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NTT IndyCar Series GMR Grand Prix

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INDIANAPOLIS — The beginning of the 2023 season is certainly one that Graham Rahal and his RLL compatriots would like to forget between getting only one top-five finish among their three drivers in the races leading up to the Indy 500, not to mention Rahal failing to qualify for the race.

All three RLL cars were among the four drivers in the Last Row shootout on the final day of qualifying for the Indy 500 last year, which was indicative of a bigger problem within RLL, according to Rahal.

“There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit, unfortunately, that was missed,” he said. “That’s part of the game. But it’s disappointing now to look back.”

After the “500”, Rahal said his dad, team co-owner and 1986 Indy 500 champion Bobby Rahal, did a deep dive into the team and made sure to quickly right the wrongs of their dismal performance at Indy.

“I’ve got to tip my cap to my dad,” Rahal said. “He was very motivated after May to get responses and immediate responses, and then from that, Steve Eriksen (RLL chief operating officer) has done an amazing job to put the plan together, and now to let Stefano (Sordo, team engineer) and his group implement the plan.”

The team was able to salvage their Leader’s Circle spots between Rahal and Christian Lundgaard who got his first win of his career at Toronto. Rahal also added a podium runner-up finish at Indianapolis in July after starting on pole.

Rahal now finds themselves in an interesting spot with IndyCar planning to introduce the new hybrid engine sometime during the season after this year’s Indianapolis 500. The rollout of the engine was delayed after it was initially planned to be implemented at the start of the 2024 season.

For Rahal, he is a bit guarded as they draw closer to the engine’s rollout.

“I 100 percent support it,” said Rahal, who is glad the hybrid rollout is being delayed.

“Personally, I think it was going to be a major detriment to the teams like Rahal Letterman Lanigan (if it had been rolled out to start 2024) who didn’t get to test it. It was going to be a major advantage to those who have tested it and had knowledge of it. So I’m glad to see them delaying it.”

Rahal is still a little wary of implementing it mid-season, but he is steering into the curve so to speak.

“I think it’s clearly the way of the future,” he said. “It’s clearly the way Honda wants to go. So we need to make sure it happens.”

Rahal re-upped his deal to stay with RLL for the foreseeable future during the off-season. He stays in a stable with Lundgaard and newcomer Pietro Fittipaldi replacing Jack Harvey in the No. 45 Honda.

The post Rahal: We Need To Avoid Missing “Low Hanging Fruit” This Season appeared first on WIBC 93.1 FM.

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