Graham Rahal: Servia and Rahal qualified 12th and 23rd respectively in Long Beach

From being second here last year and being fast, the where we are now is a mystery.

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 National Guard Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a struggle today. We tried to make more changes to get the balance in the car better and then tried some bigger ones for qualifying. We are just struggling with overall grip. Oriol had a big grip gain on alternate tires and I didn’t feel it. We have a lot of work to do. From being second here last year and being fast, the where we are now is a mystery. Oriol did a great job. We will look at what they have done to their car and try to improve ours. Tomorrow we can try alternate strategy, pit early and see how far forward we can go.”

FAST FACTS: Will be his EIGHTH Champ or Indy car race here, ninth overall, and second for his father’s team. In 2013, he finished second after starting 11th. In 2012, he qualified 15th for SCCGR, started 8th due to penalties to Chevy-powered teams, ran as high as fourth but finished 24th due to contact with Marco Andretti. In 2011, he qualified 16th for SCCGR and finished 13th. In 2010 he started and finished 22nd for Sarah Fisher Racing after contact. In 2009, he started seventh and finished 12th for NHLR. In 2008 he started ninth and had a podium in sight when he was alongside third place but contact during this pass led to a 13th place finish. Started fifth in 2007 but the pit strategy of others and slow fuel flow related to teething problems for the all-new Panoz Champ Car on two stops limited his finish to eighth place. In the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Series race here he started seventh and finished fifth.

ORIOL SERVIA, No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Not that you should be happy starting 12th but considering where we were before qualifying and the gains I think we can still make on the car, I’m happy. With as competitive as the field is, going from one round to the second round is a very big achievement.

Oriol Servia, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Oriol Servia, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Photo by: David Yowe

I didn’t make the second round and a couple of tenths (of a second) would have made it. It’s just that competitive. Even if we are still unhappy with the car, we need to keep our heads down and work a little more on the details and hopefully be a little better than the others in the race. I find the tire this year is a little more difficult to figure out. Maybe it has a little less grip than last year. I don’t think anyone is completely happy so we just need to be a little less unhappy than the others and keep improving. I’m really happy. I think I did a good job. It always feels good when you can put a good lap together.”

FAST FACTS: Will be his 13th race here and first with RLL at this track. His best finish is second in 2007 with Forsythe and best start is fourth in 2011 with Newman/Haas Racing… In 12 events, he has earned one podium (2nd in 2007), one top-five and five top-10 finishes. He retired with mechanical failure four times and once after contact… Servia, 39, a native of Pals, Spain, has made 191 starts in CART, Champ Car and the IndyCar Series since his rookie season in 2000. His Indy car highlights include one win (Montreal 2005) and one pole (Surfers Paradise, Australia 2005) as well as a total of 19 top-three, 51 top-five and 100 top-10 finishes. He competed for the team in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 and was in ninth place halfway through the race when a mechanical failure led to his retirement in 26th place.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

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About this article
Series INDYCAR
Article type Qualifying report
Tags graham rahal, indycar, long beach, oriol servia