BELLE ISLE, Mich — Graham Rahal should be much closer to the championship now than he is. A pair of unfortunate circumstances have him -90 instead of being more in the mix. See, Rahal has had a top seven car in literally every race run this season. He was seventh in the season opener in Barber. He was fifth and third respectively in Texas. He finished fifth in the GMR Grand Prix. Then he had a pair of fifth place results this weekend on the streets of Belle Isle.
That’s three fifth place finishes in his last four races run including five top fives in the last six races on the NTT IndyCar Series season. The only reason to why he’s not further up is due to a mid race incident with Alexander Rossi on the streets of St. Pete while running near the top five. He’d finish 15th in stead.
Then for the Indy 500, he had the strategy, the car and the skill to win. He was going to either win or finish in the top two or three. Then, the tire comes off his car on the warmup lane following a pit stop on Lap 118. He’d finish 32nd in a double points race.
Those two events have him where he is right now when he’s driving as good as he ever has. This weekend further proves that.
Rahal, started 20th on Saturday but strategy went well to get him a top five. He went with primary tires on his first two stints. That meant he was the only one on Red tires at the end. That also paid off. The red tires are quicker and that Rahal was in the end in comparison to everyone else.
He pit on Lap 53 for red tires. Everyone else was pitting between laps 43-48. Rahal was among the last to pit and had a shorter final stint than most. That’s how he got away with his strategy and with skill and talent there he was earning another top five.
On Sunday, he qualified much better in ninth and drove his way to a top five.
His new teammate Santino Ferrucci ended up with another top 10 himself. He followed a sixth place finish in the Indy 500 with a sixth place run in Saturday’s race. He then came home 10th on Sunday. That’s three top 10’s in three tries with RLL.
There’s been rumors that this car is going to show up for more races this season. Ferrucci would like to be that guy in it. But, does RLL need to give tryouts to see who else out there could help this team?
Nothing against Ferrucci as he’s a hell of a talent but do they take a closer look at the two races cars hes torn up. Both were mistakes on his part and for a team trying to grow and expand to three cars, tearing up equipment can halt that growth.
Ferrucci crashed in practice for the Indy 500. He showed his talent in getting a sixth place run a week later. He ran the Firestone Reds very long on Saturday and even though strategy went against him, he still drove his car back up to sixth. On Sunday, he was looking fast and going towards a top 4 Rows starting spot. Then, he crashed and put everyone behind.
They had to use a backup car and he showed why if you have the money and resources, you can overlook the crashes because he took that car to a top 10.
So, what do you do? The kid has talent. He’s fast and has the aggression needed to win in this series. But, he may tear up cars in doing so. Can you overlook one for the other?