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March 10, 2019

St. Petersburg Race Recap

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “In the first round, the United Rentals Honda was really good. I thought that with a couple of minor tweaks, we would be right there but when we went to the second round unfortunately we didn’t really get a good out lap and due to that, the rear tires never came in and it was just an absolute handful. I almost lost it to start my lap so therefore we just never stood a chance of advancing. It’s a shame because our time in the first round was good enough to advance us to the Fast Six so it’s disappointing to not fulfill that.”

•FAST FACTS: Set the third fastest lap (1:00.5933) in Group 2 of Round 1 and advanced to Round 2. He set the 11th fastest lap time and did not progress to Round 3… Will make his 12th Indy car start at this track in 2019. His best start here is pole in 2009 and best finish is a win in 2008 in his IndyCar Series debut – both history-making moments (more info below). He has earned one top-five and four top-10 starts here and has two top-five and four top-10 finishes. In 2018, Rahal recovered from a spin in wet conditions in qualifying that led to a 24th place start to finish second in the 110 lap race but not without in-race drama. After he recovered from Lap 8 contact with Pigot, which put him on an alternate fuel strategy, he went on to capitalize on the timing of caution periods and fuel savings to run fourth in the closing stages of the race. On a restart for a two-lap shoot out, Rahal was fourth but contact between race leader Robert Wickens and Alexander Rossi opened the door for third place Sebastien Bourdais and fourth place Rahal to pass them to take the white and checkered flags under caution to finish one-two. While with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, he won pole in 2009 and finished seventh and in 2008 he qualified ninth, led 19 laps and won in his series debut at the age of 19 years, 93 days old. Graham is hoping to add his name to the list of repeat winners at St. Pete… Has six IndyCar Series wins (2008 – St. Pete street course; 2015 – Fontana Super Speedway, Mid-Ohio road course; 2016 – Texas Super Speedway; 2017 Detroit Race 1, Detroit Race 2) and three poles (2009 – St. Pete street course, Kansas oval; 2017 – Detroit Race 1 street) and his highest series season-ending standing is fourth place in 2015.

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