After setting a new record as the youngest winner in IndyCar Series history last year on the streets of St.Petersburg, Florida, Graham Rahal has now added "youngest pole qualifier" to his list of accomplishments, as he bested a 21 challengers Saturday in qualifying for Sunday's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Rahal edged his former Newman Haas Lanigan Racing teammate, Justin Wilson, by just five hundredths of a second in the third and final round of IndyCar's knockout qualifying, but Wilson and his Dale Coyne Racing team could take pride in the best qualifying effort to date for the small, suburban Chicago-based organization, which has been a mainstay in American open wheel racing for more than two decades. Tony Kanaan qualified third for Andretti Green Racing, with Ryan Briscoe fourth. Fifth-fastest Dario Franchitti and Will Power in sixth rounded out the final round of qualifiers.
Sunday's 100-lap season-opening race starts at 2:45 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on The Versus Network starting with a pre-race show at 2 p.m.
Graham Rahal (#02 McDonalds Newman Haas Lanigan Racing Honda) pole qualifier, 1st IndyCar Series pole, youngest pole qualifier in IndyCar Series history (20 years, 90 days):
“It's an exciting day for me and a great day for the whole McDonalds team. I obviously love St. Pete. It was good to me last year and it's great to be on the pole this year. We made some changes to the car prior to qualifying, and didn't know what to expect. But the car was good, the guys on my crew were working hard and it's great to be on top. I guess this place treats me pretty well.”