Either way you look at it, Graham Rahal is leading the Honda banner. The flagship Honda team is Andretti Autosport but don’t tell Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing that. Graham has steaked his claim as the top Honda and maximized his results to start the year. I realize some of you may think that last sentence was corny, but hey that’s me. He has been on a tear and finished second at Barber and now second at yesterday’s GP of Indy. He is now tied for fourth in the points championship with Scott Dixon.
Honda’s are still struggling with drag and as we saw for the GP of Indy, have no chance of qualifying up near the top. The highest qualifying Honda for the race was Jack Hawksworth in 12th place. This makes what Graham is doing even more impressive. Graham dodged the turn 1 debacle cause by Helio and as I sat in turn 2, saw him pass at least 4 cars during that incident. He passed 3-4 more cars on the first pit stop and found himself in second place. Even though the Honda’s are at a disadvantage, Graham was never challenged by Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud or Sebastien Bourdais. In fact, with 15 laps to go, Graham had whittled Will Power’s lead from 3.5 seconds down to 1.9 seconds. He ended up only 1.5 seconds behind at the finish line. Now some may argue that Power had to conserve fuel, but from being at the track, Graham was driving aggressively yet being smooth and consistent. He was getting the most out of the car.
Graham has taken a beating on social media at times but I think it’s great to see where he is at this year. His engineering team looks to be ahead of the other Honda teams. IndyCar needs Graham to do well for the sport to continue to grow. Those who aren’t racing fans know the name Rahal and that will draw them to their televisions to see what this Rahal guy is doing. Steak n Shake and Maxim have to be extremely happy as well and as a fan, the sport needs companies like this to help market it and to attract other companies. So go to Steak n Shake, share your picture on Instagram and use the hashtag #IHeartSNS and you are entered into their Indy 500 contest. One last thought, how cool is that livery?