Graham Rahal bridesmaid again in Grand Prix of Indianapolis

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Graham Rahal has a feeling and he’s definitely not hooked on it.

That feeling, commonly referred to as Déjà vu, is knowing you finished a race and had just one more car to get by. Rahal experienced it two weeks ago at Barber Motorsports Park and the wound was reopened Saturday by Will Power in the second annual Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

“A podium is a podium. It feels good,” Rahal conceded afterward, though he’s done anything but that on the track in the previous two races, finishing a combined 3.7 seconds off the leader. “I feel like I’m always second.”

He’s not wrong. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver has recorded eight of his 11 podium finishes since the 2011 season. His last six have had him standing in the second place spot.

Fellow podium finisher and pointer leader Juan Pablo Montoya tried to put it into perspective for Rahal during the post-race press conference.

“Some people would kill for a second,” Montoya said.

“It’s only been like seven years,” Rahal replied, referencing his one and only IndyCar win at St. Petersburg on April 6, 2008.

“Look on the bright side, it wasn’t luck,” said Montoya. “You had the pace.”

Rahal did have race pace. But after his qualifying effort of 17th on Friday, not many, including Rahal, thought his No. 15 Honda or any Honda, would have the day needed to suppress the Chevrolet engines.

It never rained and Rahal didn’t require its services. Thanks to a Lap 1, Turn 1 crash involving Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Jack Hawksworth and Josef Newgarden, Rahal was able to go from 17th to sixth before he made it to Turn 5 on the opening lap.

“I said I’ll go as far left as they can, I’ll have a great angle to cut to the apex,” Rahal said of his plan for the first turn. “Worst comes to worse I’ll do the shortcut. It’ll be fine. Sure enough it worked perfect. I saw smoke everywhere. Next thing I know I see (Scott Dixon). I got (JR) Hildebrand into four. That definitely went our way.”

Then a strategy of pitting a lap later than the leaders put Rahal into the top three and within reasonable distance of Power. He led nine laps during green flag pit stops, but afterward was never able to make up full deficit due to lapped cars.

“I feel good about it. We’ve come away from finishing first by like three seconds combined,” Rahal said. “This tiny little one car team is fighting with Penske and that feels pretty good.”

It should feel good, though finishing second is undoubtedly getting old.

Still, Rahal, now fifth in points with his single-car team, has multiple podiums in a season for the first time since the 2011 campaign when Rahal notched three with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series triples to 34 races in 2023

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023
Xtreme Outlaw Series
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After hosting 10 rounds in 2022, the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series 2023 schedule will more than triple to 34 races. The 2022 season featured seven different winners in the first seven races, a female racer in Jade Avedisian as the only repeat winner and Zach Daum as the champion.

“Dirt Midget racing is a growing entity in American motorsports, and the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota is proud to drive further into the growth of the division with both a diverse and lucrative schedule for 2023,” newly appointed Series Director Tyler Bachman said in a press release. “From the kickoff at our first indoor event, to each of the new tracks we’re set to visit next year, it’s a lineup we know both our teams and fans will enjoy.”

The championship purse fund has also more than double with an increase of $42,000 to $80,000 in 2023. The champion will win $25,000. Last year, Daum pocketed $10,000.

In addition, the series will offer tow money to the top 12 in points. Six drivers attempted to qualify for all 10 races in 2022 with 89 drivers attending.

The series will begin on March 10 at Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Ill. and end the same place it did in 2022 at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City on October 15.

During the season, they will visit 21 tracks in 10 states.

Some highlights of the season include the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series pairing up with the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars in 2023 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Mo. in April for the Outlaw Showdown and again in August for the Ironman 55 weekend, as well as the creation of a five-day Midget Speedweek.

The Midget Speedweek will immediately follow the Ironman 55 with a swing through Pennsylvania and New York.

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023 Schedule

Friday, March 10 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Saturday, March 11 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Friday, March 31 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.

Saturday, April 1 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.
Friday, April 14 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Saturday, April 15 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.

Friday, May 5 | Humboldt Speedway | Humboldt, Kan.
Saturday, May 6 | 81 Speedway | Park City, Kan.
Tuesday, May 23 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.
Wednesday, May 24 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.

Thursday, June 1 | Tri-City Speedway | Pontoon Beach, Ill.
Friday, June 2 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.
Saturday, June 3 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.

Friday, July 21 | TBA
Saturday, July 22 | Southern Illinois Raceway | Marion, Ill.
Friday, July 28 | TBA
Saturday, July 29 | Atomic Speedway | Chillicothe, Ohio
Sunday, July 30 | Brushcreek Motorsports Complex | Peebles, Ohio

Friday, August 4 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Sat, August 5 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Tuesday, August 8 | Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway | Newmanstown, Pa.
Wednesday, August 9 | Action Track USA | Kutztown, Pa.
Thursday, August 10 | Linda’s Speedway | Jonestown, Pa.
Friday, August 11 | TBA
Saturday, August 12 | Bridgeport Motorsports Park | Swedesboro, N.J.
Friday, August 25 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa
Saturday, August 26 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa

Friday, September 1 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Saturday, September 2 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Friday, September 15 | Jacksonville Speedway | Jacksonville, Ill.
Saturday, September 16 | Red Hill Raceway | Sumner, Ill.

Friday, October 13 | Port City Raceway | Tulsa, Okla.
Saturday, October 14 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.
Sunday, October 15 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.

* Co-sanctioned with POWRi