0.008 seconds. That was the margin by which Graham Rahal won the Firestone 600 this weekend, marking the closest finish on record at the Texas Motor Speedway and the fifth closest in IndyCar history.
That’s as fast as the quickest-shifting dual-clutch transmissions take to swap cogs, or fifty times faster than the blink of an eye.
The thrilling finish proved well worth the wait for racing fans, who saw the event suspended back in June due to rain. It took 76 days to finish the race, then, but it didn’t disappoint. Including both portions, the race saw 14 changes for the lead between eight drivers.
With just 8 laps to go after the last restart, Rahal and rival James Hinchcliffe lead the race, followed closely by Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Simon Pagenaud. At one point on the fourth-to-last lap, they ran four wide across the track. But it all came down to the final lap.
Rahal pulled to the inside of leader Hinchcliffe through Turns 3 and 4, coming up alongside him. The two crossed the finish line neck and neck, but it was Rahal who eked out that photo finish to take the checkered flag.
It was the first win of the season for Rahal, and would have been the first for Hinchcliffe as well. But after leading 188 laps out of 248, Hinchcliffe had to go home empty-handed.
With the final races at Watkins Glen and Pocono still to go, Pagenaud is the front-runner in the standings. But eight others are still in contention: Will Power, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Rahal, Hinchcliffe and Carlos Munoz.