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IndyCar Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race 2

Rahal admits IndyCar winner Dixon “is great at what he does”

Defeated IndyCar polewinner Graham Rahal says Scott Dixon “stole” victory from him in Saturday’s race on the Indy Road Course with his remarkable comeback drive.

IndyRCpodium

Dixon won on his record 319th consecutive start in the series, despite spinning to the tail of the field on the opening lap in a multi-car collision at Turn 7 that involved two of his team-mates.

After pitting on lap five, to get rid of his primary compound tyres, he was able to charge through the field on an alternate-tyred strategy – while saving enough fuel to make the finish without an extra pitstop.

Although Rahal chased him down in the final stint, Dixon held on to win by 0.4s to ensure his streak of winning at least one IndyCar race in 19 seasons continues.

“He certainly is great at what he does,” said Rahal. “This is the second one he's stolen from me. July 2020 race, it was the same finishing order. Nineteen straight years with a win doesn't happen by luck.

“There's nobody else that's anywhere close to that.”

Rahal paid tribute to his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team for running a “perfect” strategy that was only undone by Dixon’s brilliance and copious fresh alternate tyre availability after a poor qualifying for the Chip Ganassi Racing star.

“We played it perfect,” said Rahal. “On an ordinary day around here, we would have won the race.

“Obviously, the way that Dixon was able to get the mileage, the speed at which he was, having all the reds [alternates], had probably two new sets of reds and a used, so a lot of tyres to use. We weren't quite there.”

Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Rahal’s own tyre supply was restricted when one of his sets of alternates were deemed unusable for the race.

“I was worried a little last night that we didn't have three sets of reds to use,” he added. “We had a blister on the left-front qualifying set. Not really sure why. It wasn't a flat spot or anything. Unfortunately it made it so that set wasn't usable for us today.

“I knew that the two middle stints on black, I was going to have to drive the wheels off of it just to maintain my gap. We were able to do that and actually pull a little bit more of a gap.

“Again, Dixie, through that middle stint, all the stints had reds, just blacks to reds, chasing down the best ever to do this, it's not an easy thing.

“We got that last stint, and I knew we were going to have to make a lot of time. Catching him about 7/10ths a lap. Traffic came into play.”

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