Rahal paces Barber warm-up

Image by Scott LePage/LAT

Rahal paces Barber warm-up

IndyCar

Rahal paces Barber warm-up

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Graham Rahal backed up the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team’s qualifying 1-2 by setting the fastest time in the warm-up session for this afternoon’s Honda Grand Prix of Alabama, topping Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi and a resurgent Josef Newgarden of Team Penske.

After heavy rain fell on Saturday night, the weather cleared to partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the high 70s for the warm-up, and the clear weather is expected to hold for the race, with temperatures rising into the low 80s.

Tire management was a key focus of the session. Team Penske’s Will Power, for example, went out on two sets of sticker black tires, running one lap each to scuff them sufficiently to make them “come in” more quickly during the race. Rossi ran a long stint on the option reds to explore their speed and durability.

“Track feels decent,” Rahal told NBC Sports. “My expectation is when the sun comes out we’ll probably lose some grip. We started out on old blacks to see how they’d do. I think our consistency is pretty strong so if we can get ahead, we should be in good shape.”

Zach Veach triggered the only red flag stoppage when his Gainbridge Honda went off course and stalled, fortunately without contact.

UP NEXT: Honda GP of Alabama, 4 p.m. ET

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