Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal heads to the Iowa Corn 300 this weekend following a third place finish in the Kohler Grand Prix at the Road America circuit.
Rahal will be hoping that he can carry the momentum forward into this weekend’s race and secure a top finish having ended the race here last year in fourth place despite numerous problems and reflecting on last years event he commented by saying:
Everything that could have gone wrong last year at Iowa went wrong it seemed. To rebound and come out of the race with a top four felt greater than a victory and actually probably had a greater effect on our championship than anything else just due to the morale that was built during that night. It was frustrating because I think we had a car that could have won but we were just stuck in sixth gear, pounding around. It was great to get a good result.
This weekend’s race at Iowa is Rahal’s ninth at this venue with his best finish a fourth place which came in 2015 and last week he was one of several drivers to take to Iowa Speedway for a pre race test session where he was one of the front runners. Rahal is hopeful that following the successful test he can carry it forward to the race with the team benefiting from what they learnt at the test to run up front. Speaking about his expectations for this weekend he commented by saying:
I think we will be very competitive at Iowa. As a team, we have been pretty good at Iowa the past couple of years. It’s been one of our strong points and we just had a good test there. Honda worked very hard on their engine and aerodynamic package to get a more efficient car at this downforce level so we should be pretty good.
Rahal is reasonably happy with how his 2016 season is going so far and speaking about the season he commented by saying:
So far I think the season has gone reasonably well and we have a little bit of momentum. I think we’re headed in the right direction and I feel good about where we are as a team. Would I have liked to see better results? What driver or team doesn’t? But if you look at the top five’s we’ve had this season, it’s been pretty strong. We got punted out of one, had a brake issue in another one that I thought we could have been a contender in and have faced other challenges but I feel good about where we are right now and I hope we can keep this going and move forward in the championship.
Rahal heads into the Iowa race weekend in eighth place in the championship on 261 points, three ahead of Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya with seven races remaining on the calendar including the rescheduled Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. Speaking about the championship battle Rahal stated:
Pagenaud has taken off with this thing to a certain extent but I do think that others can catch him though. If I look at the rest of the competitors and contenders, I believe we are right in the hunt with them. We have had many things go wrong this year as much as we’ve had go right but there are six races left, one with double points, so the battle is heating up right now. We are going to fight for every piece of the road and see if we can get ourselves in the top three at season’s end.