Graham Rahal's father, Bobby, wasn't the winningest racer in the history of Indy, but he was one of the smartest, a wily strategist who eked out podium finishes in less-than-exceptional circumstances.
Graham turned in what might have been the race of his career at the Barber Motorsports Park yesterday, using a level of guile that characterized his father's success. Driving the #15 Steak 'n Shake Honda, which is cosponsored by your very own Maxim, the younger Rahal placed second behind the Joseph Newgarden.
Rahal was on an alternate pit strategy, and ran a longer second stint before pitting earlier for his final stop. He managed crucial outside passes on this notoriously tight track, and pushed harder towards the finish. If the race were a couple laps longer, he would likely have overtaken Newgarden.
This podium is Rahal’s first since finishing second at the first Detroit Grand Prix last year. As of this week, he is ranked 10th in the driver points standings.
“We could’ve gone way forward or way back, depending on how it went,” Rahal says. “I’m happy to say we went forward. I can not thank this team enough. We’ve had a couple of tough, tough years. But we’ve fought really hard.”
It's also been a good season for IndyCar. In the previous race, the 41st running of the Long Beach Grand Prix, 181,000 people descended on the sun-zapped grandstands that lined the streets. It was the highest attendance at this race in a decade, and a solid statement that IndyCar racing—with big name drivers, deep-pocketed sponsors, and hot new cars—is back on the map.
Up next: The 98th running of the Indianapolis 500. Maxim will be there.