Graham Rahal dropped from 12th to 21st after running out of fuel on the final lap of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama; James Jakes finished 23rd after problems.
Graham Rahal started 21st in the 90-lap race but made contact with Servia on the opening lap when the field checked up. He had to pit for a new front wing and returned to the track in 25th place.
James Jakes started 11th and was in 12th place when he reported a problem with the rear of the car early in the race. After stops on Laps 10 and 11 it was determined that the camber shims had fallen out of the left rear upright.
Once that was fixed, he returned to the track two laps down in 25th place. He soldiered on and ran the fastest lap of the race near the end of the event and finished 23rd.
Graham Rahal, No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I got into (Oriol) Servia at the start; everyone just checked up and I had no where to go. I was going really slow but he hit the brakes and I feel bad. There was no way I could get it stopped and just punted him.
Then I felt like we got into a rhythm and we started to pass some cars. The car kind of struggled in traffic a bit but I still thought we were going to have the pace to move forward. On old tires the car became a big handful behind guys and unfortunately I just didn’t have the pace to drive around them.
On the last lap we ran out of fuel. I was hitting the fuel number that I was being told but obviously the fuel number was off. Unfortunately all of that hard work was for nothing.
I ran out of fuel on the back straight and coasted across the finish line but lost a lot of positions. I worked hard today and the Midas / Big O Tires team did a good job so I am disappointed we didn’t get the finish we thought we would.”
James Jakes, No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The Acorn Stairlifts team had good pace all weekend and I think that if we hadn’t had a problem in the race, we would have finished in the top six. We had a great strategy; we worked well in the warm-up on a setup to preserve the tires and had just a bit of bad fortune in the race but I know the guys will work hard and be ready for Long Beach. On a positive note, we set the fastest lap of the race.”
Bobby Rahal, team co-owner: “It was a tough day for us for both cars. We ran Graham out of fuel. We were trying to get it right there with just enough to make it to the end and knew it was going to be tight. We got close but not close enough unfortunately; mainly because we had to stop early for the tires because we were going backwards and that put us in a real box.
We had to backpedal from there to try and make it and unfortunately we couldn’t. He was getting the fuel numbers that I asked him to get. I take responsibility for that one. James had some issues which we need to address.
It’s the second race in a row that we have had refueling probe issues with the redhead. And we have to qualify higher up. It’s difficult to feature when you start in the back of the field. We have a lot of work to do before the next race.”
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing