Rahal understands significance of Long Beach A total of eight rookies will compete in the Champ Car race in Long Beach, but only three have never raced on the track: Robert Doornbos, Neel Jani and Tristan Gommendy. Four other rookies in addition to Graham Rahal competed in the Atlantic series here and hope to have a slight edge. Rahal may not have been born when the first Champ Car race was run on the streets of Long Beach but he understands the significance of the event.
“Long Beach is a historic event,” said Rahal, 18. “In a lot of ways it’s like Monaco or any of these types of events. Number One, being next to the ocean is awesome; people love it. The atmosphere of the city is great; they really get into the event. That’s why the race has become so popular. It’s been around so long that a lot of people not only enjoy going to the race but they also know when it’s going to happen and that they can count on it each year. For me, it’s an exciting event to go to. It’s tough to compare it to the Indy 500 but it’s got to be up there with the best events.”
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is a week-long street festival with plenty of activities for all ages. While most drivers are able to relax at the end of the day and partake in these events, Rahal will be balancing school with his racing duties – at least for another month.
“While I’m in Long Beach my high school career will slowly be coming to a close so I won’t have to worry about it too much but I do know there will be things I need to stay on top of since I will be missing school while I’m there,” said Rahal, a senior at New Albany High School in Ohio. “It’s going to be tough to keep up but I will try to do it early in the week and hopefully I’ll just be able to relax and focus on what I have to do on track later in the week.” NHLR
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