IndyCar: Rahal’s charges propels him to lead at GP of Indianapolis halfway mark

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INDIANAPOLIS – Graham Rahal leads the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis through 41 of 82 laps, in the final tune-up race before the Indianapolis 500 two weeks from Sunday.

For the second consecutive race, it seems the driver of the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is turning in the drive of the day.

Rahal started 17th, but made it up to sixth following a frantic first lap fracas at Turn 1, and methodically moved forward to fourth.

He jumped both Simon Pagenaud and Sebastien Bourdais at the first pit stop sequence, although he lost a bit of time to polesitter Will Power in traffic.

Power led 34 of 41 laps, before his second stop on Lap 40. He resumed the net lead after Rahal pitted later, on Lap 42.

Power, Rahal, Pagenaud, Bourdais and either Luca Filippi or Juan Pablo Montoya spent the most time in the top five in the opening lap of the race.

The leaders now appear to be switching back from Firestone black tires to red tires for the third stint.

It has been a mostly clean 41 laps, save for the first turn of the race, which featured a debris field of aero kit shards.

Contact in Turn 1 involved Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Jack Hawksworth, James Hinchcliffe and Josef Newgarden. Castroneves and Hinchcliffe kept going while Dixon, Hawksworth and Newgarden were stopped in Turn 1, assisted by the Holmatro Safety Team, restarted and return to the field.

A lap later, Justin Wilson, Charlie Kimball, Hinchcliffe, Castroneves, James Jakes, Dixon, Newgarden, Huertas and Hawksworth pitted for wing changes. Wilson, Huertas and Hawksworth replaced their front wings, Newgarden replaced his rear wing, and the others replaced both.