Graham Rahal has had a quiet start to the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season. While he sits sixth in the season standings, no one is talking about him much. But, that could be a problem for his competition. See, Rahal is on the verge of winning soon. This weekend’s Kohler Grand Prix (12:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio Network) in Road America could be the perfect spot to do so.
In 2016, Rahal started sixth and finished third. In 2017, he started sixth again and came home eighth. He was on the wrong end of strategy at the scenic road course a year ago.
Heading into this weekend, Rahal has scored a top 10 finish in all but one race. That race was the first doubleheader race in Detroit as he crashed out while running inside the top five. If not for that crash, he’d have a top 10 finish in all nine races in 2018. The speed is there, he just needs to qualify better.
Rahal has one top five starting spot this season and that came in Long Beach. He’d finish fifth that day. In four of his last six starts though, Rahal has started 15th or worse. He was 17th in the INDYCAR Grand Prix and came home ninth. He led three laps that race despite his starting spot. For the Indy 500, he started 30th and brought his No. 15 Honda home 10th. He led 12 more laps. In the second Belle Isle race, he started ninth and finished fifth. In the last race in Texas, he started 20th and finished sixth.
“We tested at Road America and it went well in the end,” said Rahal. “We didn’t start off the best, but I do think we found a few things that can really help us as we go forward. I am excited for this aero package on a long track like Road America. I think the passing will be great, the cars will look awesome and will be fast! I have spent a ton of time at Road America in my lifetime and just find it to be the best track in this country. I am excited to join my dad and all of my family up there this weekend to enjoy the races just like we always have done growing up! I have always enjoyed the race there and I think that’s why I have had some success. Having said that, a win would mean a ton to me. I would love to get it for my GEHL team this weekend! With GEHL and Manitowoc being so close by, it’s a huge race weekend for us too. I have high hopes for the next eight races. We have had a solid start to the season but no wins. We need wins, we need podiums, and I hope we can make that happen here very soon.”
What happens if he starts closer to the front?
We may see on Sunday.