the occasional joyride on golf carts, much to the chagrin of security. After competing here a few times in lower formulas, he will return this weekend for his second major league event at this track and hopes to build on the knowledge gained here last year as well as during this season.

"Getting to do a home race is quite exciting," said Rahal who would like nothing more than to earn his third IndyCar Series pole here as well as his second series victory and first this season. "Growing up, I came to Mid-Ohio and the Cleveland street course, which were the two closest courses for me. When I would go to dad's races, I used to always take all my buddies. I have a lot of fun memories and this is only my second Indy car race here, but I've raced several other times at this place. It's a circuit that means a lot to my family and to me. To do well there would mean quite a lot because I have a lot of friends and family who are coming here for that event, so to do well in front of them shows that I'm no slouch. I feel that I've got all the potential to be one of the best there and I think that there's no reason that we can't make that happen."

The younger Rahal has had his own share of success at the 13-turn, 2.258-mile scenic road course. In 2005 he raced in the Formula Atlantic class and won the same national title that his father claimed 30 years earlier in the SCCA National Run-offs at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He hopes to add another title to his resume in a few years but his current goal is a top-five season-ending rank in the IndyCar Series standings. He started 14th here last year and was in eighth place when he spun and ultimately finished 16th. He qualified fifth at the previous road course in Watkins Glen but had to start 15th due to a technical issue. He is currently ranked ninth in series point standings with 235 and is hoping that a good result this weekend will help him close on fifth place Danica Patrick, who has 285.

"Mid-Ohio is just a great circuit," said Rahal. "There are a lot of elevation changes. It's very physical which makes it very exciting. It's just a lot of fun. It's tough to get the car right. You really have to push hard and it's not something that happens too easily without mistakes so it takes quite a lot of effort but at the same time it's a very good time. It's a very demanding circuit, so I'm looking forward to it."

In NHR/NHLR's previous 22 races here, they won three events (Michael Andretti 1990-1991, Mario Andretti 1984), six poles (Mansell 1993; Mi. Andretti 1992, 1991, 1990; Ma. Andretti 1986, 1984) and 11 podiums (2nd -- C. Fittipaldi 2002, Tracy 1995, Ma. Andretti 1990, 1988, 1983; 3rd -- C. Fittipaldi 2000, Mi. Andretti 1996, 1989). Last year , Justin Wilson qualified fourth here and led two separate times before contact while trying to lap a car limited his finish to 11th place. Rahal and his new teammate Oriol Servia will attempt to pick up where Wilson left off and bring the team their 108th win overall here.

Every driver who has competed for the team for at least a full season has achieved success and although Servia only drove for the team for a partial season in 2005 he was able to post his most successful year to date with seven podiums in 11 starts, including his first series win at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal and his first pole in Australia. This weekend's race will mark the sixth major event for him here and he is not only looking forward to his return to this challenging track, but also to his return to the team and the cockpit of a race car.

"Mid-Ohio is a very peculiar track with a lot of corners and elevation changes which demands that you find the sweet spot of the car setup," said Servia, a native of Catalonia, Spain. "You don't have to be very far off to be away from the sweet spot but when you get there the car improves a lot with little changes. I'm sure that Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and I can get there with some hard work."Of his previous five events at this track, Servia's best result came last year despite the fact that both he and KV Racing Technologies were in the midst of their transition season from Champ Car to the IndyCar Series. During 2008, he posted a season-best finish of fifth place, four times including here at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and is looking to build on that performance.

"Last year, I missed being in the Firestone Fast Six by a small amount but then in the race we did find the sweet spot in the car and were moving forward and building up speed," recalled Servia. "By the end of the race we had a car that could have been on the podium but it was a crazy race with the rain. In normal conditions I think we would have been much closer to the front. If we had the potential last year, we should be able to improve on that this year with better weather."

Like Rahal, Servia believes this track is one of the most physically demanding the series will race on all season and he feels he is physically prepared after having spent more time than usual on his fitness program. He can't wait to get back behind the wheel of an Indy car on a road/street course for the first time since the exhibition race on the streets of Surfer's Paradise, Australia in late October 2008.

"I had a lot of free time on my hands so I was cycling, running and kayaking a lot," said Servia. "I'm excited to get in the car again because in the end it's the driving that gives you the best fitness level for driving and I am happy it's happening this weekend. For me, Mid Ohio is one of the most physical places because of the number of corners there are all together. I was at the shop on Wednesday to work on the seat and get fitted for the car and Thursday I am traveling to Ohio and joining everyone for a barbeque at Graham's house. I'm looking forward to spending some time with everyone before the real work begins. On Friday I finally get to do what I really like doing which is getting in the race car and getting comfortable with the setup and going fast."

The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues Aug. 9 with the Honda Indy 200 presented by Westfield Insurance at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 1 p.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. A one-hour qualifying show will be telecast by VERSUS at 6 p.m. on Aug. 8. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The radio broadcast also will be carried on www.indycar.com.
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Postby mlittle » Sun Aug 09, 2009 1:14 pm

McDONALD'S DRIVER RAHAL FIFTH FASTEST IN OPENING PRACTICE FOR THE HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO; SERVIA 11TH IN HIS FIRST SESSION ON A ROAD/STREET COURSE SINCE OCTOBER

Graham Rahal, No. 02 McDonald's Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "It's always nice to come back to Mid-Ohio, the track is a lot of fun. The McDonald's car was getting progressively better there at the end. We were getting pretty close and I'm definitely happy with that. If we had a little bit newer tires like some of those guys had on there at the end we would have been looking pretty darn good. It's always nice to be here and it's nice not to have to travel far to get to the track. Its relaxing here and there is a lot of fan support and that's always exciting for me."

Oriol Servia, No. 06 Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "It was fun and challenging, honestly, to get back in a car on a road course. You want to get things done quickly and get used to the car and get a feel for the car and we did that. The team gave me great car that was fast right away. The car was faster than me but I will get there. I was happy with how everything felt and I just have to get used to it to be able to get the best out of it because this is a track where every little thing counts at the end."
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Postby mlittle » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:38 am

Honda
Indy 200 at Mid Ohio -- Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

McDONALD'S DRIVER RAHAL TO START FOURTH FOR THE HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO; SERVIA TO START 14TH

1st: Ryan Briscoe 1:06.6814 / 121.905 mph
4th: Graham Rahal 1:07.0640 / 121.210 mph
14th: Oriol Servia 1:08.4314 / 118.788 mph

Graham Rahal, No. 02 McDonald's Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "The McDonald's car felt pretty good all day. We were just trying to squeeze as much out of those red tires as we could. It took us a little while, that's for sure, to get to that point but I think at the end it felt pretty good. We didn't have new reds and some of the other guys did and we were just lacking that little bit. If we had a little more grip, I think we could have been awfully close to pole. That's what I would have loved, obviously, with this being my hometown but that's how it goes.

FAST FACTS: Will be his second major open wheel race here but he has competed in many other series at his "home track." In 2008, he started 14th 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). Tested a Grand Am car here in 2007...Highest start this season is two poles (St. Pete/street & Kansas/oval) and highest finish is third place at Richmond...Is ranked 9th in series points with 265.

Oriol Servia, No. 06 Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "We didn't manage to do the best job in terms of timing to get on track. We still could have been okay because the car felt really, really good especially on red tires but the yellow flag came out to end the session and I had only completed one (fast) lap. On the second lap I was already three-tenths (of a second) up in two corners then the full course yellow came out and we were seventh quick so we didn't make it to the next round. We got on the track behind some slower cars and then it took me a lap to get a gap and I had only completed one fast lap before the yellow came out. It was a little bit of bad timing and bad luck. Unfortunately we couldn't show what the car was capable of and I really felt comfortable finally. The car feels really good so it should be good for the race."

FAST FACTS: Will be his sixth major open wheel race here and only second of the 2009 IndyCar Series season (competed in Indy 500). He has competed in four CART/Champ Car races (2000-2003) and one IndyCar Series event (2008) here to date. Last year he started eighth and finished fifth for KV Racing. In his rookie CART season in 2000, he started 17th and finished 10th; started 26th and finished ninth in 2001; started 12th and finished 10th in 2002 and started eighth and finished 18th in 2003 after contact with NHR driver Junqueira...Last raced on a road/street course in the 2008 season-ending exhibition race in Australia on October 26...Competed for the team in 2005 as the replacement driver for the injured Bruno Junqueira and earned seven podiums in 11 events

NHLR AT MID-OHIO: In their previous 22 races here the team has earned THREE wins (Mi. Andretti 1991, 1990; Ma. Andretti 1984), SIX poles (Mansell 1993; Mi. Andretti 1992, 1991, 1990; Ma. Andretti 1986, 1984), and ELEVEN podium finishes (2nd- Fittipaldi 2002, Tracy 1995, Ma. Andretti 1990, 1988, 1983; 3rd- Fittipaldi 2000, Mi. Andretti 1996, 1989).

- Tune In... The race will be broadcast live on VERSUS Sunday, August 9 at 1 pm.
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Postby mlittle » Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:45 pm

McDONALD'S DRIVER RAHAL FINISHED EIGHTHAFTER AN OFF-TRACK EXCURSION IN THE HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO; SERVIA 11TH

Graham Rahal, No. 02 McDonald's Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "It's frustrating because the McDonald's team had a good weekend going and I just wanted to have just a normal race with no mistakes and if we did that I knew we would have a good result. I just couldn't do it. I hit the brakes and they instantly locked so before I even turned into the corner I was trying to figure out how to save it and just couldn't. The rear brakes just locked up and it happened instantly and I don't know exactly why it happened. It hadn't happened any other time going into that section but one lap out of 85 is enough though unfortunately. The whole time I thought I was being conservative and wasn't making any mistakes and that's what I was hoping for. I wanted a top-five finish here. I don't think we had a car that could win but I will say that we were close; the McDonald's car felt really good. It's a frustrating result for the McDonald's team because the car was quick all day. I got by Dario and that was good and then I thought I was going to have something for (third place) Briscoe but we didn't quite have enough for him. Later I had a shot at passing PT (Tracy) but I made the mistake of pushing Push to Pass too early so I couldn't use it down the back straight because you can't use it for 10 seconds after each time. I got up to fourth in the race but then made a mistake. It's a frustrating result."

Oriol Servia, No. 06 Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "In a way you hope for some luck or a crazy race when you start 14th but the truth is it was a pretty straightforward race. It was really hard to overtake and when you start 14th you have your work cut out for you. I hope they increase the Push to Pass to 25 horsepower from five. We got by two or three cars at the start and we passed people on restarts but then once everybody had their pace it was difficult to pass. I thought we had a car that was faster than whoever I had around me the whole race but it was just not enough to overtake. We were trying to save fuel a trying not to make mistake and see if other people would make them. It was my first race after a few months so I'm sure I will be sore tomorrow."
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:

mlittle
Forum Hall of Fame
Forum Hall of Fame
Posts: 11205
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: At the F1 Idiots Bar.............where else?
Contact:

Postby mlittle » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:15 am

McDONALD'S DRIVER RAHAL AND TEAMMATE SERVIA PLAN TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE FINAL ROAD RACE OF THE SEASON -- THE INDY GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA

SONOMA, Calif. (August 20, 2009) --- The final stretch of the 2009 IndyCar Series season begins this weekend at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway in the heart of California's wine country. Only four races remain this season -- one on a road course and three on ovals -- and McDonald's driver Graham Rahal and teammate Oriol Servia plan to make the most of the final road race of the season on the 12-turn, 2.303-mile picturesque Infineon Raceway road course.

"I am not going to lie; expectations are high for the race at Infineon Raceway," said Servia, who returned to the team at the previous race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after earning a second place season-ending rank for them in 2005 as a replacement for the injured Bruno Junqueira. "Mid-Ohio was a great racethat helped as a warm up for me after not being in the race car for a while. I feel that for this weekend we are much better prepared. It is hard to know exactly what to expect from us as we didn't come to test like other teams but there is no doubt we come much better prepared than the last race and I liked this track a lot last year so I wouldn't discount the possibility of having both team cars on the podium."

"The McDonald's team has been extremely competitive on all road courses this season, only missing the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying once," added Rahal, of his pole in St. Pete and total of five top-six qualifying positions in six road/street course events. "I think we can continue this, but having missed the test there last week where most of the other teams ran, put us behind but my hopes, as well as the teams, stay high. We need to make every minute count in an already shortened weekend. It's a tough circuit as is so that makes it difficult to be good there as well. We will have to push our hardest from the second practice begins to make sure we are competitive."

The IndyCar Series will hold its fifth annual event at Infineon Raceway this weekend and it will be the second time for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing to compete here. In 2008, team driver Justin Wilson missed his first Firestone Fast Six of the season and started seventh, ran as high as fourth and finished ninth in a race that saw multiple pit strategies which limited his finishing position. Rahal started 15th and finished eighth.

"Last year I think we had a pretty normal race," said Rahal. "We tried to stay out of trouble and the goal was to just make it to the end. We struggled throughout the weekend, so we knew if we just had a basic race with no issues then we would get a better result than our starting position. I think our experience will help us, but what will help us as well is having the experience of (race engineer) Martin (Pare) coming from another team and having a completely different opinion on setup."

Like Pare, Servia will add another opinion on car setup for the 12-turn, multi-elevation road course after having started sixth last year for KV Racing Technologies. He ran well but finished a disappointing 15th due to running what ultimately turned out to be the wrong pit strategy like Wilson and a large portion of the field. He's hoping to recreate one of his 2005 memories where he earned one win, one pole and a total of seven podium finishes in 14 races with the team.

"Last year at this race we probably had one of the best cars out there," said Servia. "Unfortunately the final result didn't show it as we got caught in the wrong strategy but we definitely had to pace to win. It is my second race with the team this season but it also happens to be the last road course so basically it becomes the last chance to win a non-oval race this year. Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing has always been the most competitive at this type of track so we don't want to miss the opportunity to shine in what it is a more familiar terrain. Back in 2005 when I last raced for the team you could hardly get us off the podium so we don't expect any different from this weekend."

Of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing's 107 wins and 109 poles, 80 wins and 90 poles have come on road and street courses. Rahal is ranked eighth in series point standings with 289 and is only 32 back from fifth place ranked Danica Patrick, who has 321. He has set his goals for the remaining road course race at Sonoma and ovals in Chicago, Japan and Homestead and hopes to close on a top-five, season-ending rank as well as carry on the team's tradition of earning at least one win per season, which has been accomplished all but one year prior to 2009.

"I would love to have another pole, and gain a win before the season is over," said Rahal, who started from pole twice this season and has a highest finish of third on the oval in Richmond. "We have been close, and I don't see why we can't get another podium, and hopefully be good enough to capture my second career win for the team."

Honda Performance Development has allotted 15 presses of the overtake assist button for 15 seconds each for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma this weekend. The overtake assist option, instituted for the race at Kentucky Speedway earlier this month, provides a 5-20 horsepower boost based on fuel setting and 200 RPMs (for a total of 10,500) for each time the system is engaged. A button is on each steering wheel. There is a 10-second recharge period between presses.

"I think the push to pass is a great option that in one way or another will end up becoming normal in all types of racing," said Servia of the feature. "It feels only natural, from the driver and spectator perspective. Many race arcade games have "nitro shots" or "super boost" to pass or to not be passed, and it becomes one more element for the drivers to play with and the fans to follow. It is my opinion though that we need a little more aggressive strategy with it than we have now. Honda does an outstanding job providing great powerful and reliable engines but I think that a bigger "kick" in the push to pass would just help them get more recognition, as they deserve."
The Sci-Fi Station Come by and visit when you get the chance. :)
The Wayward Tarheel I'm even in the blogosphere.... :shock:


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest