Rahal Pleased with Progress at tests

National Guard driver Graham Rahal completed back-to-back days of testing at the Milwaukee Mile and Iowa Speedway on Thursday and Friday and is confident the team is heading in the right direction, set-up wise for his Dallara-Honda-Firestone racing package.

Rain delayed Wednesday’s test at the legendary Milwaukee Mile to Thursday and, after a full day of testing, the team travelled to Iowa last night to test today. On Thursday Rahal ran 220 laps around the 1-mile Milwaukee Mile track where the Verizon IndyCar Series will compete in the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 on August 17.

“The Milwaukee test was okay, I think we found some good things that will help us on race weekend," said Rahal, who qualified second at the Milwaukee Mile in 2008 and 2009 and finished second in 2011. “I think we are learning still. Do we think we have it figured out yet? No, but I think that we’re learning and gaining on things. The guys are working awfully hard and we’re making big headway."

Today Rahal completed 143 laps on the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway oval and was even more optimistic about the progress. Last year at Iowa Speedway, Rahal won Heat Race 2 in dominating fashion to transfer to Heat Race 3 and qualified eighth. He started sixth in the race after engine penalties were served and charged from 10th to second on his second stint. He challenged for the win and led Lap 160 until the last 20 laps where he dropped to fourth while navigating traffic and then fifth on the final lap.

“Our test at Iowa was really, really good," added Rahal. “I think the National Guard car was the fastest car today by quite a ways. For comparison, we went one-half-of-a-second faster than we qualified last year and last year we were strong so I feel like we’re in a really good spot and I feel like the team is hitting their stride. I’m proud of the team; I think that we have great things ahead. I really do."

The next round of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series will be the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheaders on the streets around Reliant Park on June 28 and 29. Rahal finished second in Dual 1 of the previous weekend of street races in Detroit and will be joined by Luca Filippi, who will drive the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan entry with associate sponsorship from IMPCO and FightMSA.

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