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Graham Rahal hoping to start turn-around at home

Aug 2, 2013, 11:20 PM EDT

Graham Rahal AP

Graham Rahal makes no bones about it – 2013 has not been one of his greatest years in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

“Unfortunately, as things came together for the team this year, we didn’t have speed in the car from the get go,” Rahal said on Wednesday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course ahead of this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 (Sun., 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN). “At a couple of different tracks this year, it clicked for us. We ran up front at Long Beach and at Iowa, we were really strong.

“When I can only list two races out of all the ones we’ve done, it’s been a frustrating year.”

The 24-year-old American, who drives for Rahal Letterman Lanigan, sits a disappointing 17th in the championship with a lone podium (Long Beach) and two Top-5 finishes (the Beach and Iowa) in the season’s first 13 events.

But the Ohio native has come to home ground this weekend at Mid-Ohio, and he’s very much wanting to finish 2013 strong – starting with a victory in front of his family, friends and fellow Buckeyes.

“I want to do well here,” he said. “A win here would mean a lot to us. Not only for me as a person, but for the whole team. It would mean a ton.”

Still, Rahal notes that the team has been “making some changes” in an effort to get a head-start on next season. Among those changes are the welcoming of a new engineer for him, Neil Fife, who’s joined RLL after being released from Dragon Racing.

“It helps us because if this is the way the team is going to stay in ’14, we get time to work together,” Rahal said. “I’ve known Neil for a long time, but we’ve never worked together. It’s a new thing.

“…It’s all about building momentum and the more time you spend and get more familiar with everybody, it’s only going to help you in the future.”

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