There were several candidates last night for the mythical “hard luck award” at Texas Motor Speedway, but we’re gonna give it to Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s James Jakes, who’s been quietly impressive in recent races.
The King of the Jakesy Nation turned in his first IZOD IndyCar Series podium finish (second place) last weekend in the second Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit race, and last night in the Firestone 550 at TMS, the Englishman was running well in the Top 5 as the race entered its final stages. But as it turned out, he wound up needing to do one more stop in order to make it to the finish on fuel and was forced to pit his No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Honda from fourth position with 15 laps to go.
The extra stop knocked Jakes out of the Top 10, and he was forced to settle for a 12th place result at the checkers.
“We had a great car, it’s been pretty good all weekend and we made some great changes,” said Jakes. “We were definitely one of the top five quickest cars so it’s just a shame we didn’t finish there. We’ll bounce back next week. You win and lose as a team and we’ll just make sure we put it right next weekend.”
His RLL teammate, Graham Rahal, also encountered trouble but of a much more extended variety. Handling problems on his No. 15 Midas + Big O Tires Honda seemed to hound him through the night, and the second-generation driver finished 21st as a result.
After the race on Twitter, he dubbed the performance as “the ugliest night [he’s] ever had behind the wheel.”
“There are a lot of tracks we’ve gone to that I can compete at and right now I can’t, which is frustrating,” he said in a team statement. “For the amount of effort that we are putting in, there is no reason this should be the case.”