Rahal: RLL performance at Texas Motor Speedway “absolutely unacceptable”

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The PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway is a weekend that Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will quickly want to forget.

Graham Rahal, Christian Lundgaard and Jack Harvey had a torrid time as all three cars were miles off the pace of the front runners in both qualifying and the race.

Rahal was the best of three in qualifying, finishing 24th, but his two-lap average was over 2.5 mph slower than P1 man Rosenqvist.

It was even worse for Lundgaard and Harvey as they ended up second last and last in P27 and P28 respectively. Their two-lap averages were over 4 mph off the Swede in the Arrow McLaren.

The race was one of survival and trying to get to the flag. All three RLL cars were a lap down before the leaders had even reached lap 50.

A yellow for Sato’s crash put Harvey and Lundgaard back on the lead lap, but that wouldn’t last long as Newgarden and O’Ward swept them up by lap 96.

Into the final stages of the race, Rahal, Harvey and Lundgaard were all three laps down on the leaders in P18, P20 and P21.

It got even worse for Rahal — the winner at Texas Motor Speedway back in 2016 — when he crashed out of the race.

The 34-year-old was an innocent victim as he couldn’t avoid the damaged car of Devlin DeFrancesco. The Andretti Autosport machine came back up the track as he attempted to go to pit road following his hit with the wall on the exit of turn 2.

Although he briefly got airborne, Rahal did not end up in the catch fencing thankfully.

“Devlin did nothing wrong,” stated Rahal to NBC. “You see a guy on my outside who clearly wasn’t looking ahead — I can’t go out, I can’t go in. Unfortunately it’s just a racing deal.

“But I’m in one piece — I cheated Texas again. We move on to the next one.”

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | Joe Skibinski

Rahal then talked about the alarming lack of speed he and his teammates had throughout the weekend.

“Definitely frustrated. I think this entire weekend we expected a lot out of the Fleet Cost & Care Team — and none of us were in the window at all,” said Rahal.

“Our car setup was so bad the first two stints that it just took way too long for us to adjust and have the car come to us.

“For a team like us it’s absolutely unacceptable.”

Harvey and Lundgaard survived to the finish and came across the line in P18 and P19 respectively.

“The No. 30 PeopleReady car is rolling back into the trailer with four wheels on it and that is about as much as we could’ve hoped for today unfortunately.

“It’s been great having Fleet Cost & Care here this weekend so it’s a disappointing result for them. What else can you say? We’ve got a lot of work to do before the Indy 500,” Harvey commented on the race.

Christian Lundgaard echoed the comments of his stablemates.

“I think we should be glad that we at least got two cars home. We were struggling way too much. The car was all over the place and just lacking grip in general. You don’t know what the balance really is until it’s too late.”

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | Chris Owens