Graham Rahal eyeing IndyCar title bid after Iowa recovery

Graham Rahal believes he can now overhaul Juan Pablo Montoya for the IndyCar championship title after moving up to second in the standings following a charging performance at Iowa Speedway

Graham Rahal eyeing IndyCar title bid after Iowa recovery

The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara-Honda driver lost two laps with a puncture on Saturday night, got back onto the lead lap then lost another lap at a pitstop while a gearshift problem was attended to.

Iowa IndyCar: Ryan Hunter-Reay takes first win of 2015

He then fought back onto the lead lap again and through to fourth place, bringing him to within 42 points of leader Montoya with three rounds left - including the double-scoring Sonoma finale - and 50 available for a win.

"Nights like [Iowa] are what build character, and what builds champions," said Rahal.

"It speaks volumes for this team that we are second in the points.

"We can win Honda a championship.

"We've got three more races to go and are going to two tracks I think we can be really strong at [Mid-Ohio and Sonoma], and Pocono.

"A day when the car wouldn't shift and we were down and out, but we were able to fight back shows what this team is made of.

"Hopefully we can keep it going for three more. I'm so proud of this team to be second in the standings. We're just going to keep our heads down and go forward."

Rahal's run of form follows two barren years in which he finished 19th and 18th in the championship.

His win at Fontana last month was his first since April 2008, and one of five podium finishes so far in 2015.

The American's progress in the championship at Iowa was helped by Montoya retiring when he crashed following a suspension failure, his first mechanical problem of the year.

"It's just disappointing, we had a good car, I was just taking it easy and biding my time," said the Penske driver.

"It sucks when it's completely out of our hands when something fails."

Ganassi driver Scott Dixon was on course to make the biggest inroads into Montoya's advantage as he ran third - a result that would have brought his championship deficit below 30 points - when he had to pit for repairs and lost 37 laps, ending up classified 18th.

"I thought we were getting a break with [Montoya] going out early, and then we had a weird problem with the right rear axle," said Dixon, who is still third in the standings, 48 off Montoya.

"The team did a great job getting us back out and that's all you can ask for in that situation."

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