Rahal loses ground in title fight after crash, attacks Vautier's driving

Title contender Graham Rahal was furious with Tristan Vautier and made sure he knew it at Pocono.

Rahal loses ground in title fight after crash, attacks Vautier's driving
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
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
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Tristan Vautier, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Tristan Vautier, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Tristan Vautier, Dale Coyne Racing Honda

Graham Rahal was far from pleased with Tristan Vautier after his three-wide dive to the inside ended with the duo crashing into the wall, dealing a significant blow to Rahal's title hopes.

At the time of the accident, he was running ahead of championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya. He entered this race just nine points behind, but leaves Pocono 34 off the Team Penske driver. His saving grace is that Sonoma (the season finale) has double points on the line. Still, he had some rather harsh words for the Dale Coyne Racing driver.

"He is not known as the sharpest tool around here," the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver said after leaving the infield care center.

I don't want to be the bad guy in this story

Tristan Vautier

"Unfortunately, just driving against a guy there who isn't using his head. He's a part-timer, trying to prove himself again. He did mistakes like this his first year, lost his ride and it's a hard thing. I think Tristan is a talented guy, but in a position like that, you just don't do that.

"The real shame of it is that it was a Honda that took us out. He probably just ruined Honda's chance at winning the championship."

Vautier defends himself

Vautier told TV that he had a strong run and felt he had the room and the time to make it work. "I felt like I was all the way alongside, I don't know, we were three wide and I don't think Justin knew that.

"I just tried to go down to the apron and brake, but it was too late. I feel bad that it is a championship contender and it was Honda.

"I feel really bad for the guys that crashed, we were looking to get to the end of the 500 miler. I didn't get any room. I feel bad. I don't want to be the bad guy in this story."

Rahal made a point of it to note that championship rival Scott Dixon raced him with more care than his fellow Honda driver did in comparison.

"Tristan - 'let's just shove it in here and take this guy out.' We were already two-wide. It was quite an impact.

"It hurts a lot. The likelihood is that Montoya will be on his game so we got some work to do. It just got a lot tougher. I knew this was a great opportunity for us. We were ahead of Montoya - just a few points, but that's all we needed. I just wanted to stay close.

"Now we're going to have quite an uphill battle and that's pretty frustrating." Afterwards, he tweeted...

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