INDIANAPOLIS – Graham Rahal hopes history repeats itself. No, the history is not at the same track for the Ohio native. Heck, the history isn’t even in the same country. It’s not even in a different year either. But, the courses at Belle Isle and Toronto are very similar in nature and Rahal is hoping both translate over to great results for his No. 15 Honda.
Belle Isle is a bumpy street circuit in an island in the Detroit River. The different racing surfaces and bumpy track make the street course difficult to navigate.
Well, Toronto is very similar. It’s a street circuit in Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto, with bumps and multiple racing surfaces too. Well, Rahal went two-for-two in Belle Isle, leading 96 of the 140 laps in the duels a little over a month ago, he’s now hoping that success translate over to more success this weekend on the streets of Toronto.
“My expectations are pretty high for the Honda Indy Toronto,” said Rahal, ahead of this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto. “I feel like we are in a pretty good spot with the basic setup for our race car for street courses so I hope it’s a really strong weekend for the Rousseau Metal Honda. The course is very similar to Detroit in many ways. It’s very bumpy, very tight and there are no margins for error. There are a lot of different pavement types and it’s very slippery on the concrete which make it similar to Detroit. Going there with the set up basics that brought us two wins in Detroit gives us reason to be confident heading to Toronto and hopefully it works out like it did in Detroit.”
Don’t believe him, take IndyCar great and current points leader Scott Dixon for what he says about the two venues.
“Toronto is one of the longest-running street courses around and it’s always a challenging layout to master,” Dixon said of Toronto. “It’s similar to Detroit, in that you have a number of surface changes and areas that you really need the car balanced in order to manage the rough downtown roads and streets.”
Rahal, also enters this weekend’s race with a ton of momentum too. Since the beginning of May, Rahal has made up 11 spots in the Verizon IndyCar Series points standings, and has five straight top 10 finishes and six in his last seven races.
“To do well in Toronto would be huge for the point standings,” Rahal said of his championship chances. “We’ve got to keep adding good finishes to try to stay in the championship hunt. There is not a race weekend that isn’t important at this point.”
To me, Rahal is among the favorites to win again this weekend.
On Friday, Rahal was in the top five in each session, being fifth and fourth respectively. In practice on Saturday, he was sixth. He will start Sunday’s race on the front row too, rolling off second.