Changes Help Rahal Rocket to Top of Barber Warm-up

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By the Numbers: Warmup Results | Starting Lineup, Tire Designation

Homework paid off for Graham Rahal this morning at Barber Motorsports Park.

Graham Rahal led the race day warm-up session for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama this morning after qualifying 18th Saturday in the No. 15 Code 3 Associates Honda. Rahal’s top lap this morning was 1 minute, 6.7319 seconds, a tenth of a second quicker than his best lap in NTT P1 Award qualifying.

“It wasn’t even a great lap there, to be honest,” Rahal said of his best effort in the warm-up. “We ran primaries (Firestone black tires) the whole time. They seemed to hang in there pretty good. But to be honest, it wasn’t a big departure from last night. We thought our balance in qualifying was decent. It just didn’t have enough speed, just didn’t have enough overall grip.

“So, today we just took a couple of steps to help that, and I thought the Code 3 Associates car was significantly better from high speed to low. That was what we’ve been fighting. Low speed it would do one thing, and high speed it was looser than hell. You’ve got to try to find this medium ground, and it seems like we’ve made it a lot better.”

Live coverage of the 90-lap race starts at 3 p.m. (ET) this afternoon on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Rookie Romain Grosjean, who qualified seventh, was the second-quickest driver in practice with a top lap of 1:06.8616 in the No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda on the 17-turn, 2.3-mile circuit.

Four-time INDYCAR SERIES champion Sebastien Bourdais was another driver who made a big jump in the warm-up compared to qualifying. Bourdais, who qualified 16th, was third quickest in the warm-up at 1:06.8642 in the No. 14 ROKiT AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet.

Alex Palou continued his strong weekend with the fourth-quickest time in the warmup, 1:06.8654 in the No. 10 SEGI.TV Honda. Palou will start third. Conor Daly rounded out the top five in the warm-up with a best lap of 1:06.9186 in the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet.

NTT P1 Award winner and pole sitter Pato O’Ward ended up 10th at 1:06.9904 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.

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