Skip to content

Can Rahal turn around rough 2013 at Iowa?

Jun 23, 2013, 2:45 PM EDT

Firestone 550 - Practice Getty Images

Graham Rahal’s first full-time season with Rahal Letterman Lanigan has not gone like some expected it to go. He achieved a podium finish at Long Beach back in April, but with four finishes outside the Top-20 and a 17th-place standing in the championship, 2013 has not been a stellar campaign so far for the second-generation competitor.

But Rahal earned a boost of confidence yesterday during the heat races that set the field for today’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway. He only posted the 19th-quickest time in single-car qualifying, which meant a starting position of seventh in Heat No. 2. But with only 50 laps to work with, Rahal was able to move through the field and seal a win with a high-line pass of Ed Carpenter with three laps left.

“I’m very proud of the guys because we’ve been working hard,” Rahal said after Heat No. 2. “It just hasn’t been the easiest of years for us. But to get a result like this, even though it’s just a heat, it means a lot to us.”

Rahal transferred over to Heat No. 3 as a result, where he finished ninth after contact with Carpenter early on damaged his front wing and created handling issues on his No. 15 RLL Honda.

That finish means he’ll start on the outside of Row 4 for today’s 250-lap race (his best start of the season), and after a decent Saturday on the Iowa bullring, he may have some much-needed momentum going into today’s main event.

“We really, really felt the car was very competitive [in Heat No. 2] and were able to charge through the field which not a lot of the guys were seemingly able to do,” he said. “And again in the second heat race, I think we could have won it. I think we had the car but unfortunately, Ed and I bumped and we lost four percent front COP [center of pressure], so the car didn’t want to turn.

“The fact that we could still run high 18’s [18-second lap time] without a front wing is pretty impressive, so I’m pleased with the car. I think it’s going to be pretty good.”

Latest Posts
  1. Williams drivers hopeful of points in spite of poor Monaco GP qualifying

    May 23, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 21:  Felipe Massa of Brazil and Williams drives during practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 21, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas limped to their worst qualifying results of the season in Monaco.

  2. Will Power: “It’s the first time I feel I have a shot at winning” Indianapolis 500

    May 23, 2015, 11:09 AM EDT

    Indianapolis 500 - Coors Light Carb Day Getty Images

    Team Penske credits an oval-whelming improvement during his 2014 championship season.

  3. Lack of rhythm costs Rosberg in battle for pole in Monaco

    May 23, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's German driver Nico Rosberg  drives during the third practice session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 23, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Rosberg falls short in his bid for a third successive Monaco GP pole position.

  4. The best news of the Indy weekend: Hinchcliffe posts photo of him walking

    May 23, 2015, 10:08 AM EDT

    James Hinchcliffe James Hinchcliffe

    Hinchcliffe, in a hospital gown, up and walking, in utterly fantastic news.

  5. Hamilton delighted with “incredibly special” Monaco pole

    May 23, 2015, 9:34 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton gestures as he celebrates  taking the pole position in the parc fermee after the qualifying session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 23, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / POOL / BORIS HORVAT        (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Despite having 42 pole positions to his name before today, Lewis Hamilton had never had one in Monaco – until now, that is.

  6. Hamilton storms to first Monaco GP pole position

    May 23, 2015, 9:06 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton  drives during the third practice session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 23, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Hamilton rallies to claim pole position for the first time in Monaco.

  7. WATCH LIVE: Monaco GP qualifying on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET

    May 23, 2015, 7:45 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 23:  Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives during final practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 23, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After Sebastian Vettel finished fastest in practice, can Ferrari take the fight to Mercedes for pole position today?

  8. Formula E: Jarno Trulli claims pole for Berlin ePrix

    May 23, 2015, 7:02 AM EDT

    A Formula E Trulli driver Jarno Trulli prepares to take part in the first pratice session in Punta del Este, Uruguay on December 13, 2014. Uruguay will host the third race of the inaugural Formula-E electric car race championship on December 13.  AFP PHOTO / PABLO PORCIUNCULA        (Photo credit should read PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Italian driver storms to his first pole position in the series ahead of Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi.

  9. Vettel fastest for Ferrari in final practice for Monaco GP

    May 23, 2015, 6:04 AM EDT

    Scuderia Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel  drives during the third practice session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 23, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT        (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Vettel storms to P1, throwing Ferrari’s hat into the ring for pole position later today.

  10. WATCH LIVE: FP3 for the Monaco Grand Prix on Live Extra from 5am ET

    May 23, 2015, 4:45 AM EDT

    Technicians work as  Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton  sits in his car in the pits during the second practice session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 21, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET        (Photo credit should read JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After Thursday’s washout, FP3 becomes all the more important in Monaco.

  11. Vautier describes his “rollercoaster of emotions” throughout month of May

    May 22, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    Tristan Vautier recaps a roller coaster month of May, where he’ll have a last-minute opportunity to race in the Indianapolis 500 with Dale Coyne Racing.

  12. GP2: Vandoorne edges out Rossi for Monaco win

    May 22, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    A third straight feature race win for Stoffel Vandoorne sees him extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship.

  13. Harvey emerges victorious from Indy Lights’ Freedom 100 (VIDEO)

    May 22, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT

    Photo, IMS Photography, LLC Photo, IMS Photography, LLC

    Harvey scores the win in Indy Lights’ biggest race of the year.

  14. Fernley: F1 Strategy Group not fit for purpose

    May 22, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during practice for the Malaysia Formula One Grand Prix at Sepang Circuit on March 27, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Getty Images

    Force India’s deputy team principal lashes out at the F1 Strategy Group, calls for a return to autocratic rule by the FIA and the F1 Group.

  15. FIA invites bids for Formula 1 tire supply from 2017

    May 22, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    A Pirelli team member prepares tyres and rims in the paddock at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 21, 2014 ahead of the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix.  AFP PHOTO / TOM GANDOLFINI        (Photo credit should read Tom Gandolfini/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Bids to supply tires to F1 upon the next change to the technical regulations now being taken.

  16. IndyCar: Carb Day 2015 rolling notebook (VIDEO)

    May 22, 2015, 12:06 PM EDT

    150522willpower Getty Images

    Notes as they develop from the ground in Indianapolis for Carb Day for the 99th Indianapolis 500.

  17. Jules Bianchi’s condition “stagnant” according to father Philippe

    May 22, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 05: Jules Bianchi of France and Marussia arrives for the drivers' parade prior to the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit on October 5, 2014 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Jiri Krenek/isifa/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Bianchi remains in a coma in French hospital after sustaining severe head injuries at the Japanese Grand Prix last October.

  18. Chip Ganassi lobbying for IndyCar schedule changes

    May 22, 2015, 11:38 AM EDT

    Chip Ganassi, Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi, Scott Dixon

    The team owner would like the season’s calendar expanded.

  19. WATCH LIVE: IndyCar, Indy Lights Carb Day at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN, Live Extra

    May 22, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Helio Castroneves after this past Sunday's first day of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. AP

    Watch Carb Day IndyCar and Indy Lights coverage, from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.