Rahal says IndyCar fans deserve raceday warm-up sessions

Graham Rahal says fans deserve to see the IndyCars on track as often as possible, which means reintroducing Sunday morning warm-ups at all tracks.

Rahal says IndyCar fans deserve raceday warm-up sessions

IndyCar ovals traditionally don’t feature morning warm-ups, with second and final practice coming after qualifying – usually at a similar time to the race the following day. But this year has seen IndyCar also deleting raceday warmup on permanent road courses, with the stated intention of giving a shorter working day for the crews.

However, when Motorsport.com asked Rahal if he felt the loss of raceday warmup sessions has hurt his team, particularly in a year when everyone’s trying to learn the new aerokit, he instead said the warm up should be brought back for the sake of the fans.

“When you have the crowd you have at Road America, you need to have a warmup. It's that simple,” he said. “Trust me, I love sleeping in, but when there's 80,000 people there… I mean, when I left the bus at Road America at 8 a.m., it was packed. People come to see us, so you need to be on track. It's that simple.

“Mid-Ohio, everybody was like, ‘Where were you guys? We came here to see you guys, there was nothing going on.’

“So that needs to probably change. It's just too important to have these cars on track for fans to enjoy.”

He also thought that an exception should have been made to traditional IndyCar methodology last weekend at Pocono Raceway, when the teams had only one hour of practice, followed by qualifying, before the race was green-flagged. Second practice on Saturday afternoon was canceled due to rain, and while there was ample time in the Sunday schedule to accommodate another hour of practice, that opportunity that was not taken.

“I'm fine at certain places with not having warmups,” said Rahal, “but I thought Pocono was a big mistake to not have a practice – and there was really no excuse for not having a practice. That was disappointing.”

On the subject of whether less track time had affected RLLR more than other teams, he replied: “Maybe a little bit. But I would say in a lot of places, we haven't started really on target, and when you don't start on target, you're just chasing. You really need to show up and just be in a good spot, and then it's just fine tuning from there on out. And we haven't been in that spot yet this season.

“You know, let's hope it will turn around. We've got, like I said, Portland, we've got a test there. As we go on from there, Sonoma, we have a test there. So hopefully we'll be a little better off.

“But there's a lot of elements that go into this. We've had opportunities this year, and it just hasn't worked out, and then we've had races where… it should have worked out and we shot ourselves in the foot. So it's been a little bit all over the board.

“I think everybody [on the team] is probably just a touch frustrated with the way it's gone, and that kind of leads to more mistakes and things like that. Just going to hunker down and finish this thing off as strong as we can.”

Rahal said that, despite RLLR’s slight fall from the level that saw him finish in the top six in the championship for the last three years, the team’s expansion to include a second car for Takuma Sato has been helpful, despite the 2017 Indy 500 winner’s different driving style.

“I think having the data has definitely been good,” he said thoughtfully. “You know, Takuma and I – I don't know that our driving styles are that different. I know what we're sensitive to is different. He’s more willing to hang on to a loose car than I probably am, on an oval in particular. Sometimes I worry about the rear and they're not as focused on it, and so that kind of leads us astray at times.

“But in general Takuma has been really good for us. I think if we can manage to just make that happen for next year and keep the same group together, I think it'll help us even further. Overall it's great to have two cars. For our team to have the growth and everything that we've had and experienced, it's been good.

“I think that we also together have been able to identify areas that we feel like we're just not that strong right now and where we need to work on and be a little bit better, so that will help us, as well.”

shares
comments
Gateway IndyCar: Rossi leads rain-interrupted first practice

Previous article

Gateway IndyCar: Rossi leads rain-interrupted first practice

Next article

Gateway IndyCar: Rossi leads final practice, Fittipaldi stars

Gateway IndyCar: Rossi leads final practice, Fittipaldi stars
Load comments
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021