Rahal delivers Ethanol message to Washington WASHINGTON D.C. - Rahal Letterman Racing and the IndyCar Series have been at the forefront of the use of Ethanol in 2007 as the series has become the first in racing history to compete on a renewable fuel source - in this case, 100 percent fuel-grade Ethanol. Friday, RLR co-owner Bobby Rahal was part of another historic first as he became the first Indianapolis 500 winner to address the exclusive National Press Club in Washington D.C.
Rahal was the keynote speaker at Friday’s National Press Club luncheon, addressing the packed house on the benefits of Ethanol, how it has performed in the IndyCar Series as well as in the team’s two Indy Cars and its American Le Mans Series GT2 Porsche, and also shared stories about his career, his automotive dealerships and the career path of his son Graham, who currently competes in the Champ Car World Series.
The three-time series champion gave a 25-minute speech to the assembled media, which included representatives of many of the major news gathering organizations of the world. Upon the conclusion of the speech, Rahal answered questions from the media representatives, touching on topics ranging from Ethanol to the state of open-wheel racing.
“I was pleased and honored to be chosen to address the National Press Club, and to have the opportunity to speak on the same stage where I have seen many of the world’s leaders and dignitaries share their thoughts,” Rahal said. “The Ethanol message is truthful, we are at the forefront of what I think will be a major initiative to lessen the dependence on foreign oil and I was especially excited about sharing that message with media that we don’t normally get the chance to address at the racetrack.” Rahal was joined on the dais by Indy Racing League CEO and founder Tony George along with Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) Executive Director Tom Slunecka. Along with the exclusive media gathering, top executives from the Bobby Rahal Automotive Group were on hand as was a large table of Denison University alumni, who journeyed to the nation’s capital to support their fellow Denison graduate.
The 24-time Indy Car race winner touched on a few highlights of his 20-year career in beginning his speech, before educating the gathered media on how racing and the Indianapolis 500 has long been at the forefront of automotive innovations - of which the use of Ethanol is another cutting-edge effort.
“If you look back, the very first Indy 500 winner developed the rear-view mirror, which has helped saved countless lives,” recounted Rahal. “Fuel-cell improvements that were pioneered at Indianapolis have become standard in passenger cars, and we feel that Ethanol has the potential to be the latest in a long line of passenger-car improvements that were brought about through their applications in open-wheel racing.” After the program, Rahal was then whisked to a waiting television studio, where he filmed a segment for Bloomberg News, which aired as part of Friday’s Money and Politics show. The team owner, who also scored an Indy 500 in 2004 with Buddy Rice at the wheel, will now turn his attentions to Indianapolis as the Rahal Letterman Racing team prepares for the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500, for which practice begins next week. The Memorial Day Classic will be run on May 27.