Rahal is about to start his 16thth the season is the highest level of U.S. open-wheel racing, as IndyCar kicks off in St. Petersburg this weekend. This is where Graham, the son of three-time champion Bobby Rahal, scored his first victory at St. Pete in 2008, but his sixth and final triumph came in Detroit five years ago.
However, as this year the RLL expands to three regular cars, and Jack Harvey and newcomer Christian Lundgaard join the team, Rahal believes the team has made significant progress.
“Off-season training has been very good,” he said. “As a team, we were a little late with the staff gathering that we had to switch from two to three cars, but I think our guys did a great job. We were very lucky not only to hire very good people, but also people who fit in very well with our system, people who fit in very well with all the other engineers and mechanics. I think one of the things we’re lucky with in RLL now is that the team itself has a great reputation and attracts a lot of young, good talent, and so we were able to add that this winter and are happy to go to the race. ”
Rahal went on to say: “My expectations and goals are the same as every year, only a little more intense. We want to win and we want to win right away. Saint Pete, here we are.
“I definitely believe we are a contender for the championship; we were supposed to be last year. Obviously a double points race in Indy  indeed, it hurts us a lot [when his car shed a wheel following a pit stop and crashed into the wall] but we’re just going to make sure we don’t have any more such accidents.
“I expect we will be in the championship fight.”
Asked what his thinking is this season, the 33-year-old is from New Albany, Ohio. replied, “My thinking changes as I get older. Every year is very important to me, every year it is very important that we go out and use it to the fullest.
“We try to take every opportunity we can and try to perform well, whether it is a test day or a race day. We want to be ahead and we want to be competitive.
“I felt like last year we finished our season very, very well and I think it sets us up well as we enter this season and try to continue that momentum. The guys did great in the pits, we fought very well and so we just want it to continue in St. Pete. We are thrilled; we feel that we are one of the cars that need to be defeated, and we feel that we will constantly go ahead and hopefully get some victories at the beginning of the season and will continue this momentum throughout the year. “
Rahal, who finished sixth in the 17-car test at Sebring last Monday, joked that his pace made him worry about prospects in St. Pete.
“The pre-season test in Sebring was very good for us,” he said. “There we were very competitive, which was abnormal, which makes me nervous because usually we’re not good there, but we go to St. Pete’s and we’re competitive.
“So I expect that we will be able to take what we learned there, which was a kind of continuation of what we started at the end of 2021, and I expect that we will go to St. Pete and be very strong …”
“It’s important for our team to learn to win again, and I say that because we were [in contention] a lot. We were in a place to win a lot. We have not been able to succeed on our side, so I certainly hope that in 2022 everything will change and we will be able to get these rebounds. “