Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal who this weekend at Pocono Raceway will drive the No.15 Bobby Rahal Automotive Group Honda is hoping that they can challenge for victory at the ABC Supply 500.
Rahal spent a portion of this week with his wife, NHRA Funny Car driver Courtney Force in St Louis promoting the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Speaking ahead of the race this weekend, Rahal said:
Our season has been pretty good in many ways. We’ve had a lot of top-10s and a lot of consistency, but clearly it hasn’t been a great season because we haven’t won, and we are disappointed in that, but we have four races left to get that done. I think we can be very strong in Pocono. We led there a bit last year, so I think we should be pretty decent. We came up short last year at Pocono last year, so we would like to do better this year. With the new aero kit, I think we found some things since Indy that will help improve our performance. We had a good race car at Indy, but I definitely think we have learned a lot from an aerodynamic standpoint. I expect to be more competitive. I expect to have a faster car. If you get the balance right, anyone can run well there. Hopefully, we will make that happen. Pocono is always a competitive race. With the long straightaways, there is always tons of passing. The restarts are absolutely nuts. We’ll just have to see how it all plays out. This new car is going to accelerate really well in the draft. I’m excited to get there. It’s a beautiful part of the world; it’s a great racetrack and a great challenge for us. I think we will have a lot of fun. Five-hundred-mile races take a lot of patience. We’ve won one before. You have to understand how it all plays out. We will go there, work hard and make sure we have a good, solid day.
Last year’s Pocono pole sitter Takuma Sato in the No.30 MiJack/Panasonic Honda is looking forward to the race this weekend. The Japanese driver started off by discussing his run to pole last year:
(About winning pole in 2017:) “I knew we could be competitive, but it was a little hard to know how much I could commit as I just saw my sister car (Ryan Hunter-Reay) lose control and hit a wall heavily just before my run. So, we adjusted the wings accordingly and went out. It was then a little too conservative in terms of balance and I had to run wide at the exit of Turn 1 but I kept on power and got on pole. That was a really great feeling and big satisfaction. With the universal aero kit, we can achieve a similar downforce level in superspeedway trim as we saw at the Indy 500, so we can have similar handling. But to go fast, we need to reduce the drag and that means we will lose a huge amount of downforce. So, it will be quite challenging, but I expect we will be competitive. In the Indy 500, we experienced it is extremely tough to follow or get close to the car in front, so Pocono will be more challenging than previous years. The tow effect seems big and it is a long fast straight at Pocono, so it could be interesting. Sure, it helps in any circumstances to have experience. A 500-mile race is a long one, so your physical and mental condition has to be strong and it’s important to work with your team very closely as there are so many pit stops as well. I am ready to compete competitively at another 500-mile race so I’m really looking forward to the weekend. However, it’s a great feeling that our speed and competitiveness is getting better and stronger in the second half of the season, so we just need to concentrate on our job and keep positive about what we are heading to and we just need to perform well. The results will come.