Graham Rahal Bumped Out of 2023 Indy 500 After Nail-Biting Duel Between Teammates

Today’s Indy 500 qualifying was as exciting, emotional, and intense as any form of racing can get.

byJerry Perez|
Racing photo

The last round of qualifications for the 2023 Indianapolis 500 delivered precisely what bump qualifying is known for: loads of drama. This year was even more so as three of the last four cars on the grid belonged to the Rahal-Letterman racing team, including Bobby Rahal's own son Graham. The second-generation racer sat last on the grid in 33rd with teammate Jack Harvey temporarily out of the race in 34th. However, with just 10 minutes to go, Harvey decided to do another run but failed to improve. And with just one minute left on the clock, Harvey and his crew mustered whatever courage they had left and decided to go for it once more. This time, they succeeded.

It was an admittedly tough moment for the organization, and a very awkward moment for Rahal Sr. given that one of his drivers had just bumped out his own son. Then again, it had been a tough moment for RLL since it showed up at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this month and realized it didn't have a competitive package. In the end, it came down to a mind-numbing difference of roughly one one-hundredth of a mile per hour between the two racers.

Cameras showed Rahal sitting in his car after seeing Harvey clock in a faster four-lap average, likely in shock and disbelief. Much like when Fernando Alonso got bumped back in 2019, it seemed that all of the media present at the Speedway rained down on him and Sr., almost forgetting to cover Harvey after his own miraculous feat.

As the old-timers say, the Speedway is a cruel mistress and she deals no easy blows. Ironically, this year marks the 30th anniversary of Bobby Rahal himself getting bumped from the 500. As you can see in the video above, he wasn't sure whether to appear happy for Harvey or gutted for his son—at least for the cameras. As a dad myself, I know how he was truly feeling inside.

Former IndyCar champ Alex Palou went on to earn pole position for Sunday's race, setting a four-lap average of 234.217 mph.

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