RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT GATEWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK
The 2017 Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline will mark the return of open wheel racing to the track for the first time since 2003 and will be the sixth event for the team here. The 1.25-mile oval hosted CART-sanctioned races from 1997-2000 and IRL races from 2001-2003. The team competed in all four CART races from 1997-2000 and one of the three IRL races (2003). The best starting position for the team of second place came in 2003 by Kenny Brack and the best finish of fifth place was in 1999 by Max Papis. Prior to 2017, the team prepared a total of 9 Indy car entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1997-1998), Bryan Herta (1997-1999), Max Papis (1999-2000), and Kenny Brack (2000, 2003). The No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda entry for Graham Rahal will bring that total to 10 in 2017.
GRAHAM ON HIS EXPECTATION OF THE RACE BEING THE BEST SHORT OVAL SHOW OF THE SEASON
“The repaving was good. The track is extremely grippy on the racing line. If you get off line, it’s a bit slippery but it’s grippy on line and it’s also very smooth. Curtis (Francois) and his team did a phenomenal job. Everybody is going to go there and have a great time. We will put on a great show. I think it’s going to be the best short oval show of the year because the straightaway is so long. In essence, Turns 3 and 4 are fairly easy so it makes for a very, very long straightaway. Turns 1 and 2 though are a lot like Pocono with very heavy loads and things happen in the blink of an eye so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. IndyCar will put on a good show for sure.”
GRAHAM ON THE SHORT OVAL RACING PACKAGE
“St. Louis is going to be a difficult race for a lot of people. We had a decent test there after the repaving so I’m looking forward to going back for the race. It’s a challenging place and we’re going to have to do the best that we can to adapt to it. To me the short ovals have kind of been a weakness of our aero kit the last couple of years so I hope that we can go there and find more speed since our test there. We’ll see how it all plays out and put our best foot forward. Hopefully we can gain some points and have Lady Luck on our side and have a good weekend.”
NEW COLORS FOR THE NO. 15 CAR
For the Bommarito 500, Fifth Third Bank will be the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry. It is their second Indy car event as primary sponsor after holding the role for Oriol Servia’s No. 16 entry for the Duals in Detroit. Fifth Third Bank is in its second year as an associate sponsor for the team and extended their partnership for three more years in May 2017.
“Thanks to Fifth Third for their increased involvement in our program. I’m excited to race in their colors and put on a good show. They have been a great supporter of ours for a few years now but to see them step up the way that they have means a lot to our program. We’re going to go out there and try to make them proud.”
RAHAL AND THE POINT STANDINGS
The three remaining races in 2017 will take place on one oval and two road courses, including the double-points race at Sonoma Raceway. Rahal is sixth in series point standings with a total of 418. He is 76 points behind leader Josef Newgarden (494), 58 behind second place Scott Dixon (476), 54 behind third place Helio Castroneves (472), 50 behind fourth place Simon Pagenaud (468) and 34 behind fifth place Will Power (452).