The Son Also Rises
Rahal, who started in the No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, corralled his second victory of the season and third of his Indy car career. The New Albany, Ohio, native closed to nine points of Verizon IndyCar Series championship front-runner Juan Pablo Montoya with two races left in the season.
Since earning his first victory of the season June 27 at Auto Club Speedway -- his first win since March 2008 -- Rahal has placed third, fourth and first to challenge for his first series title. Rahal is the eighth different winner in nine road/street course races this season. He picked up the lead for good on Lap 67 when the lead pack, including race leader Montoya, pitted under caution for their final fuel/tire service.
Rahal then fended off an amazing charge by Justin Wilson, Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon on a Lap 84 restart on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course following a full-course caution and went on to win by 3.4 seconds. It was clear immediately how special this win was for him as he was greeted in Victory Lane by his emotional father Bobby (who won here in 1985 and 1986).
Wilson, who started 14th in the No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda, placed a season-high second. Pagenaud also was a big mover in the race, advancing 12 positions relative to his starting spot in the No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet to finish a season-best third. Scott Dixon, a five-time winner at Mid-Ohio, started from the pole and finished fourth in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. He is 26 points behind Rahal in the title chase.
Montoya, who started 10th in the No. 2 Hawk Performance Team Penske Chevrolet and led 21 laps in the middle of the race -- including the 19 laps preceding his Lap 67 pit stop -- finished 12th. But the day belonged to Graham Rahal who celebrated and declared that only an Indy 500 victory would top this win for him personally.