100th Indianapolis 500 team preview: RLL Racing

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MotorSportsTalk looks through the Verizon IndyCar Series grid ahead of the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Next up is Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

By comparison to other higher-financed teams, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing continues with a smaller group and has carried over its 2015 success into the opening rounds of 2016. The team that won Indy in 2004 with Buddy Rice and whose co-owner, Bobby Rahal, celebrates 30 years since his 1986 race win, is arguably Honda’s strongest bullet heading into May.

ENTRIES

Graham Rahal, No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Rahal Letterman Lanigan with Theodore Racing Honda
Spencer Pigot-R, No. 16 RLL/Mi-Jack/Manitowoc Honda

2016 SEASON SO FAR

Rahal would argue his strongest drives came in St. Petersburg and Long Beach, while his best results occurred at Phoenix and Barber. He’s riding the wave of momentum from last year and arguably more focused than ever on bucking the trend that Honda can’t contend this year the ‘500. Pigot debuted at St. Petersburg in the team’s second car. 

INDY OUTLOOK

Whereas Rahal’s had Oriol Servia as his second teammate the last two years, now in Pigot, he’s got a ‘500 rookie to bounce ideas off of. Still, Rahal speaks highly of the Floridian’s feedback and maturity beyond his years.

The team’s penchant for using strategy at Indy to its advantage is well known and Rahal was one of only two Hondas last year (Marco Andretti) who made inroads on the Chevy barrage. He’ll seek to do likewise this year and Pigot is a strong contender for race rookie-of-the-year honors, either on pace or with a strategic gamble. 

RECENT RESULTS

  • 2015: 5. 15-Rahal (17), 29. 32-Servia (13)
  • 2014: 11. 16-Servia (18), 33. 15-Rahal (20)
  • 2013: 20. 16-Jakes (20), 25. 15-Rahal (26), NQ. 17-Jourdain
  • 2012: 17. 15-Sato (19), 19. 30-Jourdain (22)