Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing head into the final race of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series, the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma with Graham Rahal in seventh place in the points standings.
Rahal has had an extremely strong season having taken two wins the season in the Detroit double header in June.
Rahal is still mathematically still in with a shot at winning the 2017 championship and speaking ahead of the race this weekend about what he can expect, Rahal commented by saying:
Hopefully we can finish in the top five, which would be great. Everything is going to have to go our way to do that. We are close to Rossi and not that far off of Power so we’ll keep our heads down and keep working hard. We lost two opportunities towards the end of the season at Pocono and St. Louis which was disappointing but certainly Sonoma should be a good one for us. We’ll see how it plays out. We are focused on going out and winning the race which would put us in the best case scenario.
So what is Rahal expecting from the race this weekend?
Expectations are always high going into race weekend but I think we have been good on the road courses this year overall. “We have a lot to work on though. I don’t think we were great at Watkins Glen, which was disappointing, but we just need to keep working hard like we have been and put the United Rentals / SoldierStrong Honda up front. We’ve got one race to go and it’s important to us to finish off strong and try to get in the top five in the championship.
Reflecting on the 2017 season and looking ahead to next season, Rahal commented by saying:
The 2017 season has been a great one for us overall. Getting the two back-to-back wins in Detroit, a pole and starting third the next day was a highlight for me. It’s going to be a year that we definitely remember but I’m also extremely eager to go into 2018. I think we will be even better and much stronger next year, performance wise.
Zachery Claman DeMelo will make his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the No.13 PaySafe Honda and speaking ahead of the race he commented by saying:
Since I made the move to cars from karts, I always knew that I either wanted to get a chance to race in INDYCAR or F1. So to get this opportunity is a big deal for me, and I can’t thank Paysafe and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing enough. I think Sonoma in general is a great track. It’s really up and down, which is exciting. You have some fast sections and hard braking and a lot of blind corners, so it’s a cool place with a bit of everything. My favorite part would have to be Turn 2. It’s just so uphill and really fun to drive. I’ve been in the gym every day. I want to make sure I’m in the best shape I can be and make a big splash at Sonoma. I’ve been watching as many onboard videos as possible and staying in touch with the team. My approach is going to be to go in with an open mind and learn as much as I can. I think to set expectations is always hard, but as a driver and competitive person I want to be at the front running with the best guys and showing that I can compete. If I had to set one goal throughout the weekend, it would just be to keep on progressing and learn every time I go out on track.