RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING TREKS TO MICHIGAN'S HIGH BANKS FOR INDYCAR BATTLE
HILLIARD, Ohio - In recent years, nearly every team from Columbus that makes a trip to Michigan for any sort of sporting endeavor returns with a fresh victory whether it be a visit to Ann Arbor, East Lansing or Detroit.
Now the Hilliard-based Rahal Letterman Racing team will try and follow the lead of the Ohio State University squads and take another win out of That State Up North with this weekend's IndyCar Series visit to the Michigan International Speedway.
The duo of Scott Sharp (#8 Patron Dallara/Honda/Firestone) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) will lead the RLR charge to the demanding two-mile MIS oval this weekend as the IndyCar season hits the homestretch. The Michigan Indy 400 is the 13th event of the 17-race schedule, meaning that time is running short on those that have designs on climbing the championship ladder. Sharp is eighth in the standings with five races left to run, and could climb even higher this weekend if his background on the big ovals is any indication. The former Trans-Am champ has scored top-10 finishes in seven of his last eight IndyCar starts on oval tracks of two miles or more in length. In his 20 career IndyCar starts on the big tracks (Indianapolis, Michigan, Fontana), Sharp has 13 top-10 finishes and 12 top-10 starts--highlighted by a polewinning run at Indy in 2002.
"I always remember sitting on the couch during the summer with my father and the one, big, mid-summer race was the Michigan Indycar race," Sharp said. "Its always been high speed, big drafting, lots of action.....I'm excited to get back to MIS with our Patron RLR Team! I think we've taken large steps forward on the bigger tracks and are ready to contend for the win!"
Meanwhile, Hunter-Reay has a carrot of his own to chase despite making his IndyCar debut just one race ago. His seventh-place debut thrust him in the middle of the hunt for the Bombardier Learjet Rookie-of-the-Year award. He is only the third rookie to compete in Indy Cars this year and is looking to cut into part-time pilot Milka Duno's 43-point advantage in the rookie standings.
"I just can't wait to get back in the Ethanol car at Michigan," remarked Hunter-Reay. "Coming off a great first race together we have a solid platform to build on moving forward. I have a great teammate in Scott Sharp. I can learn a lot from him as he really knows the ins and outs of these cars and tracks. Jumping from a challenging road course to the high banks at Michigan is what makes this series so unique, you really have to be on your toes to get the most out of every weekend. I can't wait to get back to work with the Ethanol team. We only have three days on track together, but we already have a chemistry that we can use to our advantage. Just like Mid-Ohio we look to steadily progress through each session and get a good result."