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How is Graham Rahal back in the Indy 500?

We go over how Graham Rahal came to replace Stefan Wilson in this year’s race and what to expect from the driver this weekend.

Graham Rahal, driver of the #15 Rahal Letterman Racing Honda, drives during the NTT IndyCar GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 13, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

This year’s Indianapolis 500 will be held on Sunday, May 28. The biggest weekend of the IndyCar season comes from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and will start at 12:45 p.m. ET on NBC. Several events lead up to the race on Sunday, including practice and qualifying. The latter resulted in Graham Rahal missing out on his chance to participate in this year’s race. Yet, he has still found his way back into the field.

During a practice session on Monday, Stefan Wilson was sent into the wall of Turn 1 and suffered an injury. Wilson is now dealing with a fractured thoracic vertebrae and will, at minimum, miss this weekend’s events. Rahal was tagged in as the replacement driver.

This decision came as a surprise for the racing world. Rahal is known for driving for Honda, while Wilson’s team utilizes a Chevy. There were several things the two parties had to get on the same page regarding sponsorships since they drive for two different racing teams. The benefit of Wilson’s team going with Rahal is a loophole that works in their favor. When replacing a driver, if they went with someone who hadn’t been on the 2.5-mile circuit within the last month, that driver would have to go through a refresher program ahead of Carb Day on Friday. Since Rahal took part in qualifying and was just unsuccessful, he allows them to avoid having to run this refresher adding wear and tear to the replacement car.