GRAHAM'S RETURN TO THE TEAM & QUICK TRIM SPONSORSHIP Graham Rahal joined Newman/Haas Racing in 2007 at the age of 18 and became the youngest driver to join the team and first true rookie. Previous drivers that were officially classified as...
GRAHAM'S RETURN TO THE TEAM & QUICK TRIM SPONSORSHIP
Graham Rahal joined Newman/Haas Racing in 2007 at the age of 18 and became the youngest driver to join the team and first true rookie. Previous drivers that were officially classified as rookies include Nigel Mansell, who joined the team as the reigning 1992 Formula One World Champion and Sebastien Bourdais, who joined the team as the reigning 2002 Formula 3000 champion. Rahal went on to become the youngest podium finisher in CART/Champ Car history with second place in Houston in 2007. In 2008, he became the youngest race winner in Indy car history in his IndyCar Series debut in St. Petersburg and went on to become the youngest pole sitter in series history the following year in St. Petersburg in his third season with the team. He is making his first start for the team since the 2009 season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on October 10, 2009 and will drive the No. 02 Quick Trim entry in five of his six races with the team.
"It's nice to be back with Newman/Haas Racing, a group that I have been with for so long and have a lot of fond memories with, and it's also great to be reunited with Quick Trim who made this possible," said Rahal. "Quick Trim really enjoyed their experience in May and we had a great run. We have been talking about this for a long time and I'm happy we were able to extend the deal. I'm looking forward to getting back in the car and back in the series. To know what I am going to be doing for the rest of the season feels so good. The plan is to go out there and pick up where we left off."
24TH TORONTO EVENT FOR TEAM
The 2010 Honda Indy Toronto will mark the 24th Toronto event for Newman/Haas Racing (NHR) who competed here from 1986 to 2007 in CART/Champ Car events and returned with the IndyCar Series in 2009. The team has won SEVEN races at this track (Bourdais 2004; da Matta 2002; Michael Andretti 2000, 1995, 1992, 1991, 1989) and FIVE poles (Bourdais 2004, 2005, 2007; da Matta 2002; Mi. Andretti 1991) as well as a total of 16 podium finishes (2nd -- Servia 2005, Mi. Andretti 1998, Ma. Andretti 1991, Mi. Andretti 1990; 3rd -- Bourdais 2006, Junqueira 2003, Fittipaldi 2002 & 1999, Ma. Andretti 1986).
GRAHAM RECALLS PODIUM POSSIBILITY IN 2009 EVENT
Graham Rahal's third place start here last year had the team hoping for a possible win or podium finish. Contact on the opening lap by second place starter Will Power, who squeezed him to the wall on the opening lap before T1, put a damper on those hopes. A forced stop to replace his front wing dropped him to the back but he charged through the field into seventh place. He held his position behind Patrick but flat-spotted his tires which led to losing three positions before his next stop. He tried to pass the lapped car of Ed Carpenter on the inside on a right-handed turn but the contact ended his race in 20th place after 57/85 laps. Robert Doornbos started seventh and moved to third on L1 but an electrical failure in the gear shift system forced him to retire in 23rd place after 26 laps.
"Toronto was a good run for us last year but unfortunately Will hit us right at the start," recalled Rahal. "We qualified third and to be hit at the start really killed us to be honest. Other than that we a strong run; the car was pretty good. I'm looking forward to going back to Toronto because I think Newman/Haas has only made the car better since then. I'm looking forward to getting back in the car. I imagine its going to take me a little bit of time because I haven't been in a road course since Long Beach in April. It's been a while but I'm looking forward to it."
GRAHAM - IN TORONTO
The 2010 event will be his FOURTH here. He started from pole in the 2006 Atlantic race but was hit by Raphael Matos on the first lap. After his damaged suspension was repaired, he returned to the track a few laps down and set the fastest race lap but later retired in 15th place. Started 15th in the 2007 Champ Car race as a rookie for NHR but an evasive move to avoid a pile up on Lap 1 led to him hitting the wall and a subsequent stop for a new front wing. He had to pit again for another front wing later in the race after running as high as second but retired in 11th place after he made contact for the third time due to a broken steering rack. Last year, he started third but was hit by second place starter Will Power, who squeezed him to the wall on the opening lap before T1. (Details above.) He ultimately retired after contact ended his race in 20th place after 57/85 laps.
HIDEKI ON HIS 2009 TORONTO EXPERIENCE & EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS WEEKEND
In his first event in Toronto in 2009, Hideki started 22nd and finished 12th with Andretti Green Racing. One of his three teammates at the time, Tony Kanaan, who has excelled at road and street courses, started 20th and finished 17th. "Last year I struggled big time in Toronto," said Mutoh, who driver the No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic entry. "It was the worst qualifying for me of the season. It was a very tough weekend. I just couldn't find the grip so I couldn't push at all and was kind of just cruising. It was a difficult weekend last year for my team at the time, Andretti Green Racing. Newman/Haas Racing has done very well in Toronto and has won seven times so the expectation is for us to run well there this year. Graham was fast in Toronto last year and the team has learned some new things as well since then so I think we will be better."
WHY HIDEKI LIKES STREET COURSES AND ESPECIALLY THE ONE IN TORONTO
"Street courses are my favorite type of track because they are more challenging than a normal road course. It's always fun to drive in a downtown area. You can't enjoy the view while you are driving the car but when you get out of the car, you are right in the middle of town. It's good to experience part of the city you are racing in because you are in the middle of the city. That's the best part of street racing."
HIDEKI ON THE CHALLENGES OF TORONTO
"The Toronto street course is very bumpy, especially the back straight. You can't run in the center of it; sometimes you need to go right or left to try to find the smoothest spots. It's very difficult to run on the track because of the asphalt and concrete surface changes but this is what makes racing in Toronto so challenging. I met with the team earlier this week and we went over the data the team has gotten from their 23 races there. The track is very low grip when you hit the concrete patches. I think, driving-wise, you need to find some trick and I bet the team has something special set-up wise to be able to run well there."
NHR ON ROAD/STREET COURSES
Since being formed by Carl Haas and Paul Newman in the fall of 1982, the team has earned a total of 107 wins and 109 pole positions. x0 of their 107 wins and 90 of their 109 poles came on road and street courses. The team's previous win on a road/street course came at Detroit when Justin Wilson drove to victory in Round 16 of 17. Their previous pole on a road/street course came on 4-4-09 when Graham Rahal became the youngest pole winner in series history in St. Pete. Nine of the 17 races on the 2010 schedule are on road/street courses.