Graham Rahal rued the error that cost him victory at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday, with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver accepting responsibility for breaking his front wing against a backmarker’s car and allowing Simon Pagenaud to take victory.
Rahal looked to have the race in the bag, after a strong afternoon saw him on Pagenaud’s tail with ten laps to go and with six additional push-to-passes available to him, and indeed took the lead with a feisty move into turn six.
However, five laps from the end, Pagenaud got a run on Rahal to attempt to reclaim position, but Rahal misjudged his position compared to that of Jack Hawksworth, with the AJ Foyt Racing driver attempting to stay out of the way of the battling leaders. Rahal would break his front wing, and allow Pagenaud to pull away for the win.
“We let him (Pagenaud) off the hook a little bit today,” said Rahal. “We let one slip there and it’s frustrating.
“When we got in the front, I thought we could stay there. We had a great car and it was definitely the most consistent car in the long run and I knew I could put on a charge there at the end with Simon stuck in traffic but ultimately we came up just a hair short.
“Just had a brain lapse there for a second and I got into the back of Jack. He was making a nice gesture and letting us by. He went to the outside of Turn 5 so I thought he was going to stay there but he cut across.
“It’s my fault; I will regret this one later. Ultimately Simon had a run on me that lap anyway so who knows what might have happened but I felt I still probably could have come back but when I lost the front wing, that was that.
“Our right front flap broke on Lap 40 or so and we were running the majority of the race without it being as it should have been so it was a tough battle to stay with those guys in the first place.
“I’m proud of these Mi-Jack boys. They keep working hard and here we are. It’s a great result for us but we should have won today.”