Verizon IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal has hit out at his rival Max Chilton after the English driver was highly critical of the driving style of his rivals during last weekend’s Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway.
Speaking following the race which saw him finish in seventh place on his oval racing debut, Chilton who drives the No.8 Gallagher Ganassi Chevrolet stated:
I can’t say what I learned because it’s rude, It favors the stupidity of certain people. I’m new to taking and learning those risks. I will have to build up to it but to me it’s a bit too fast. I lost out a couple times on restarts because some drivers didn’t seem to give a damn. I think I did a pretty strong job to be fair as a rookie starting eighth and finishing seventh. Every time I got stuck behind a Honda we couldn’t move around them. But I’m really happy with it.
Rahal in the No.15 Steak N’Shake Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda worked his way through the field from starting in 19th place to ending the race in fifth place just behind Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan.
Reacting to Chilton’s comments Rahal stated:
I think he should listen to himself, He had the fastest car around, but he was constantly sticking his [right-front wing] end-plate into everybody’s left-rear corner on corner entry. That is not a safe move on a road course, let alone an oval at 200 miles an hour. That’s the definition of stupidity.
Rahal went on to say:
He could have won, Max had the fastest car of anybody I was around. The thing is, Max was the funniest to race with [at Phoenix]. Shoving his nose in at the last second, going three-wide on the outside, which is ridiculous. He was putting himself in places where ‘stupidity’ was the first thing I thought of all night.
Chilton stepped up to Verizon IndyCar Series with Ganassi for the 2016 season having driven for Trevor Carlin in Indy Lights last year after losing his Formula One seat. The IndyCar rookie is being mentored by Ganassi driver coach and IndyCar and Indianapolis 500 championship winner Dario Franchitti.
Rahal believes that instead of complaining about his rivals, Chilton should instead seek guidance from his team mate and reigning series champion Scott Dixon who won the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix.
Rahal went on to explain that he doesn’t dislike Chilton but feels that for a rookie driver racing on an oval for the first time that Chilton should not have criticized his fellow rivals and believes that had Chilton been in a different team he would not having spoken out like did but because he driving a Ganassi car, one of the best cars on the grid, Rahal says that he gets the impression that Chilton believes he would blitz the competition on ovals.
Rahal himself drove for Ganassi