IndyCar - Rahal Race Report
LEXINGTON, August 9, 2011: Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR) driver Graham Rahal finished 24th in the Honda Indy 200.
The Service Central team began the weekend on a positive note after leading Friday’s practice session for the first time this season. On Saturday, Rahal made his third appearance of the season in the Firestone Fast Six and qualified sixth on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio circuit, which is the "home track" of the Ohio-native.
After posting the second-fastest time during Sunday’s warm-up session, the Service Central team was feeling confident in a fast car when the green flag flew for the 85-lap race. Rahal maintained his sixth-place starting position throughout the first stint, but encountered trouble during his first pit stop when the No. 38 Service Central car was held up exiting the pit box in an effort to dodge a pit road melee and lost 15 positions, joining the field in 21st-place. The Service Central team reworked their race strategy and focused on moving through the field. Rahal was closing in on the top-15 when he made contact with another car while passing for position, causing the No. 38 Service Central car to spin and go two laps down. The incident resulted in a 24th-place finish for the Service Central team.
With the finish, Rahal remains eighth in the IZOD IndyCar Series points standings, 198 markers behind leader Dario Franchitti.
Up next for Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing is the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, August 14, 2011 (3:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS).
Graham Rahal: “It was a tough day for the Service Central team. The No. 38 Service Central car was really good during the first stint. I really felt like we were going to have a good day; it was shaping up really well. We came into the pits, had a good stop, then when I went to exit the pit box James Jakes was coming in and we hesitated. The team waved me and then stopped me so Jakes and I wouldn’t make contact and when I tried to stop the car, I stalled it. That put us way back. I went out to run the next stint and passed a couple of cars, but couldn’t make much headway on the blacks. Luckily, we were able to save fuel but we were on a longer run. I came in for my second pit stop for reds. Then, I went up into the keyhole and jumped ahead of Sebastien Bourdais and Danica Patrick, which I don’t know where they were but certainly four or five positions ahead of me. We were looking to make up that kind of time. Bourdais slipped underneath of me, but that wasn’t a surprise due to the fact that he was on warm tires. I filed in behind him and I think Danica tried to fill a hole that wasn’t there and I spun. It’s a shame because I thought the Service Central team had a great run going and were able to move up in the end.”