Rahal’s star continues to rise with another Indycar win

Graham Rahal blasted the IndyCar title fight wide open with a hometown win at Mid-Ohio on Sunday.

The Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver saw off a brief challenge from Andretti Autosport’s Justin Wilson on a restart with seven laps to go, and coasted away to secure the victory.

He picked up an extra point on the final lap for most laps led, bringing him to within just nine points of Juan Pablo Montoya with two races remaining.

“Honestly, for me, other than the Indy 500 this is the biggest race of the year,” Rahal said.

“To get this victory at a time when we really needed it … man, I don’t know what to say. This means more than my first win. This is everything.”

Wilson held on for second to secure a one-two for Honda, leaving Penske’s Simon Pagenaud to round out the podium.

The tone of the race was set by the timing of the yellows. Polesitter Scott Dixon held command during the first stint, only to be short-changed when the second caution period fell right before he was due to make his first stop.

That dropped him back into the pack, but was a huge boost for Montoya and Rahal, who had both made their stops right before the yellow and were cycled up to the front. Dixon would have to settle for fourth.

From there, Montoya maintained control of the middle phase of the race, and was preparing to make his final stop when Ganassi’s Sage Karam spun all by himself and brought out another caution.

This time, yellow flags were the last thing that Montoya wanted to see. Rahal and Dixon had already pitted, and he’d just been preparing to come in.

Indeed, both the nature and the timing of Karam’s spin have prompted a post-race investigation by IndyCar officials.

The stop under yellows dropped Montoya to the outer fringes of the top 10, and his aversion to risking further damage to his points buffer took the sting out of his defending during the final laps, leaving him 11th.

Further back, a lot of the day’s action involved Charlie Kimball, who went into the grass on three separate occasions following contact with Will Power, Ryan Briscoe and Stefano Coletti respectively.

RESULTS – 90 LAPS:

PosDriverTeamCarGap
1Graham RahalRahal Letterman LaniganDallara/Honda1h55m20.0864s
2Justin WilsonAndretti AutosportDallara/Honda3.4049s
3Simon PagenaudTeam PenskeDallara/Chevrolet4.5706s
4Scott DixonChip Ganassi RacingDallara/Chevrolet5.0293s
5Tony KanaanChip Ganassi RacingDallara/Chevrolet10.5943s
6Tristan VautierDale Coyne RacingDallara/Honda11.4414s
7Ryan Hunter-ReayAndretti AutosportDallara/Honda13.8958s
8Jack HawksworthAJ Foyt EnterprisesDallara/Honda15.0372s
9Carlos MunozAndretti AutosportDallara/Honda15.6116s
10Marco AndrettiAndretti AutosportDallara/Honda16.0094s
11Juan Pablo MontoyaTeam PenskeDallara/Chevrolet16.1321s
12Gabby ChavesBryan Herta AutosportDallara/Honda16.4962s
13Josef NewgardenCFH RacingDallara/Chevrolet18.0350s
14Will PowerTeam PenskeDallara/Chevrolet18.4290s
15Helio CastronevesTeam PenskeDallara/Chevrolet19.1285s
16James JakesSchmidt Peterson MotorsportsDallara/Honda20.1010s
17Sebastien BourdaisKVSH RacingDallara/Chevrolet20.5091s
18Ryan BriscoeSchmidt Peterson MotorsportsDallara/Honda20.8331s
19Stefano ColettiKV Racing TechnologyDallara/Chevrolet21.5426s
20Rodolfo GonzalezDale Coyne RacingDallara/Honda24.9667s
21Luca FilippiCFH RacingDallara/ChevroletSpun off
22Sage KaramChip Ganassi RacingDallara/Chevrolet1 Lap
23Charlie KimballChip Ganassi RacingDallara/Chevrolet3 Laps
24Takuma SatoAJ Foyt EnterprisesDallara/HondaContact

LEADING CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

PosDriverPoints
1Juan Pablo Montoya465
2Graham Rahal456
3Scott Dixon431
4Helio Castroneves407
5Will Power406
6Sebastien Bourdais379
7Marco Andretti378
8Josef Newgarden370
9Tony Kanaan354
10Simon Pagenaud329
11Ryan Hunter-Reay304
12Carlos Munoz303
13Charlie Kimball282
14Takuma Sato246
15Gabby Chaves229
16James Jakes227
17Jack Hawksworth226
18Sage Karam180
19Stefano Coletti171
20Luca Filippi170
21Tristan Vautier152
22James Hinchcliffe129
23Ryan Briscoe120
24Justin Wilson92
25Conor Daly81
26Ed Carpenter75
27Simona de Silvestro66
28Sebastian Saavedra61
29Pippa Mann59
30J.R. Hildebrand57

Rahal’s star continues to rise with another Indycar win

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