Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing endured a tough day at the office on the opening day of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on Sunday.
Starting from 6th place on the grid, Graham Rahal in the No.15 Steak N’Shake Honda was left disappointed as he ended the race in 16th place after contact with Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz resulted in an eight car pile up.
Speaking following the race, Rahal commented by saying:
It was an interesting day overall. We struggled a little bit at the start but we started to get the Steak ‘n Shake car a little bit better mid race but when Munoz punted us there was nothing we could do. The race was over for us so we just tried to make the most of it and we did alright and passed four or so cars at the end but it’s frustrating because we deserved better results. The whole team put a lot of work in and it’s a shame to have it go the way it did. If I look at our day as a whole, I think we had one of the fastest race cars but when you get caught up in someone else’s mistake there is just not much you can do.
Spencer Pigot driving in his very first Verizon IndyCar Series event in the No.16 RLL Andersen Interiors Contracting started the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg from 21st place on the grid and ended the event in 14th place ahead of his team mate and Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti.
Speaking about his Verizon IndyCar Series debut, Pigot commented by saying:
It was an eventful race. I had a little bit of everything. There were some good passes; we had a good pace which is exciting. We’ve been working on the car and some things that I needed to work on over the weekend and I think they all came together in the race and I’m proud of that. There were a couple of rookie mistakes as well that hurt us and also getting caught up in a few other incidents. I’m happy to get the first one out of the way and happy with our pace. I definitely learned a lot and can’t wait to get another shot. (On the first pit stop:) Something happened with the fuel hose but the guys had awesome stops all day after that. They were perfect and I think we definitely picked up some spots when we came in with everyone. I had a great first weekend with the team. (On the mid-race contact:) I was looking inside of Filippi and I wasn’t really going to pass him because I wasn’t quite far enough alongside him but then Kanaan came flying down the inside and clobbered me and clobbered Filippi. Unfortunately that broke our front wing again which kind of screwed us up for the second half of the race.