Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Team’s Graham Rahal in the No.15 Steak N’Shake Honda started Saturday night’s Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway from 19th place and made an incredible charge through the field.
Rahal avoided the accidents around him and ended the race in fifth place just behind Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s Tony Kanaan in the No.10 GE Light LED Chevrolet.
Rahal was the highest place Honda driver with the top four of Dixon, Pagenaud, Power and Kanaan all powered by Chevrolet. Speaking following the race which has seen Graham move up to seventh in the points standings on 44 points while leader Simon Pagenaud is on 83.
Speaking following the race, Rahal stated:
I knew I had to make up a bunch of spots in the first few laps. I got a good start and got a couple of positions on the first lap and another when Luca dropped back. I felt decent about that, I was just trying to close the gap. The team was keeping me up to date on where (race leader) Helio was the whole time and I knew he couldn’t get through traffic. The frustrating thing is that I felt like I had the best car out there. I could catch everybody but I just couldn’t pass at all so I started to save fuel. We got two yellows and it helped a lot. The pit stops were amazing as always. I said it from the start that I felt confident today because of those guys. Had I not had that crew and those pit stops behind me, I wouldn’t have felt as good about this race going into it. Getting the points we did for fifth place helps us in the standings for sure. We’re going to keep challenging and pushing hard.
The next race, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach takes place from April 15 -17.