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IndyCar Indy 500

Indy 500 Chevy switch from Honda won’t “trip up” Rahal, says Hunter-Reay

Graham Rahal is looking forward to a “fresh start” in today’s Indy 500, as new team-mate Ryan Hunter-Reay doesn’t think the switch from Honda to Chevy will “trip him up”.

Graham Rahal, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet

Rahal is subbing for the injured Stefan Wilson in the #24 Cusick Motorsports/Dreyer and Reinbold entry in the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Rahal, who failed to make the field in his regular Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car, only got a few installation laps on Thursday and two hours of final practice on Carb Day in D&R's backup car. Wilson suffered a fractured vertebra in a crash in practice last Monday.

“Everything is very, very similar,” said Rahal of his new ride. “Outside of the seat, everything else feels much the same.

“It’s an opportunity to fill a massive void in Stefan, temporarily while he goes through his rehabilitation here – it’s his seat, it’s his role. I’ll do the best I can for him this weekend.

“I’m excited, it’s a fresh start, a fresh lease of life for me this weekend and I’m excited to see what we have.”

Rahal has admitted that he’s limited in what information Chevrolet will allow him to see, as a full-time Honda driver in the IndyCar series, but new team-mate Hunter-Reay thinks it won’t adversely affect him.

When asked by Motorsport.com if he’d been through the Chevy owners’ manual with Rahal, Hunter-Reay laughed and said: “I’ve spent time with him, catching him up with everything that might be different, from how he describes his car to where we are with ours.

“It’s a lot to get done in a short amount of time but [regarding] the changeover to Chevy, I don’t think there’s anything that will trip him up.

“Graham has been a good friend of mine for many years but we’ve never got the opportunity to work together before, even though I drove for [Bobby] Rahal. It’s a great fit for many reasons: He’s really tight with the Wilson family, he’s current, and the only thing in the way was the manufacturer difference.”

Graham Rahal, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet, and Ryan Hunter-Reay

Graham Rahal, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet, and Ryan Hunter-Reay

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

On the subject of his new team-mate, Rahal said: “Ryan’s been great, I’ve always had a great relationship with him, and I think we’ve built up a strong partnership in these few days.

“On the engineering side, it’s pretty limited what I know and what I can know.”

Rahal has, however, been able to make changes to his all-important steering wheel buttons.

“It’s actually more straight forward than our steering wheel,” he said of his regular RLL car. “The buttons were not a problem, they did a good job to move some buttons to different places to help me, just mainly the pitlane speed control button is where my radio button was, you really don’t wanna press that at the wrong point, or release it or something!

“We made some small tweaks, but generally everything is very similar.”

Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, after being bumped from the Indy 500 field

Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, after being bumped from the Indy 500 field

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Although he has switched teams temporarily, Rahal is keen that his father’s team enjoys a better race weekend than in qualifying – when his car was bumped out by his own team-mate, Jack Harvey.

“I think everything is going to be fine there,” he added. “Clearly, it was a tough week, that’s not going to change, the salt is in that wound for sure.

“On the #15 car side, we just have to turn our attention to Detroit. I think they’re locked in on that. They’re already working towards that. And I certainly hope RLL has a very strong weekend.

“Let’s see what comes of the future, I’ve made it clear that my intentions are to continue on and make sure we put ourselves and RLL in a better position for success.”

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