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2018 Point Standings
After Texas
Rank Driver Points

1 Scott Dixon 357
2 Alexander Rossi 334
3 Will Power 321
4 Ryan Hunter-Reay 308
5 Josef Newgarden 289
6 Graham Rahal 250
7 Robert Wickens 244
8 Simon Pagenaud 229
9 Sebastien Bourdais 218
10 Marco Andretti 213
11 James Hinchcliffe 209
12 Ed Jones 183
13 Takuma Sato 169
14 Tony Kanaan 157
15 Zach Veach 147
16 Spencer Pigot 147
17 Charlie Kimball 139
18 Gabby Chaves 138
19 Matheus Leist 133
20 Ed Carpenter 128
21 Max Chilton 121
22 Zachary De Melo 85
23 Jordan King 70
24 Carlos Munoz 53
25 Jack Harvey 53
26 Kyle Kaiser 45
27 Helio Castroneves 40
28 Rene Binder 39
29 JR Hildebrand 38
30 Stefan Wilson 31
31 Oriol Servia 27
32 Santino Ferrucci 18
33 Conor Daly 18
34 Danica Patrick 13
35 Jay Howard 12
36 Sage Karam 10
37 James Davison 10
38 Pietro Fittipaldi 7

Rookie of Year Standings
1. Robert Wickens 244
2. Zach Veach 147
3. Matheus Leist 133
4. Zachary De Melo 85
5. Jordan King 70
6. Jack Harvey 53
7. Kyle Kaiser 45
8. Rene Binder 39
9. Ferrucci, Santino 18
10. Pietro Fittipaldi 7

Manufacturer Standings
1. Honda 667
2. Chevy 564

Rahal outruns Helio to win the GP of St. Petersburg

by Mark J. Cipolloni
Sunday, April 6, 2008


A happy Graham Rahal on the podium
Scott Morris/AutoRacing1

In his very first IndyCar start, ex-Champ Car driver and now IndyCar 19-year old rookie Graham Rahal easily held off Indy Car veteran Helio Castroneves to win the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  Castroneves, winner of the last two races on the streets of St. Petersburg, had nothing for the teenage rookie from Ohio despite a late race caution that closed the field up.

At 19 years and 93 days of age Rahal became the youngest driver ever to win an IndyCar race (he scored an IndyCar win 74 days sooner than the previous record holder, Marco Andretti) and only the 4th driver in history to win an IndyCar race in his very first IndyCar event. 

The race was the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing driver’s first in the IndyCar Series, after withdrawing last weekend from the season-opening race at Homestead-Miami Speedway due to damage to his primary car sustained during a test session at the track. Rahal, who started in ninth, overcame a setback on Lap 37 when he made contact with Will Power to win the IndyCar Series’ first temporary street course race of the season.

Six of the top-10 finishers were Champ Car transition teams who just received their IRL Indy Cars and are unfamiliar with them.  Despite the handicap they showed just how strong they are in just their 2nd ever Indy Car race, which bodes well for the chase to the championship as rivalries develop between the two sides.

(L to R) Helio Castroneves (2nd) Graham Rahal (1st) and Tony Kanaan (3rd)
Scott Morris/AutoRacing1
The race started under yellow because of standing water on the track due to a pre-race rain shower.  When the track finally went green polesitter Tony Kanaan took the lead followed closely by Justin Wilson who leapt ahead of Will Power in Turn 1.

Kanaan held the top spot until a caution flag for a spin by Marco Andretti and Mario Moraes. Kanaan pitted as did several other drivers, thereby handing the lead to Justin Wilson who stayed out.

The rain had stopped and the track was drying but another shower hit the track on lap 20.  Meanwhile, Danica Patrick, who spun twice and was out to lunch all weekend since she lost her unfair weight advantage, was able to hold up race leader Wilson who wasn't able to get around her due to the wet track. Then a full course yellow waved (for no apparent reason) allowing Patrick to make up the full lap.

All the drivers that did not pit on the previous caution, did so this time around with several drivers switching over to slicks as the track was drying, including then race leader Justin Wilson.  Ryan Briscoe stayed out and inherited the lead, which he held until lap 46 when he pitted to change over to slicks on the drying track.

Marco Andretti also pitted for slicks but broke his halfshaft because he was spinning his rear tires when the car dropped off the jack.

When Briscoe pitted he turned the lead over to Ernesto Bernoldi who had already switched to slick tires.  Bernoldi held the lead for several laps before Ernesto Viso slipped past in Turn 1 and began to pull away.

On lap 57 Penske driver Ryan Briscoe, running in 6th, clipped the inside wall on a right-hander and that sent him hard into the wall on the outside, his day done.  The accident brought out another full course caution.

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal stayed out while all the other drivers pitted.  This put them in 1st and 2nd respectively.  With his father, co-owner of the rival Rahal Letterman Racing team, watching from the top of his team's pit box, the younger Rahal took the lead by passing Ryan Hunter-Reay, his father's driver, on a restart on the 65th of 83 laps.

Castroneves tried but he was no match for the 19-year old youngster from Champ Car
Castroneves eventually got around Hunter-Reay for third and the order stayed the same with Ernesto Viso close behind in 4th.

With 8 minutes to go in the 2-hour timed race Vitor Meira and Franck Perera got together when Perera tried to overtake Meira but did not get far enough alongside and took out a very animated Meira.  The accident brought out the race's sixth full course caution.  Townsend Bell also got caught up in the wreck when he came around the corner and clipped the front of the disabled car of Meira.

The track went green with 3 minutes and 47 seconds to go and from there Castroneves tried to apply pressure to Rahal but Rahal quickly opened up the gap and gave Castroneves a real driving lesson to win pulling away.


GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 06 Hole in the Wall Camps, winner of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg): (About Helio running in 2nd at the end of the race) “Obviously Helio (Castroneves) is very successful and has won a lot of races, but at the same time I knew we had the pace and I knew if I could just keep calm we could pull away. We were pulling away before and we were aggressively fuel saving, so I knew if I could attack the car we could pull away.”
(About the last lap) “First of all, there’s one more and you just don’t want your focus to get off of the car and the race, so for me I just needed to keep calm and make it through the last set of corners, especially since there was a yellow out on Turn 11. So I just wanted to be cautious, but I knew we had quite the gap so I wasn’t too worried. This has just worked out so well. It’s awesome.”

BOBBY RAHAL (1986 Indianapolis 500 winner and Graham Rahal’s father): “Do you think he’ll ever listen to any advice from me again? He really thinks he knows everything now. Slowly he will take advice from me. He drove a phenomenal race and the crew did a great job. The engineer gave him a great car. He was fast at the end. That’s the best conditions, a lot of people banging each other, and he kept it together. I’d hire him, but I can’t afford him. I’m really pleased. Pleased for him and pleased for the team.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, finished second): “It was so close. Team Penske did everything we could to get that car set up well, and I’m extremely happy to be a part of this organization. But in the slow section, the car was really pushing and I couldn’t take a chance. I’m happy because this proves that good teams with good drivers can do well. I’m extremely excited with the two series coming together. Second place is good. I wanted to win the race, but I’ll take it. In terms of the season championship, second is worth a lot.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, finished third): “Obviously things did not work out for us today. When you take risks, some days it works out for you, some days it doesn’t. We’re not very happy with our calls today, but I support the 7-Eleven team 100 percent because we win together and we lose together. Finishing third is not bad, but I think there is a curse on me here at St. Pete. I’ve finished on the podium every time I’ve been here but not in the right spot.”

EJ VISO (No. 33 PDVSA HVM Racing, finished fourth): “It went very well. We’re very happy. We know that we have the potential to be up there at the road courses. Now we just have to work harder on the ovals. I think the rain affected everybody. It was just about trying to keep the car in one piece and be as smooth as possible. There are many races left, and now we know that we can be at the top. We were almost as quick as the rest. We need to work a little bit more on the road courses and we will be on the podium soon.”

ENRIQUE BERNOLDI (No. 36 Opes Prime/Sangari, finished fifth): “I’ve been racing in the wet and the dry and changing situations my whole life, so I was used to it. I knew if I could stay on the track I could have a good race and fight for a win. I think after last week at the oval where I was so bad, I think it’s a big week for the whole team to be leading the race and to finish fifth. I’ve been out of open-wheel racing for more than two years. So it takes a while for me to get back. But I think this was good practice. Two hours in these conditions, it’s a big lift for us.”

HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream, finished sixth): “I was glad when the race started, but soon after I didn’t really know what was happening since it was so hard to see. The Formula Dream team gave me a great car in the dry condition, so I did my best to manage the car in the rain. When it started to dry up, I was looking for an opportunity to move forward and was able to make a good pass in the end. I enjoyed the race very much and I am looking forward to the next race.”

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 5 KV Racing Technology, finished seventh): “It was a decent race for the KV Racing Technology team, but one of those that leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth because we had a car that we could definitely fight for a win with, but it was such a crazy race.  Not only did it rain, but people were on slicks at different times and then we had all those breaks with yellow flags. It was a big gamble. There was no right or wrong strategy I think. But, good for Newman/Haas/Lanigan and Graham Rahal. They took a gamble and won. I finished in the same place I started. We had a better car than that, but the whole weekend and the final result were encouraging.”

WILL POWER (No. 8 Aussie Vineyard-Team Australia, finished eighth): “It was a pretty wild race because of the weather. To come back and finish eighth was very good considering where we were at one point. I am very happy for the whole KV Racing Technology team and the Aussie Vineyards-Team Australia crew. At least we bought the car back in one piece for the second race in a row.”

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 02 McDonald’s Racing Team, finished ninth): “I’m a little disappointed with the result but very pleased with the way that everyone has worked. I felt that the McDonald’s car was very quick and we are capable of winning. But circumstances didn’t work out, so if I didn’t win I was very pleased that Graham (Rahal) did. It is obviously a great car and he’s a great teammate to have. I am very happy that he was able to win in his first IndyCar Series start. I think we will see a lot more of Graham.”

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola, finished 10th): “We had an up and down race day. I am proud of myself for moving up in the positions at the end of the race. I was able to hold my own when we were on the wet tires. I think half the battle in races like these is just to stay out of the wrecks and to stay on the lead lap, which the Motorola car was able to do. We have some work to do. We need to fine tune our pit stops. We have to start putting it all together or we are not going to win races. Congratulations to the 7-Eleven team for making the podium today.”



St. Driver Team Chassis Laps Average Speed/Notes
1. 9. Graham Rahal-R Newman Haas Lanigan Honda Dallara 83 74.251 mph average, led 19 laps
2. 4. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Honda Dallara 83 -3.5192 seconds
3. 1. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green Racing Honda Dallara 83 -5.5134 seconds, led 15 laps
4. 15. Ernesto Viso-R HVM Racing Honda Dallara 83 -8.8575 seconds, led 12 laps
5. 18. Enrique Bernoldi-R Conquest Racing Honda Dallara 83 -9.6360 seconds, led 3 laps
6. 14. Hideki Mutoh-R Andretti Green Racing Honda Dallara 83 -10.0071 seconds
7. 7. Oriol Servia KV Racing Technologies Honda Dallara 83 -11.2871 seconds
8. 2. Will Power-R KV Racing Technologies Honda Dallara 83 -12.8439 seconds
9. 3. Justin Wilson-R Newman Haas Lanigan Honda Dallara 83 -14.3598 seconds, led 18 laps
10. 19. Danica Patrick Andretti Green Racing Honda Dallara 83 -16.7298 seconds
11. 24. A.J. Foyt IV Vision Racing Honda Dallara 83 -20.8319 seconds
12. 8. Dan Wheldon Target Chip Ganassi Honda Dallara 83 -24.7800 seconds
13. 11. Darren Manning A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara 83 -45.8601 seconds
14. 20. Jay Howard-R Roth Racing Honda Dallara 82 Running
15. 16. Buddy Rice Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara 82 Running
16. 22. Mario Moraes-R Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara 82 Running
17. 6. Ryan Hunter-Reay Rahal Letterman Racing Honda Dallara 81 Did not finish - fuel; led 4 laps
18. 21. Ed Carpenter Vision Racing Honda Dallara 80 Did not finish - spin
19. 17. Vitor Meira Panther Racing Honda Dallara 75 Did not finish - contact; led 1 lap
20. 10. Franck Perera-R Conquest Racing Honda Dallara 75 Did not finish - contact
21. 23. Townsend Bell Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara 75 Did not finish - contact
22. 13. Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Honda Dallara 74 Did not finish - damage
23. 5. Ryan Briscoe Team Penske Honda Dallara 56 Did not finish - contact; led 11 laps
24. 26. Bruno Junqueira Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara 44 Did not finish - transmission
25. 12. Marco Andretti Andretti Green Racing Honda Dallara 41 Did not finish - drive shaft
26. 25. Marty Roth Roth Racing Honda Dallara 0 Did not start - withdrawn

Race Statistics
      Winner's average speed: 74.251 mph
      Time of race: 2:00:43.5562
      Margin of victory: 3.5192 seconds
      Cautions: 6 caution flags for 29 laps
      Lead changes: 7 among 8 drivers
      Lap leaders: Kanaan 1-15, Wilson 16-33, Briscoe 34-44,
      Bernoldi 45-47, Viso 48-59, Meira 60, Hunter-Reay 61-64, Rahal
      Point standings: Castroneves 72, Dixon 62, Kanaan 59, Rahal 53, Andretti 53, Wheldon 53, Patrick 48, Viso 45, Servia 44,
      Bernoldi 42.

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