Rahal made one qualifying attempt today and it yielded a 26th place starting spot. After Rahal was in the field, he got in the No. 17 car at approx. 2:30 p.m. ET, made two outings and provided feedback on Jourdain’s car.
Their best lap of the day was 219.843 mph and they were unable to get up to the speed the 33rd qualifier had posted (223.176 mph average over 4 laps) and made the difficult decision to cease running at approx. 5:45 p.m. ET.
Bobby Rahal, team co-owner: “We are obviously very disappointed for Michel and the Office Depot team. Despite our best efforts we could not determine the source of major instability in the car. Graham confirmed Michel’s feelings about the car when he drove it.
Obviously we are quite upset about it. Until we do a complete investigation of the car, it’s pointless to guess what it might be. This chassis only has one race on it which was Long Beach with Mike Conway.”
Graham Rahal, No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The Midas / Big O Tires boys have been working extremely hard and I think we have made the car significantly better. Yesterday I think the car handled a little bit better than it did on the qualifying run I made today but it doesn’t matter, we’re in and that the biggest thing.
That was a tough four laps. We are moving on and focusing on next Sunday. We worked on the race car this afternoon, and that was what we needed to do today. I have been in this spot before in 2011 and it was actually my best finish ever here so I kind of knew this would be the way it was.
We thought we would go quicker yesterday. We fought some uphill battles and unfortunately we could qualify. We went out this morning and right away the car was back up in the 226’s so it knew the car had plenty of speed in it. We just needed to get four laps in and move on.
When the temperatures were as high as they were today, the car was sliding around significantly more. I could feel that and the wind gusts. It was pretty much on edge a couple of times but you just hold your breath, get your four laps done and get in the show.”
James Jack, No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We had a very busy day; we got a lot done with the race setup. We did a lot of laps – 118 – so it was a great day for the Acorn Stairlifts car. The car was good, very good. I am very confident for the race. We should be in good shape for next weekend.”
Michel Jourdain Jr., No. 17 Office Depot Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "It's so hard because the guys tried so hard but we struggled a lot and some days it was feeling a little better but it was just never really there. This morning we tried James Jakes’ set up and it was impossible to drive and then we tried Graham’s set up but it felt exactly the same and he couldn't drive it.
It felt exactly the same. We changed whatever we had time to but it just felt the same and we couldn't drive it. To trim like we needed to do to put it in the race would have put it in the wall."
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing