Graham Rahal 'unlapped' himself twice after two different problems.
Rahal started 17th in his eighth race in Iowa and was 10th when he had to pit early due to his right rear tire deflating and went two laps down to the leader. Later he got back on the lead lap and reported a shifting issue on Lap 98/300 that slowed his return to the track from his second pit stop after having to reboot and he dropped a lap down again.
Later in the race, the team took advantage of a caution period to pit for fuel and new tires which would enable them to go further than the leaders on the next stint and possibly pick up a yellow that would put them back on the lead lap.
While leading and with five laps to go before they were forced to pit for their last stop, Sato brought out a caution period and the team stopped for fuel and tires. Due to the reoccurring shifting issue, he had to leave the pits in sixth gear rather than first and returned to the track in eight place, and on the lead lap. The race restarted with 23 laps to go and Rahal moved from eight place into fourth by Lap 294/300.
He held his position and finished fourth and moved to second in the series point standings with 403.
Graham Rahal, No. 15 Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “That was my hardest race ever. First we had the right rear go down and then the car just wouldn’t shift. You don’t know how tough that is around here when you’re in traffic and you need to go down to fifth, fourth gear at times and I couldn’t do anything. It was a killer for me. We were quicker than (winner) Hunter-Reay, that’s for sure, which is frustrating. When the car was working right, we passed all those guys but dude I’m spent. I’m ready for a good beer and a nice sleep.
The car was good, very competitive, very consistent tonight over the long run and that’s what helped me. On my starts and restarts I tried to be a little aggressive and go high (on track) there and it worked out for me. Nights like tonight are what build character, and what builds champions so I hope we can get there. It speaks volumes for this team that we are second in the points.
We can win Honda a championship. We’ve got three more races to go and are going to two tracks I think we can be really strong at, and Pocono. A day like today when the car wouldn’t shift and we were down and out but were able to fight back shows what this team is made of. I think that is something I have learned in my time in this series. Hopefully we can keep it going three more. I’m so proud of this Mi-Jack Steak ‘n Shake team to be second in the standings. We’re just going to keep our heads down and go forward.”