GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 GEHL Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "I'm really proud of the GEHL team. I wanted to win today so I'm disappointed with fifth, which is a good thing. We had a good day and got solid points. We would have liked to have gained on Will (Power) and Helio (Castroneves, in the point standings) though. I actually felt I had a car that was equally as good as theirs but the track position became hard. As I said during the broadcast under the red flag, the guys just kept moving up (on the high line), which is fine - that's their right to choose a lane - but that was where I was comfortable running so we lost some space. The guys did a great job though. We've just got to keep our heads down and keep finishing in the front. We're going to Toronto (street race) now and after what happened in Detroit (two wins, street race), hopefully that set up will translate well and we'll have a great race there too. Yeah I'm disappointed with fifth place but overall it was a great day. That's four really solid finishes in a row so we've just got to keep this going."
FAST FACTS: Finished fifth after starting 10th. Rahal ran fourth most of the race and traded positions with Hunter-Reay after mid-race pit stops but regained the spot all but once after the final stop. The race was halted after 200 of 300 laps for approx. 20 minutes due to light sprinkles while Rahal was fourth. Late in the race, he lost track position due to being behind a lapped car of rookie Gutierrez and once he was able to pass, he ran out of time to move higher than fifth. Was his 10th race here. He has earned six top-10 finishes in 9 starts with his best being fourth in 2015. In 2016, he started 12th and was up to fifth during the pit cycle before his first pit stop on Lap 58/300. After his stop, he maintained a position around 11th place. He was a lap down but got waved around during the caution period for Hunter-Reay (L109-127) and made a stop at the end of that caution and gained four spots to run eighth. He had previously reported a vibration before that stop and repeated the assessment around Lap 168. The problem kept appearing mid-stint and until the end of the race which forced the team to pit earlier than expected on the remaining stops and Rahal ultimately finished 16th. It was his ninth race here… Rahal earned his best finish at Iowa Speedway of fourth place in 2015 despite dropping a total of three laps down during the race. He started 17th and was 10th when he had to pit early due to his right rear tire deflating and went two laps down to the leader. Later he got back on the lead lap and reported a shifting issue on Lap 98/300 that slowed his return to the track from his second pit stop after having to reboot and he dropped a lap down again. Later in the race, the team took advantage of a caution period to pit for fuel and new tires which would enable them to go further than the leaders on the next stint and possibly pick up a yellow that would put them back on the lead lap. While leading and with five laps to go before they were forced to pit for their last stop, Sato brought out a caution period and the team stopped for fuel and tires. Due to the reoccurring shifting issue, he had to leave the pits in sixth gear rather than first and returned to the track in eight place, and on the lead lap. The race restarted with 23 laps to go and Rahal moved from eighth place into fourth by Lap 294/300. He held his position and finished fourth but he and the team felt like they had earned a victory of sorts… In 2014, he started 15th and stayed on the lead lap with the help of the timing of the caution periods. He made his sixth stop on a late race caution period for Montoya and returned to the track in 10th place. Once the race was restarted with six laps to go he moved up to eighth place and passed Castroneves on the final lap for seventh. He set the 19th fastest lap time in single-car qualifying in 2013 to determine that he would be in Heat Race 2. He drove to victory in Heat Race 2 after starting seventh and progressed to Heat Race 3 where he also started seventh. Contact with Ed Carpenter on Lap 16 of 50 damaged his front wing and he held on to finish ninth of 10 cars to match his best start at Iowa of ninth. He started sixth after engine penalties were served and charged from 10th to second on his second stint. He challenged for the win and led Lap 160 until the last 20 laps where he dropped to fourth while navigating traffic and then fifth on the final lap. In 2012 he qualified 10th, started 20th (penalty for unapproved engine change) and finished ninth with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR). In 2011 he qualified 20th and finished 15th with SCCGR. In 2010, he qualified 17th with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, led 11 laps and finished ninth. In 2009 he qualified ninth and finished 11th with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) and in 2008 he qualified 16th and finished 10th with NHLR… Rahal gained one spot in the point standings and is ranked sixth with a total of 337. He is 66 points behind leader Scott Dixon (403), 58 behind second place Helio Castroneves (395), 35 behind third place Simon Pagenaud (372), 13 behind fourth place Will Power (350), and 10 points behind fifth place Josef Newgarden (347).
NEXT UP: The series will compete in the Honda Indy Toronto next weekend. After earning back-to-back wins on the streets of Detroit's Belle Isle, Rahal and the team are optimistic of a strong performance in Canada.