MI-JACK CONQUEST RACING AND GRAHAM RAHAL SWEEP DOUBLEHEADER IN CLEVELAND Cleveland, Ohio, June 25, 2006 -- Graham Rahal and his Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team captured their second win of the weekend and third of the season today as Rahal led all...
MI-JACK CONQUEST RACING AND GRAHAM RAHAL SWEEP DOUBLEHEADER IN CLEVELAND
Cleveland, Ohio, June 25, 2006 -- Graham Rahal and his Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team captured their second win of the weekend and third of the season today as Rahal led all 32 laps of round-two of the Gehl Atlantic Championship of Cleveland. Ryan Lewis had to settle for 15th place after moving up as high as fourth and once again registering the second fastest lap of the race. With today's win combined to yesterday's victory, Rahal jumps up from seventh to third in the Championship standings, 12 points behind leader Andreas Wirth with six races to go this season.
Starting second behind Simon Pagenaud, Rahal had an excellent start and took the lead before heading into turn one. From that point on there was no looking back for the 17-year-old from New Albany, Ohio. He gained time on his competitors every lap and blew the field away with a 15.218 second lead over his closest rival, Richard Philippe, at the end of the 32 laps.
"I don't know how or why my start went so well, it just really did. From there we took off and everything went well. I didn't have problems with the traffic, I knew that with the gap I had I could take it easy coming up on slower cars and still maintain my lead," said Rahal. "It's awesome that I was able to move up like this in the championship. We're back in the hunt now. I always said that these double race weekends, they can put you in or they can put you out. This weekend it has just gone our way. I can't ask for much more. After Portland, I was wondering if I was ever going to catch up, and now we are within reach. These two races went our direction, the car was awesome and it made it really easy to do."
Ryan Lewis was having an amazing race and showing his speed. He moved up from his 13th spot on the grid to fourth and was catching up to the third place car of Pagenaud, but was a little too aggressive in the final chicane with five laps to go and caught the tires sending him off track, he finished 15th overall.
"The start of the race was good, I got held up by a few people like Danilo Dirani, my sparring partner back from British F3 last year. It was a good race, very encouraging. We had the pace, we were one of the quickest cars on the circuit for most of the race. It's just a shame that I managed to make contact with something yet again, said Lewis. "My front wing just clipped the tires in the last chicane and that ripped it off and obviously spat me up in the air and that was it really. Before that, the car was brilliant and I was closing in on everyone very quickly and I'm sure I could have finished second behind Graham on the podium. I'm really sorry for all the guys, they worked really hard this weekend and I managed to blow it away in one lap. We will see how it goes next race."
That next race will take place at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, July 7-9.