IndyCar Series: Graham Rahal wins MAVTV 500 in Fontana
Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) has won the MAVTV 500 race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. It was Rahal’s second Indy career victory, more than seven years after his first win in April 2008 on the streets of St. Petersburg.
Rahal crossed the finish line as first in a race with a record breaking 80 lead changes among 14 drivers. Tony Kanaan (Chip Ganassi Racing) finished second and Marco Andretti (Andreti Autosport) was third.
The end of the race was under Caution because of the big crash of Ryan Briscoe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. They made contact in a pack battling for position coming to the white flag, which was showed after red flag period caused by contact between Will Power and Takuma Sato. The red flag was displayed on Lap 245 (of 250).
Will Power (Team Penske) was the man with most laps in the lead (62), ahead of team-mate Helio Castroneves with 43 leading laps. Rahal was leading just 15 laps but that was enough to clinch his career’s second victory.
“You don’t know how good this feels. It’s been so long coming, it’s awesome. I feel like this year we have been knocking on the door a lot. We’ve been so close and I feel like we deserved it before but hadn’t gotten it yet so to get this one feels unbelievable. Our weakness has been these ovals and I told the guys this morning that the next three races will define our year,” said Rahal.
The first half of the race was caution-free with 43 lead changes and heading for a record for all-time average speed. The first yellow came out on Lap 136 when the cars driven by Helio Castroneves and Briscoe made light contact on the backstretch. Five other caution periods followed, including two for debris. The previous record for lead changes had been 73 in November 2001 in a 500-mile race at Auto Club Speedway.
Juan Pablo Montoya (Team Penske) finished fourth to extend his championship points lead to 46 over Power. Rookie Sage Karam (Chip Ganassi Racing) earned his highest finish of fifth in his eight-race career. In Top 10 there was Scott Dixon, James Jakes, Charlie Kimball, Simon Pagenaud (started from pole) and Jack Hawksworth.
The next race will be ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 for two weeks at 1-mile oval in West Allis.
Check out all the latest results on SnapLap result pages.