Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal came from the back of the grid at the Verizon IndyCar Series season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg to finish the race on the podium in second place behind race winner Sebastien Bourdais.
Rahal in the No.15 United Rentals Honda started the race from 24th place and worked his way through the field taking advantage of the different caution periods thoughout the event to finish the event in second place.
On lap eight of the race, Rahal made contact with Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot. Following the race, Rahal tweeted to Pigot that drinks were on him on Sunday evening as he is not a driver who deliberately sets out to ruin a competitors race.
Following the contact with Pigot, Rahal moved onto an alternate fuel strategy which helped him to move up the field.
Speaking following the race, Rahal commented by saying:
“It was a great day for the United Rentals team. As you guys could see, running down the inside at Turn 1 was a risky maneuver. I had a shot at Bourdais but I kept saying to myself ‘Just take fourth, just take fourth. Take the points and move on.’ There was a lot of action there. Then I saw Rossi and thought ‘Oh, here we go. This could be perfect.’ And sure enough, bam! We got a little luck and you have to have that. We haven’t had a good start to the season in a long time. I guess the last time was 2008 when I won this thing. Our whole team did a fabulous job and it was an awesome day for Honda. Our Turns for Troops program which raises money to help our wounded veteran get back on their feet raised $5000-something bucks today so that’s a big thing for us. Let’s move on to the next one and keep adding up the points.”
Takuma Sato in the No.30 MiJack Panasonic Honda started the race from fifth place however after making contact with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank, the defending Indianapolis 500 winner ended the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg in