Racing Series

VICS: Graham Rahal Angry with Tristan Vautier Following Hard Crash

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Shortly past the halfway point in Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway, championship contender, Graham Rahal, was forced in the middle of three wide into Turn 3 by Tristan Vautier – causing the Honda duo to crash heavily into the wall.

Rahal was, needless to say, ticked about the cause of the accident.

“Unfortunately just driving against a guy there who isn’t using his head,” Rahal furiously said. “He’s a part-timer, he’s trying to prove himself again even though he did mistakes like this his first year – lost his ride.

“Its a hard thing because I think Tristan is a talented guy. But in a position like that, you just don’t do that and you know better. Even [Scott] Dixon to go two-wide with me early in the race he’s like, ‘No, Ill just wait it’s 500 miles.’ Tristan, nope. Lets just stuff it in there, lets take that guy out. Even though we are already two-wide.

With a nine-point deficit to points leader Juan Pablo Montoya, Rahal was in a prime spot to gain valuable points before the season finale at Sonoma Raceway for the Verizon IndyCar Series in one week.

Rahal, however, was most disappointed by having a fellow Honda driver cause the possibly championship-ending contact.

“The real shame of it is it is a Honda that took us out,” Rahal said. “That’s the real shame because he probably just ruined Honda’s chances of winning a championship.”

The Dale Coyne Racing driver of Vautier made a late move to the inside of Rahal, sandwiching the American between himself and Justin Wilson.

The Frenchman believes it was a ‘racing thing’ and felt ‘really upset about the whole thing.’

“I was on the inside. From myself, there was nowhere to go at the apex,” said Vautier. “I feel bad because Graham is in the championship contention and you’re always the bad guy when this happens. At the same time, I was there and I could not disappear.

“I’m really upset about the whole thing, upset for Honda because it’s a big lose in points for the title.”

Following the crash, Rahal quickly exited his destroyed No. 15 and approached Vautier to voice his displeasure.

“Graham was obviously pissed, you know,” Vautier said of the on-track conversation. “I had a couple run-ins with [Rahal]  in my rookie season. I wouldn’t say we are best friends but you’re always going to be upset like this when you’re in a championship and you have as run-in with a guy.

“I think it was really a racing thing and I didn’t think it was completely a reckless move.”

Both drivers were checked and cleared from the infield medical center.

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About Zach Catanzareti

Zach Catanzareti serves as a Contributing Writer in the NASCAR department for Rubbings Racing and can be followed on Twitter (@zachracing) for the latest NASCAR updates. A native of Easton, Pennsylvania, he also follows IndyCar and Formula 1.

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