Graham Rahal feels ‘really good’ about Detroit Dual

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It could be argued that, nine years into it, Graham Rahal is coming off the best three-race stretch of his career.

The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver posted consecutive podium finishes for just the third time with runner-up performances at the Grand Prix of Alabama and the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Then he continued his one-man Honda renaissance with a his second career top-five finish in the Indianapolis 500.

Rahal has put himself fifth in the driver’s points through six races, and is 68 points behind leader and Indianapolis 500 champion Juan Pablo Montoya.

Now Rahal takes his No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda to Belle Isle Park for the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit.

“I feel really good about Detroit. I felt that if we could continue to stay close in points after Indy, we would have a pretty good opportunity ahead of us with as strong as we were in Detroit last year,” Rahal said in a release.

In 2014, Rahal led 10 laps around the 2.35-mile, 14-turn temporary street course and earned his only podium of the season in race one. In 2013, he finished ninth in both races. In six career races at Belle Isle, Rahal has an average finish of 12.2 and one DNF (2014, race two).

Rahal also enters the Dual with an average finishing position of 6.5 through six races.

“Detroit is a very similar place to St. Pete and obviously with it being a doubleheader, it’s a huge weekend for the championship,” Rahal said.

“This race is a one of attrition a lot of times because it’s a pretty bumpy track. I heard Roger (Penske, whose group promotes the event) has done a lot of great work up there to make the track conditions a little bit better. You have to be smart, patient and let it come to you. I think we did that pretty well last year and this year we’re going to have to do even better.”

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.