Leeds, Ala – The last two years, Graham Rahal has been so close to winning the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. In fact, he’s been the second driver to take the checkered flag in each of the last two years. In 2015, Rahal charged through the field, led 17 laps and was off pit strategy just barely missing out on winning. He’d finish second.
Then last year, he had a thrilling late race battle with Simon Pagenaud for the win, as the Ohio native come up just short when contact between the two drivers caused damage to Rahal’s No. 15 Honda. He’d peddle around for a second straight runner-up finish at the Barber Motorsports Park.
Now, Rahal returns to Barber this weekend hoping to move up one more spot on the podium and take the win in the third Verizon IndyCar Series race of the 2017 season.
Unfortunately, on a track where track position is key, Rahal will have to come from a long way to get to the front.
Rahal, struggled in qualifying and will start last in the 21 car field on Sunday.
Also, in practice on Friday, Rahal was seventh quickest in the opening session and 15th in the second one. In the session this morning, he was ninth overall.
So, the lack of speed in qualifying was puzzling to him.
So far, this year hasn’t gone to Rahal’s liking either. He finished 17th in the season opener at St. Pete on March 12, then came home 10th in the last race on the streets of Long Beach. At St. Pete, Rahal was frustrated with his speed all weekend and was unfortunately caught up in a Lap 1 incident that damaged his car and made his day a long one.
Now though, we return to an all-terrain road course, which are tracks that suit Rahal’s driving style.
But, with his experience and how close he was at Barber the last two years, Rahal is hoping he can come from the back and contend on Sunday.