Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team’s Graham Rahal in the No.15 Steak N’Shake Honda will start tomorrow’s Verizon IndyCar Series opener, the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg from seventh place on the grid after just missing out on a place in Firestone Fast Six competition.
The No.15 Steak N’Shake Honda has been strong all weekend and Rahal was left slightly disappointed after running up front in practice and speaking following the qualifying session, Rahal commented by saying:
I left it all out there, I didn’t have anything else. We’ve been up front all weekend and we have been close but unfortunately we just didn’t have quite enough there. These Steak ‘n Shake boys continue to work hard all weekend and ultimately we race better than we qualify so for us to start seventh, I think we can have a good race. We have been competitive but I think we are all struggling to find a balance. The Firestone tire we brought here is maybe a little bit different than last year’s compound so it’s been difficult to get everything how we want it, setup-wise but we like the challenge and my guys have responded really well. We have to turn our eyes toward the race now and I think we will be pretty strong. Overall we wanted to be the top Honda but we came up three-hundredths of a second of a second short but that’s how this thing goes.
Rahal’s team mate, 2015 Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot in the No.16 RLL/Andersen Interior Contracting Dallara Honda will start his very first Verizon IndyCar Series race from 22nd place on the grid and speaking following the session, the American stated:
Definitely the red Firestone tires are a big difference, there is a lot more grip which is awesome. It’s amazing how much grip the car has with those tires. It was good to finally get a chance to try them out. It’s tough out there. I thought I put some good laps together. I think we had a few tenths left which wouldn’t have gotten us through (to the next round) but it might have moved us up a couple of spots that I left on the table. That’s part of learning and part of being a rookie. I definitely learned a lot in those few laps that will help me next time I’m on the reds. I think the goal for tomorrow is to just do our best and hopefully we can make up a few spots on the start and then just see how the race unfolds. It’s a long race and sometimes this race can be pretty unpredictable and pretty crazy. You never know what is going to happen but we will try to keep our nose clean and pick them off as we can.