Graham Rahal had hoped to secure his second victory of the season at Sonoma Raceway but was forced to settle for second behind the new Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud on Sunday.
The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver felt he had a chance of taking the win, but found that whenever he got close to the Team Penske up front he was unable to stay there, and ultimately settled for second.
“For Steak ‘n Shake, United Rentals, Hyatt, PennGrade, all our other sponsors, and especially everyone we had here this weekend supporting us, it was a great way to finish the season,” said Rahal. “That means a lot. They have been supportive through thick and thin and they came out to support us today.
“We would have liked to get another win but we were struggling with the rear (of the car). Overall we had our ups and downs (this season) but I’m really proud of this team and proud to be the top Honda once again. We led the charge for them the last couple of years and they did a great job.
“I wanted to get (Simon) Pagenaud for the win but when I would get close, my car would get massively loose. I thought at one point that it was just best that I salvage a second place than do something stupid.”
As part of a one-car team, Rahal was happy to be competing with Penske, who run four cars in the championship, and feels they will go into the off-season feeling confident and looking to come back stronger in 2017.
“We’re a one-car team and obviously today we were fighting with the big boys – with Penske – who is the standard,” said Rahal. “To run like we did means a lot. It feels great to go into the off-season like this.
“Once again we proved that with the quality of the people we have in this organization, keeping their heads down and working hard puts us in the position to fight for wins.
“I’m proud and honoured to work with these guys. We will be better next year.”