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April 10, 2019

Graham Rahal hopes luck changes for Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

Graham Rahal says he is “excited to get going” at Long Beach, with the race coming just a week after a disappointing non-finish at Barber Motorsports Park.

On a weekend where both Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing machines were strong, Rahal said he was “running away” from the rest of the field at the start of the 90 lap race at the track in Birmingham, Alabama.

Come race day, although team-mate Takuma Sato was never seriously challenged for the win, Rahal followed closely through the first stint of the race, despite his number 15 One Cure Honda suffering with a sticking throttle.

At the first round of pit stops, Rahal was stationary for almost 27 seconds as his mechanics tried an electronic reset of the systems on his car, but to no avail. Whilst his team-mate cruised off into the distance on a largely trouble free afternoon, the 30 year old American was forced to retire on lap 55 after his car shut down on track.

Rahal explained that although he’d kept pace at the beginning of the race, it had been far from straightforward.

"About Lap 3, the throttle started to stick and I tried to make it hang on,” said the Columbus, Ohio native.

“We did, I don't know, 15 laps that way. Finally, it was going to put me in a gravel trap or something; for sure, I was hanging on way too much.”

Rahal explained that the issue had been persistent throughout the weekend.

“We had this (problem) in qualifying, luckily it was on my cool-down lap from the lap where I (qualified second).

“(Before the race) we changed the throttle pedal, we changed the sensors, we checked all the tuning. I don't know, but it has to be something in the (wiring) loom.

“Takuma (Sato) and I were running away at the start. I thought it was our weekend. At some point (our luck) has got to change.”

Looking forward to Long Beach, Rahal was positive about his chances.

“I am really excited to get going. I truly think the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach should be one of our most competitive races of the year, and coming off the team’s performance from Barber I feel like the team should be right in the hunt.”

 

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