#15: Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingFirestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, March 5, 2023

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 United Rentals Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a good day here in St. Pete. We went from P20 up to P6. I was able to pass some guys today, force some guys into mistakes. I thought our strategy was solid starting on those blacks and we were able to keep the reds underneath us. Obviously, there was a lot of yellows in that period as well but it still it worked for us with a strong black run to the finish. It was rewarding because when we had guys like Power behind me and others, we were able to fend them off and didn’t feel under too much pressure. The guys did a great job. Off we go to Texas.” 

  • FAST FACTS: Made his 16th start at the track and finished sixth… His best start here is pole in 2009 and best finish is a win in 2008 in his IndyCar Series debut – both history-making moments at the time as he became the youngest race winner in series history (2008), and youngest pole winner in series history (2009). Both records were eclipsed in 2019 by Colton Herta but he held them for 10 and 11 years, respectively.  Overall, he has earned one top-five and seven top-10 starts here and has two top-five and six top-10 finishes. Year-by-year details are available upon request… Has SIX INDYCAR SERIES wins (2008 – St. Pete street course; 2015 – Fontana Super Speedway, Mid-Ohio road course; 2016 – Texas Super Speedway; 2017 Detroit Race 1, Detroit Race 2) and three poles (2009 – St. Pete street course, Kansas oval; 2017 – Detroit Race 1 street) and his highest series season-ending standing is fourth place in 2015.

JACK HARVEY, No. 45 Kustom Entertainment Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a pretty disappointing way for our race to go there. I really couldn’t avoid Rinus and then just had a little bit of pain in both wrists when I was trying to get out of the car. Physically, I’d say it was a tough race but I felt great. The race was really playing out quite well for the No. 30 Kustom Entertainment car so it was a really disappointing end. I saw that Christian and Graham both ended up in the top 10 so that’s a great result for the team but I’ve been checked and released from the hospital.” 

  • FAST FACTS: The 2023 race was his sixth here. He was in 15th place when Rinus Veekay collided with the left-handed wall in Turn 4 and Jack had nowhere to go but into the back on Veekay. Kyle Kirkwood hit Harvey’s car and launched over it. He was transported to Bayfront Medical Center for further evaluation, where he was checked and released… He retired from the race in 22nd place.

CHRISTIAN LUNDGAARD, No. 45 Hy-Vee Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was a long and tough one with a lot of yellows and quite frustrating. We seemed to struggle a bit with getting the tires to work so every restart was just misery and survival. But, I think we need to be happy to have two cars in the top 10. It was unfortunate for Jack but I was glad to hear that he is okay. We got some points, but it was a tough race. We struggled with a lot of different things. Just before the race, the drink system broke so I didn’t have that during the race either. We struggled with some brakes and some gear shifts so it’s good to get points and get the car over the line. We saw a couple of laps to the end one of the cars retire with a mechanical failure so that’s good for us. I think the pace was really good towards the end so we’ve got to look at the positives but overall I don’t think we’re quick enough yet. We’ve got some work to do.” 

  •  FAST FACTS: 2022 INDYCAR Rookie of the Year Christian Lundgaard, 21, will begin his second season in the series in 2023 and attempt to better his top start of third place in Nashville and Portland in 2022 and his highest finish of second place in the July ’22 Indy Grand Prix. In St. Pete last year, he started 15th, pit for his second and final stop after cycling up to fourth place and finished 11th… He earned his best finish today at St. Pete of ninth place.