Former NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver Danica Patrick says that Graham Rahal, driver of the No.15 United Rentals Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda showed great poise at an extraordinarily difficult time for him and the team in qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday.
Speaking to Paddock Eye during a conference call ahead of the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge this weekend, Patrick, who, along with Mike Tirico, Dale Jr, Townsend Bell, Leigh Diffey, and James Hinchliffe, forms the NBC broadcast team for the Greatest Spectacle In Racing, said that Graham would come back stronger from the disappointment of missing out on a place in the field for the race.
Patrick told us that she has been in similar positions before and that it is how you deal with the disappointment of such a setback. The 2005 Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year who drove for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for two seasons before moving to Andretti Autosport said that the team learn from this experience and will buckle down and do the best job that they can in Sunday’s race.
Speaking to Paddock Eye during a coverage call on Monday, Patrick said:
Yeah, that was heartbreaking. I watched that just with my fists together going like, oh, I just know the pain. I have been there before with rain conditions and various different things, and also just having so much empathy for Graham, to be the driver that he is and then to not be in it. I texted him and just said, everybody knows your talent, and this just happens.
I said that the speedway shows no mercy. There was a point in time when Penske didn’t make the field.
It’s just one of those places that when it’s not there, it’s not there. He had so much poise. I didn’t hear Bobby (Rahal) talk at all. I’m not sure if he did. But Graham had so much poise, but yet so authentic, and I think he handled it incredibly well.
There’s a very common saying, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so I’m sure that that will be the case. But Bobby and his team have been extremely successful, as I’ve been a part of some of that, so I’m sure that this will give them the kick in the butt to figure it out, as I’m pretty sure they have some very talented engineers on the team right now.
But at this point in time, all you can do is buckle down and try and fill your head with the most positive things you can and get a good race car that gives you confidence. That’s the best thing they can do for their drivers at this point in time is to get a car that’s steady in traffic and comfortable, and that usually goes a long way on Sunday.
Rahal was back at the track on Monday on the RLL timing stand as Katherine Legge, Christian Lundgaard and Jack Harvey too part in practice.