Graham Rahal delivered a quiet but arguably one of the strongest performances with an eighth-place finish in Sunday’s Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America.
The 33-year-old Ohio native started 22nd and took advantage of the third caution on Lap 8 to pit from 19th. The payoff started to reveal itself when the majority of the field waited to make initial pit stops on Lap 15, which provided plenty of clear track for the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda to make significant gains.
Rahal climbed as high as second on Lap 18 and was thrust into fuel conservation mode as a result of the alternate strategy, but it worked as he never fell outside the top 10 for the remainder of the 55-lap contest and recorded his fourth top 10 of the 2022 season.
“We were P8 on the day here with really good strategy, good pitstops, and the Fifth Third Bank guys kept their heads down,” Rahal said. We spent most of the day fuel saving but we were able to get some really good lap times considering and I think that’s what really made the difference in the race for us today. We don’t want to be P8 but we will take this. As I just said to the boys it’s great to get a decent result today, not only for me but Christian (Lundgaard) at 10th and Jack (Harvey) just behind him (in 13th).
Even more significant, the result at the 14-turn, 4.048-mile road course ends what was a difficult three-race skid of finishes outside of the top 10 (16 – Indy Grand Prix, 14 – Indianapolis 500, 26 – Belle Isle).
Overall, it was just positive momentum for us,” added Rahal, a six-time race winner in the NTT IndyCar Series. “We’ve got two test days before we race next. One in Iowa and one in Sebring, Florida. In the heat of the summer in Sebring, we will try to work on our dampers a little bit, try to find some more. We want to win, but this is refreshing to at least have a decent result.”