Graham Rahal, No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The car was really, really loose. Yesterday’s qualifying was harder to tell because it was wet and drying and today it was just dry. Without a doubt the car was extremely loose.
Unfortunately we put ourselves in a hole and we’re just going to have to climb out of it. Obviously James is extremely happy with his car; he likes a car that is a lot more loose than I do. Its challenging with the rear of the car being as loose as it is but we will figure it out.”
He qualified seventh with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing in 2012 but had a 10-grid penalty for an unapproved engine change and started 17. He was eighth when he made his final stop on Lap 45/60 but during the red flag stop to repair the track, a clutch problem surfaced and he was unable to continue and retired in 19th place. In 2008 he drove for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and progressed to the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying for the first time in his series career and qualified sixth.
The team chose the same pit strategy as then race leader Dixon which almost worked but a late race fourth caution botched the plan and he had to stop for a splash of fuel with three laps to go and dropped to 13th… His best finish this season is second place in Long Beach and best start is 11th also in Long Beach… Is ranked 16th in series standings with 82 points.
James Jakes, No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It (qualifying) was short. It's a shame we didn't get a few more laps, actually. I think we would have had a shot at pole if our session hadn't been cut short. But yeah, the guys worked really hard and overall it was pretty good for the Acorn Stairlifts StemCyte car.
It will be a long afternoon today with the race and another one tomorrow but we’re in great shape. It's funny yesterday after qualifying the balance wasn't great so we made some adjustments to that and had a game plan this morning and it worked out well for us.
But, like I said it's a shame we got cut short because actually if you look to the laps we only did three flat laps and if you look at the other groups three flat laps we were ahead by a half a second still. In a way it's good but it's still a little disappointing to miss out on pole.
Going to have to find which hotel [Mike] Conway is staying so I can high jack his room tonight. He keeps on spoiling the party. But no, congratulations to those guys they've been strong all weekend, as well. Obviously with the weather looking uncertain today and tomorrow it's nice to start up front."
[On being a pleasant surprise] "I think you just to be patient right now in the series. This series is that competitive that if you are off your game by a tenth you fall massively backwards. There are 25 guys who can win a race, and I don't think there is any other championship in the world right now where you can say that. It really is unique.
IndyCar is a great product right now, and the depth of the drivers is fantastic. Everyone is pushing so hard and like I said if you are off your game you are going to go backwards so you really have to make sure that you are ticking all the boxes going into the weekend and if it doesn't go your way just stay patient and if you're doing everything you can do and it will come.
But like I said yesterday, a big thank you to all the Penske organization. The track is really fun to drive. It flows well. It's nice to go down to Turn 3, and hang a right. And then the next two corners, Turn 4 and Turn 5, are fun. And it's a real drivers track, you know. You really have to be on your game."
FAST FACTS: Will be his second race here. Yesterday he earned his best series qualifying position of fourth for Duel 1 that will take the Green Flag today at 3:50 p.m. ET and bettered that mark today with a front row start of second place. He set the fastest lap time in Group 1 but the session ended 1.5 minutes early due to a red flag for Tagliani. Group 2 ran the full session and Conway was able to set a lap time a mere 0.0727 quicker.
He matched the team’s best start here by Bobby Rahal who qualified second in 1992 and went on to win the event… He qualified 25th at Belle Isle last year with Dale Coyne Racing and had gained seven spots by Lap 14 before a problem surfaced and he retired in 23rd after mechanical failure...
It is his third season in the IndyCar Series and first with RLL. In 31 Indy car starts with Dale Coyne Racing from 2011-2012, his best finish was eighth at Toronto and series-best start of eighth was at Motegi… His best start to date this season is 4th at Detroit and best finish is 12th at Long Beach although he had the potential to finish higher in each race… Is ranked 22nd in series standings with 68 points.