RLL driver Graham Rahal found some speed Friday morning in Detroit when he topped the first practice with a 1:15.3328 lap on the 13-turn street circuit. His best performance on Belle Isle was in 2015 when he started P5 and finished on the podium in third for Race 2. This weekend marks his 7th time running the event and he will continue to fight for the chance to drive the No. 15 Soldier Strong/TurnsForTroops.com Honda into victory lane.
Overall, it’s been a place I’ve had some success, which is nice. Today started off on the right foot. The car seems to be very strong, very competitive right off the trailer this morning. The first session, we didn’t even change anything. I mean, there was no reason to.”
Rahal’s afternoon session was also strong, running P2 behind the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevy of Helio Castroneves, a three-time winner at Belle Isle. Castroneves has just as many pole positions here but those stats don’t seem to be bothering the Team Honda all that much.
According to Honda-powered driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, the manufacturer battle is on similar ground this weekend,
“The competition has a leg up on us on with long road courses and short ovals, but it’s even on street circuits so the ball is really in our court.”
Sounds like the Honda drivers are carrying positive momentum from the Indianapolis 500 win and are prepared to make it two in a row. The season started out that way with Sebastien Bourdais winning the season kick off in St. Pete and then James Hinchcliffe claiming the win on the streets of Long Beach. Team Penske then took over with 3 wins in a row by 3 separate drivers.
Oddly, the only driver not to capture a win this season for Roger Penske is Castroneves. He has earned an additional two Verizon P1 Awards for his tally this year, however. And you can be certain that looks to make it three, later this morning!
Feature photo credit: Bret Kelley
In-post photo credit: Chris Owens