Finishing 12th in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway wouldn’t have been Graham Rahal’s choice, but progress can be measured incrementally.
Rahal, driving the No. 15 National Guard car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, gained nine positions in the 248-lap race on the 1.455-mile, high-banked oval.
“To finish 12th feels relatively good but we expect a lot better for this team and myself,” he said. “We have a lot of oval testing coming up during the break before Houston, which is a good thing; we can work hard with it. I think our street course package is good so without a doubt I feel pretty confident that we can have really good races in Houston and be competitive."
Rahal advanced a total of 17 positions in the opening street course races at St. Petersburg and Long Beach, and turned his best qualifying position of ninth into a runner-up spot in the first of the Detroit races on May 31.
Helio Castroneves, the 2013 race winner, moved up six positions for his fifth consecutive top-10 finish. He retained second in the championship standings. Rookie Carlos Huertas also advanced six positions after qualifying 22nd.
Charlie Kimball and rookie Jack Hawksworth moved up five spots relative to their starting position. Kimball, driving the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing entry, has gained 33 positions over the past three races to claim top-10 finishes.