INDIANAPOLIS – Its no secret, the start to the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season hasn’t gone the way that Graham Rahal had hoped for. The second generation driver was involved in a first lap incident in the season opener at St. Pete and limped home 17th. At Long Beach and Barber, they didn’t really have the car to contend and finished 10th and 13th respectively. Then, in the last race at Phoenix, Rahal was a by product of bad luck and was involved in a first lap crash that left him with a 21st place effort.
But, with his strong runs here at Indy the last two years, he’s eager to get to Saturday’s IndyCar Grand Prix (3:30 p.m. ET/ABC/INDYCAR Radio Network).
Last year, Rahal qualified his No. 15 third, his best result in a while on a road course, but he was later penalized for his car being underweight. He’d start 24th. He showed us all his car had speed still, charging from the back to the front and ended up fourth. He did this while being under the weather too.
Race winner Simon Pagenaud said that if Rahal started further up, he would have been a threat for the win.
In 2015, Rahal was strong, but he had a undermatched Honda aerokit. Despite that, he’d still finish second. Race winner Will Power said that if Rahal had a Chevy, he would have won.
Now, he’s back with a Honda that has shown more power this season, and has a car that was fast in practice.
Unfortunately, the Ohio native qualified his No. 15 Honda 20th. He said they struggled with the grip and speed in qualifying, and knows where they’re losing.
In practice, Rahal was sixth in the opening of the two sessions from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, then backed that up with being 11th in session No. 2. It’s just qualifying where they were off.
Now, Rahal is hoping to come from the back here to the front for the third straight year.