Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal driving the No.15 Steak N’Shake Honda goes into this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series season finale, the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma hoping to end the year on high following a tough race last time out at Watkins Glen.
Rahal retired from the race at the Glen but will be hoping that with double points on offer this weekend it will make up for his retirement last time out out.
Rahal goes into the final race of the season in seventh place in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings on 403 points and has claimed one victory so far this season which came in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway where in the closest finish in the Speedway’s history, Rahal beat Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe to the win.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing have like their fellow Honda power teams struggled to match the pace of the Chevrolet outfits with Honda claiming just two victories this season compared to Chevrolet’s 13.
Reflecting on the 2015 GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Rahal commented by saying:
We had plenty of pace last year for the entire weekend but we knew the race was going to be an area of weakness. We worked hard to get the car better but it just seemed that we struggled too much too keep the tires under us. However, there was certainly a lot of pressure, this year much less so. I am excited to get there and just try to get another win this year. We need it, we want it, and I think we can get it. We have nothing to lose really.
The Verizon IndyCar Series tested at Sonoma Raceway recently and speaking about the test Rahal commented by saying:
I think we should be very strong but based on testing, I think a lot of teams will be strong. Then again, when you show up for the race weekend the cream rises to the top and I think we are in that group. I think we have things to work on but we know what needs to be done and we are working hard on them. My guys have been very focused amidst this busy, difficult season and I think we can get rewarded with a great result this weekend. I do not want to pressure ourselves, but I think we certainly deserve to be a top-five car at the end of the season.
Rahal also spoke about the challenges of the 2.385 mile permanent road course by saying:
The course is very difficult on tire wear and it is demanding to get the chassis balance correct,” said Rahal of the 12-turn course that features 160 feet in elevation changes. “With all the elevation and everything else, it’s one of the most demanding tracks of the entire season. It also tends to be lower grip, so with all things combined, it is very tough to get it right.
Rahal heads into the race having scored three podium finishes including his win at the Firestone 600 and speaking about his season so far he commented by saying:
There have been highs and lows this season. We have a lot of top five’s, but a lot of disappointments too. Once we get this season completed we will regroup for 2017 and come back stronger. I think we are a top tier team but we need Lady Luck on our side a bit more. Texas was great, Watkins Glen hurt… That pretty much sums up our season in two weekends.