NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Graham Rahal Salvages Fourth-Place Result After Post-Quali Penalty

On most weekends, a fourth-place result from Graham Rahal would be expected, if not disappointing. However, after starting from the tail-end of the field, a finish just outside of the podium was all Rahal could ask for in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Rahal was forced to vacate his qualifying time on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course after his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing No. 15 failed post-qualifying inspection. On the difficult road course, and feeling under the weather, Rahal would require a masterful drive and differing strategy to put himself in contention.

“We had a great strategy again with topping off (on fuel) on that early yellow then going long on that stint and getting in the top-eight,” said Rahal. ” After that we kind of just chugged away.  We were on the blacks at the wrong time when everyone was on the reds and to still make up two spots on that restart was pretty good. And Honda is working hard and it shows.

“To have a result like that is pretty awesome. Overall that’s about the best we could have imagined for today and I certainly didn’t even think we could get to where we did.”

After Rahal’s move through the field, the driver of the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda was left wondering what could’ve been without a penalty.

“Obviously I’m disappointed about the penalty still,” said Rahal. ” I think that if we had started up front we clearly would have had something for these guys.  We could have won this thing. Look at the ground we made up.”

Still, even though Rahal failed to deliver a victory with what he though was a winning car, he had much to be proud of after the race. His team gained 33 points on the day, moving to fifth in the championship standings.

“Days like today are the ones that are going to get us a championship one day,” said Rahal, adding, “With the cold I have, I’m going to sleep good tonight.  This one (race) took it all out of me.”

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