Rahal handed Indy 500 berth

Graham Rahal will start the Indy 500 in place of Stefan Wilson

Graham Rahal will start the Indy 500 in place of Stefan Wilson

Graham Rahal will line up in place of the injured Stefan Wilson for Sunday’s 107th running of the Indy 500.

Wilson had qualified 25th for the event but was forced out following a crash during Practice 8 on Monday – a session topped by Australian Will Power.

The Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (DRR) driver was involved in an incident with Katherine Legge, who’d ran high behind Wilson heading into Turn 1.

Legge was able to walk away from the clash while Wilson was taken to a nearby hospital where he was diagnosed with “a fracture of the 12th thoracic vertebrae.”

Scratched from the race, Rahal has now been handed a late reprieve after initially missing the grid in qualifying.

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To do so, he has switched teams, from the squad in which his father, and 1986 Indy 500 winner Bobby is a part-owner, to DRR.

“We are very sad that Stefan was injured Monday and now is unable to compete this Sunday in the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports/CareKeepers Chevrolet,” said DRR team owner Dennis Reinbold.

“Stefan put so much effort into this race that it is just heartbreaking for this to have happened.

“However, we are announcing that Graham Rahal will now drive the No. 24 car this Sunday.

“We have known Graham for over a decade as he drove our car in 2010 at Iowa Speedway.

“He suffered through a tough weekend here, but we believe Graham can perform very well this Sunday.”

Rahal added: “I’m very sad that Stefan was injured in practice on Monday. I wish him a quick recovery.

“I want to thank Dennis and Don [Cusick, team owner] for giving me this opportunity in the No. 24 car.

“I’m anxious to work with the team and prepare for the greatest race in the world, the Indianapolis 500.”

Rahal, who was a team-mate of Legge’s at Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL), qualified 34th, one spot shy of a race start with a margin of 0.007mph.

His qualifying run was hampered by a malfunctioning weight jacker which saw the 34-year-old bumped from the race.

With Wilson now ruled out, Rahal will take the start of the Indianapolis for the 16th successive time.

He’ll do so from 15th place in a field headed by Alex Palou, who recorded a record four-lap run to take pole position.

Rahal’s best finish in the event is third, achieved in 2011 and 2020.

A final two hours of track time is available to teams on Friday, ‘Carb Day’, before Sunday’s race, which gets underway at 12:45 local time (02:45 AEST).

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