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Graham Rahal’s season doesn’t get easier

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach did little to ease an already difficult season for Graham Rahal.

Lacking a full-time ride this year, Rahal was hired to drive a couple of road-course races for driver-owner Sarah Fisher, including Long Beach. But the team struggled to find speed all weekend and Rahal’s race ended in a crash with rookie Mario Romancini.

“It’s been a disappointing end to a disappointing weekend,” said Rahal, who became the youngest winner in the Izod IndyCar series when he won his debut race at St. Petersburg, Fla., in 2008 at age 19. He finished 22nd on Sunday, the same spot where he started.

The question now is when or where Rahal, son of 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, might race next. Nothing definite has been arranged yet, he said, but “I’m working hard to get back.”

Patrick vs. De Silvestro

Danica Patrick and Simona De Silvestro, another promising female driver who’s in her rookie year, ran together nearly the entire race. But Patrick made a late-race pass to finish 16th, and De Silvestro was 17th.

“Today’s race was definitely challenging . . . it’s been a frustrating weekend all around,” said Patrick, who started the race 20th and is a teammate of race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay at the Andretti Autosport team.

De Silvestro, a 21-year-old Swiss, started 13th for Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing and acknowledged making the mistake of spinning her tires on a restart. But she said, “I learned a lot. We’ll see how the next one goes.”

Fast mover

In a race in which there was infrequent passing, Mario Moraes surged from a 15th starting spot to finish sixth.

“We were able to use the tires well and the car handled very good throughout the race,” said Moraes, 21, a Brazilian who drives for KV Racing Technology.

And finally

Ducks forward Teemu Selanne watched the race as a guest of driver Alex Tagliani and his Fazzt Race Team; Tagliani finished 21st. . . . In the second-tier Firestone Indy Lights series race that preceded the grand prix, James Hinchcliffe earned his first series win.

james.peltz@latimes.com


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