Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal in the No.15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda Dallara heads to the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend aiming to go one place better compared to 2016 and take his car to victory lane.
Speaking about last year’s race, Rahal commented by saying:
If the wing part hadn’t failed and the flap hadn’t broken, I feel like we would have been very competitive over the entire course of the race. We would have been looking very good. I would have liked to have cleared (Jack) Hawksworth quicker and easier. I didn’t force the issue. I didn’t realize Pagenaud was right behind me still and I didn’t force the issue and ultimately it came back to bite us.
Speaking about Barber being one of his highlights from last season, Rahal commented by saying:
It was a great battle, a great challenge and right up there with some of my highlights from the 2016 season. Obviously I was disappointed to not get the victory so perhaps from that standpoint, it wasn’t up there with Texas (as season highlight) but it was definitely pretty good.
So why does Graham think RLL have been so competitive here in the past, having finished second here both last year and in 2015?
In terms of overall competitiveness at Barber, the team does a pretty good job. We put a good car on the track and we seem to keep the tires underneath us pretty well. I think the tire degradation will be similar this year so we have to do the same thing and try to keep everything in one piece and wear everyone down. We weren’t as fast as we wanted to be at the March test but at the same time we were okay so we’re going to work hard to find a few more things to gain some time and make us a little more competitive. That should allow us to run right up front where we feel like we deserve to be.
Rahal heads into this weekend’s race in 15th place in the Verizon IndyCar Series points standings following the opening two rounds of the championship and speaking about the circuit at Barber Motorsports Park he commented by saying:
Barber Motorsports Park is challenging because it has a ton of high speed and low speed corners but the high speed are ultimately just insane-commitment-corners. You have to be pedal to the metal and obviously hope that nothing goes wrong and that the car sticks. It’s just such a great venue for families. Everyone gets to come out, relax and sit on the hillsides and watch some great racing. I just love it! It’s got to be one of my favorite venues of the entire season, each and every year. I’m excited to go back and I hope it suits my driving style again. I hope that we can have a really good run. We need it, we deserve it. I think that we have had a lot of pace this year so far. Race stint one in Long Beach killed us but in qualifying we were good. In St. Pete, I felt like our race car was going to be good but unfortunately that potential got cut short so hopefully we can get Lady Luck on our side and have a good day in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.”