“You’d be worried if (Rahal) was in a Chevy" - Will Power

Honda has struggled to match the pace of Chevrolet ... Well all, except one.

“You’d be worried if (Rahal) was in a Chevy" - Will Power
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Podium: second place Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and winner Will Power and third place Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Race start, Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet leads
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda
Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda
Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Enterprises

One of the common themes in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship has been the constant battle between Chevrolet and Honda and Chevrolet's consistent superiority.

Chevrolet has won four of the first five races, the only one going the way of Honda being the washout at the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana that led to James Hinchcliffe’s first victory since 2013.

This was a good day for Honda. But if we want to win, we’ve got some work to do

Graham Rahal

However, despite Chevrolet’s domination of the championship table with the top four positions in points and eight of the top ten, there is one Honda driver that is showing genuine championship form, despite the apparent lack of pace from that side of the garage.

An unexpected title contender

Graham Rahal has been the unlikely hero carrying the flag for Honda this season with two consecutive second place finishes at Barber Motorsports Park and also at Indianapolis. In comparison, not a single one of the Andretti Autosport drivers have made it onto the podium thus far.

“You’d be worried if he (Rahal) was in a Chevy. He would be absolutely a championship contender. He is now in a Honda,” said Will Power, winner of the Angie’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

“This was a good day for Honda. But if we want to win, we’ve got some work to do,” Rahal said with honesty.

Winning can come through many different avenues for the Honda drivers, even without outright pace to match Chevrolet.

“I try to make sure that I just do the best I can and not put a wheel wrong and push whoever the leader is and whoever’s around me as hard as I can and force them into a mistake, and if I can do that successfully then I think we can have a good day,” Rahal said.

At Barber Motorsports Park, strategy was led to Rahal's near-victory, but at Indianapolis, it was all about the car and the impeccable job being done in the pits.

“Strategy today wasn’t a huge factor, I think today was just good pit stops, good in and out laps, I think on our own we were pretty quick and that’s really what got us up there.”

Sato drives through the field

Rahal wasn’t the only Honda driver in the top ten as Takuma Sato finished in ninth place at Indianapolis.

Sato was complimentary about the Honda package but acknowledged that it isn’t easy to get it to go fast.

“Honda generates good downforce but to find a good balance is very tricky but hopefully we get there,” Sato told Motorsport.com.

He was, however, able to make it go fast enough to drive from 22nd on the grid to 9th by the time the checkered flag flew.

“I was able to overtake a couple of Honda cars on the track, that was great fun, on the direct battle with Chevrolet, we still have to work really hard to get closer but it’s encouraging to see [Rahal] on the podium and we did our best and I’m really proud of our result today,” Sato added.

shares
comments
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing shining as single-car operation

Previous article

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing shining as single-car operation

Next article

Tough weekend for Rising Star trio

Tough weekend for Rising Star trio
Load comments
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
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie Prime

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in CART Indy car for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular teammate Mauro Martini's passion for racing.

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review Prime

The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review

At the halfway point in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021