Road America charge “feels in some ways like” a win – Rahal

Graham Rahal went for a long and productive drive on Sunday at Road America. His No.15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda improved 14 positions in the 55-lap race, turning a P22 starting position into a P8 finish, which happened to be one of the team’s top results of the season.

Having opted into an alternate pit stop strategy in the hope of moving forward, Rahal was the only driver to make use of the multiple restarts to vault from a poor qualifying spot outside the top 20 to crack the top 10 at the checkered flag.

“I thought the team did a good job and our pace versus the mileage we were having to get was really good,” he told RACER. “Up until the last yellow, we were pulling away from Scotty [Dixon, who finished P9] at a nice rate and had about three-second buffer and were chasing Felix [Rosenqvist in P6] and Scott McLaughlin [in P7] down, so I was thinking we were headed down the right path.

“It is what it is, obviously with the yellows stacking things up in the end, but It was a good day for us. It’s not a win, but it feels in some ways like it is for us with what we’ve been fighting through.”

RLL rookie Christian Lundgaard featured once or twice and ultimately landed in P10, his second-best finish of the year, and teammate Jack Harvey crossed the finish line in P13, matching his best of the year. As a trio, the RLL drivers improved 22 positions at Road America, which offered some encouragement as the team continues to search for front-running pace. Rahal, however, cautions against using the result as evidence the team has found big gains.

“I think with Christian, he’s just driving really hard, which is fine, but he’s driving a car that’s got a lot of snappy moments, a lot of oversteer moments, and he’s hanging on to it for now,” he said. “But you know, that’s just not that’s not something I’m going to do. I think the biggest differential this weekend is he’s okay with it, he’s more accepting of it.

“Jack and I, perhaps, aren’t as accepting and so we’ve got to get the cars to be to be better. Even my race car had some glaring deficiencies, but that’s okay. We’re trying stuff to see what works. We tried a little different setup today and we’re changing things up to try to learn, so that’s the progress we’re going after.”