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Graham Rahal leads final warmup in Sao Paulo

May 5, 2013, 8:30 AM EDT

Graham Rahal AP

On his 18th and final lap of the session, Graham Rahal went to the top of the time sheets in this morning’s warmup before the Sao Paulo Indy 300 (11 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Network/NBC Sports Live Extra) with a lap of 1 minute, 21.2494 seconds in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda. If there are no late penalties to alter the starting grid, Rahal is expected to start from 19th position in today’s race.

Front row starter E.J. Viso continued to show speed in the 30-minute warmup, going P2 with a time of 1 minute, 21.2920 seconds in the No. 5 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet. Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon was third-fastest (1 minute, 21.3284 seconds), followed by Panther Racing’s J.R. Hildebrand in fourth (1 minute, 21.3911 seconds) and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s Josef Newgarden in fifth (1 minute, 21.4902 seconds).

Amongst the other notables: Three-time defending Sao Paulo champion Will Power was sixth-fastest, Long Beach winner Takuma Sato was 18th, and today’s pole sitter, Ryan Hunter-Reay, was 22nd.

James Jakes warmed up in a backup No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda after his primary entry caught fire during yesterday’s qualifying session. Per Patrick Stephan of Trackside Online and the IMS Radio Network, Jakes’ issues on Saturday were caused by a cracked exhaust header, which led to the fire damaging some of the bodywork on the car.

However, the original engine survived the ordeal intact, so while the Englishman is in a new machine, he won’t be subjected to any grid penalties.

Watch today’s Sao Paulo Indy 300 online and on your mobile device.

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