Graham Rahal has been given a second chance for the 2023 Indy 500 as a replacement for Stefan Wilson.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s poor form in qualifying saw Rahal, the most experienced of the four drivers, bumped out of the show by teammate Jack Harvey.
Rahal had no intention of taking anybody’s seat in the Indy 500 having been knocked out as a full-time driver but a door opened in unfortunate circumstances.
Wilson, driving for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in a one-off entry, was involved in a two-car incident with Katherine Legge, another RLL car, during Monday practice.
The British racer suffered a fractured vertebra and has been withdrawn from the event, leaving his car needing a driver and Rahal needing a ride.
Honda and Chevrolet worked a deal to get the IndyCar race winner into the Indy 500 in place of Wilson, who qualified 25th.
First race for Chevrolet
“I’ll admit it was a very tough weekend for me and the United Rentals/Fifth Third Bank/RLL team,” said Rahal, who has never raced a Chevrolet-powered IndyCar before.
“We tried everything, and we just didn’t have the speed. I’m very sad that Stefan was injured in practice on Monday. I wish him a quick recovery.
“I want to thank Dennis (DRR owner Dennis Reinbold) and Don (Cusick Motorsports owner Don Cusick) 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.”
“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,” Reinbold added.
“Stefan put so much effort into this race that it is just heartbreaking for this to have happened. 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.”