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Graham Rahal Upset With Romain Grosjean After Colliding Twice

Graham Rahal left the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama fuming at NTT IndyCar Series rival Romain Grosjean over contact late in the race. (Photo: Riley Thompson | The Podium Finish)

With four laps remaining in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, Graham Rahal and Romain Grosjean collided twice while fighting for seventh-place in the closing moments of the race.

Entering the race, it seemed like Andretti Autosport might be one of the favorites to take home the hardware in Alabama, especially with Grosjean, Alexander Rossi and Colton Herta showing top-10 speed all weekend.

While Andretti rookie Devlin DeFrancesco continues his NTT IndyCar Series education and learning the ropes of the series, his three teammates seemed poise to deliver a win.

Instead, Grosjean’s No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda delivered a blow to the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda.  Not once, but twice.

This angered Rahal behind the wheel as he shouted, “That guy’s a punk! He hit me on purpose!”

Grosjean claimed he didn’t hit Rahal on purpose, but compared the incident to traditional wheel-to-wheel IndyCar racing instead of something more malicious.

“Yeah, we touched a couple of times but it was good racing,” Grosjean said.

“It was tough out there. Barber is a very good track but tough to pass, especially when you’re in a train.”

Throughout the race, everyone wondered which strategy would prevail. Some teams decided to go with the two-stop strategy while others like Grosjean tried the three-stop strategy.

Romain Grosjean leaves Alabama with a top-10 result ahead of the most important weeks yet of his NTT IndyCar Series career. (Photo: Riley Thompson | The Podium Finish)

Sadly, for the No. 28 Honda, things didn’t go according to plan. Grosjean will try to put the incident with Rahal in the rearview mirror as the NTT IndyCar Series heads to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course for the GMR Grand Prix.

Last year, Grosjean won his first career IndyCar pole for the May event at the IMS Road Course and finished in second-place. He also scored another runner-up finish on the same track later in the year in August, so “The Phoenix” might be an early favorite to kick off the month of May at the Brickyard in style.

Rahal Fuming

Graham Rahal felt that Romain Grosjean crossed the line with his overly aggressive driving antics, with only a handful of laps remaining at Barber Motorsports Park. (Photo: Luis Torres | The Podium Finish)

Rahal and Grosjean clearly had different views on the incident that caused a bit of late race drama between the two Honda drivers. While Grosjean’s version was “unintentional contact,” Rahal believed the ex-Formula 1 driver knew what he was doing.

“I just think it’s clear when you watch the in-car camera, and look at the angle of his head,” Rahal said.

“I knew Romain was going to dive bomb me because I had already been warned that’s what he was doing. But look where he scraped me, why are you turning into me?”

Then, Rahal said it wasn’t the first time Grosjean has behaved like this, accusing him of hitting “everyone he could hit” during the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix at St. Pete.

Notably, Grosjean ran into the back of Takuma Sato during the first race weekend of 2022:

Rahal brought up Grosjean’s reputation from Europe as being the type of driver who often doesn’t always think about his bold moves on the track and the consequences that follow.

In 2012, Grosjean received a one-race ban in F1, after he was deemed at fault for a scary incident at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. He was involved in several other incidents throughout his F1 career.

“We’re learning his reputation quickly here,” Rahal said.

When asked if race control should do something about Grosjean hitting the No. 15 Honda twice, Rahal dared race control to react if he decides to get payback later on.

“When we go and punt him, they better not do anything to me,” Rahal said.

“Which in the past, I’ve been penalized for a lot less than that.”

Kobe Lambeth is a 2021 graduate of UNC Charlotte, who earned his undergraduate degree in Communication Studies (mass media concentration), with a double minor in Journalism and American Studies. In February 2007, he initially developed a strong passion for motorsports. His childhood dream is to work in the motorsports industry for a long time. In June 2017, his journey began as a freelance journalist and social media specialist for RockinghamNow, covering high school sports and leading a Twitter project. He was a part of expanded coverage of high school football within his local community. Through the use of Twitter, his team had a goal of significantly increasing the number of followers on multiple accounts. At The Podium Finish, he intends to provide professional motorsports coverage, focusing on series such as the NASCAR Cup Series, NTT IndyCar Series and more. He's also a Freelance Editor at NASCAR Digital Media and Multimedia Producer at GRID Network

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