Graham Rahal says Pocono race will be vital in IndyCar title push

Graham Rahal says the penultimate IndyCar round at Pocono could prove more crucial than Sonoma's finale, in his bid to overhaul Juan Pablo Montoya and win a maiden title

Graham Rahal says Pocono race will be vital in IndyCar title push

The Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver moved from 42 points adrift to within just nine of the ex-F1 driver with two races remaining, following a hometown victory at Mid-Ohio.

Penske's Montoya was in control of the race until the safety car was called for a Sage Karam spin during the final round of pitstops, dropping the Colombian to finish 11th.

As Rahal looks to join his father, three-time champion Bobby, as a title winner, he acknowledges that while he's feeling confident about Sonoma's double-points finale, the last oval at Pocono on August 23 will be vital.

"You know, I feel very confident in this organisation," he said of RLL.

"To be nine points back, I feel pretty good. Because I do think we can be better than Montoya at Sonoma.

"Pocono, he won last year, so we're going to have to make sure we do a good job. Then again, the last big oval [at Fontana] we won.

"It's hard to say, but I do think we're in a pretty good spot now."

Rahal won a pair of IndyCar races in 2009 but had to wait until his first victory of this campaign at Fontana in June to add to his career tally.

The 26-year-old reflects that he "put so much pressure on myself to win" during that period, and he feels well-equipped to capitalise on the lessons learned over the coming month.

"You know, it's one of those things that I feel very confident I would have won a lot more races earlier in my career if I had the maturity and the racecraft that I do now," he said.

"I drove for some good teams and I had some quick cars, particularly 2009 with Newman/Haas, it was a great programme.

"If I had known what the heck I was doing then, we probably would have won some races.

"Seven years have taught me a lot, taught me to be a lot more thankful for the opportunities that have come throughout my career.

"Now it's my time to try to go win a championship for myself."

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