St. Petersburg, Fla – Ahead of Sunday’s Verizon IndyCar Series season opener at St. Pete, Graham Rahal said that it would be imperative that they start out of the gates strong this weekend and nab a great finish. He cited that a bad finish would make it tough to rebound to win a season championship.
That’s why he’s so frustrated leaving the 1.8-mile street circuit on Friday because after two practice sessions today, they’re still searching for speed in his No. 15 Honda.
Rahal, came out of the gates strong in turning the sixth fastest lap in the first 45-minute session on Friday morning, but in the afternoon session, he was only 17th on the speed charts. The lack of speed has him concerned heading into qualifying on Saturday.
“It was a frustrating day,” Rahal said after practice. “We are trying to get through a lot and obviously struggling to find our way here a little bit. There is a lot of work to be done. We have to find some pace for sure for qualifying otherwise we’re going to have to create some magic in the race. We will work hard to pick up some pace and move the Steak ‘n Shake car further up the time sheets.”
With being a street course, starting position is pivotal to a good run here. If you don’t make it out of the opening round of qualifying, you’re facing an uphill battle in the race. That’s what Rahal was referring to when he said they’d have to “create some magic” on Sunday.
Right now, they’re frustrated, but if they can find speed in practice tomorrow morning, then it would raise his confidence for qualifying later on in the day.