Long Beach, California, 17th April, 2016
Following a 31-year absence, Teddy Yip’s Theodore Racing enjoyed its first race back in IndyCar, marking the start of its partnership with Rahal Letterman Racing.
Displaying top-five pace throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions, Graham Rahal qualified his #15 car in 17th place after hitting the wall late in the second practice session. Graham showed his true speed again during Sunday morning’s practice by topping the times and with renewed confidence in the car the team opted for an alternative strategy in order to get the jump on the midfield runners.
The strategy worked well at the start of the race and Graham was able to calve his way up to ninth position, running as the third-highest Honda driver. The safety-car free race hurt the team’s strategy badly and Graham was forced to enter fuel-saving mode dropping from ninth to fifteenth in the final 10 laps, coasting across the finish line on fumes.
Despite the final finishing position Graham’s speed and ability is unquestionable and Theodore Racing enjoyed the first weekend of it’s partnership with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Theodore Racing Team Principal, Teddy Yip “This weekend has been a fantastic way to bring the Theodore Racing name back to North America. My Dad loved Long Beach and was a big supporter of the inaugural Grand Prix which made this the perfect race for our return. All the guys at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing have been an absolute pleasure to work with and I’m very impressed by their professionalism.
Unfortunatley the race did not go quite the way we had hoped but the team had to take a risk on the strategy to maximise the finishing position and Graham drove a faultless race. All in all this has been a brilliant weekend and I hope this will be the start of something even bigger.”
#15 Graham Rahal “I think we just made some mistakes today overall and put ourselves in a bit of a bind. With our strategy, we really needed a yellow but it’s what we needed to do to try to make up some ground after starting 17th and we did there for a while. We coasted across the finish line with no fuel and barely made it. It kind of stunk for me today because I had a great car, I just couldn’t do anything. As a series we need to look at the way that we generate the downforce on these cars. We need to get rid of so much top side downforce, put the under wings back on. We all have the parts so it’s a no-expense addition that will allow everybody to follow closer and make the racing better. And the races need to be longer. That race flew by and it shouldn’t be borderline two stops, make it three and if you make it three the strategy calls would be a lot more fun and guys will be driving hard all the time. There will be more action for the fans. I’m proud of the PennGrade boys because they worked hard this weekend. I put them in a hole yesterday. And once again the stops were great.”