Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal in the No.15 United Rentals/Soldier Strong/TurnsForTroops Honda started Saturday’s Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race One presented by Lear from pole position and completely dominated the event leading a staggering 55 of 70 laps.
Rahal felt that the car rolled off the truck strong and was quick on Friday during practice trading fast times with Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves.
Speaking following the race, Rahal commented by saying:
I’m very fortunate for the team around me. The guys did a tremendous job. For United Rentals, SoldierStrong and Turns For Troops, we raised a lot more money and hopefully we sold some T-shirts today. We’re looking forward to tomorrow. First of all, I got to say thanks to my boys. The guys did a great job in the pits. You know, Eddie, Martin, Mike, Tom, all the engineers, Alex, all the guys that came up with this setup. As I said yesterday, we rolled off the truck and it was right there. So I’m definitely pleased with that because we changed one thing this weekend. That doesn’t normally happen. That’s why I felt like I just didn’t want to mess up today. Actually, I’ll be honest, I didn’t sleep great last night because I knew that I was good enough for the first time in a long time, that the car, myself, everything was good enough here to legitimately be on pole, and to set the tone here. That doesn’t happen all the time. You know, for us, it doesn’t happen that often. In fact, I can be honest and say I don’t know that I’ve ever felt that confident in my entire career going into a race day as we did today. I just felt like, you know, if everything went well, that we were going to be very hard to beat. And that proved to be true today. You know, I just didn’t want to mess up. I tried the entire race, Just give yourself a gap. I never pushed a single lap to 100% on purpose. I just wanted to keep my margins, you know, just hit my marks. The first, you know, 55 laps went quick. The last 15 seemed to take a decade. But, you know, it was a lot of fun out there. We were firing on all cylinders today. We were able to match whatever pace we needed to. We were able to run some blistering fast times while saving a ton of fuel. So thanks to Honda for that. I could certainly do the number that I needed to. It’s been a good place to me in the past. Today we were very fortunate, you know, that the yellows weren’t poorly timed or anything like that. We were able to stay out front, to build the gap that we needed to, and obviously run hard. It seems like we’re in a pretty good spot going into tomorrow. You would think that’s obvious after having just been on the front row and been on pole. Been on the front row no matter what, but winning the race. It’s not as obvious as you think. Tomorrow morning we’ll go out there, I can guarantee, being cooler temperatures, the potential of rain, everything else, it’s going to be a whole new day. Hopefully it’s ours again.
Oriol Servia in the No.16 Fifth Third Bank Honda endured a tough race as the Spaniard started the race from 22nd place and finished the event in 20th place.
Speaking following the race, he commented by saying:
We were running our race. Starting last, we did what we had to do which was try to do the opposite of what most people were doing in terms of pitting. We knew we had a good pace and it was working out except the driver pushed the pit speed button twice so it engaged and disengaged. And I didn’t realize that so once I pushed the throttle it went over the speed. Then I got the drive through penalty for speeding. It is what it is. At least the team got a win, and a dominant one at that. I’m very happy for the whole team and Graham especially. A win like this brings the morale up for the rest of the season and shows the pace and speed of the car and all of the work done. I hope that I can at least be with him on the podium tomorrow and bring Fifth Third Bank a good result.
Rahal will be hoping that he can continue his form from Saturday into Sunday’s second race in Detroit.