Andretti, Foyt, Rahal follow in fathers’ footsteps Life in the IndyCar Series can mean a lot of time on the road away from friends and family. For drivers Marco Andretti, A.J. Foyt IV and Graham Rahal, their famous fathers/grandfather are the reasons they started racing. And family is never far away at the racetrack.
Andretti, in his third season in the IndyCar Series, is the son of Michael Andretti, the winningest driver in CART history, and the grandson of Mario Andretti, the 1978 world champion. Marco drives for the Andretti Green Racing team co-owned by his father.
Foyt is the grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt. In his fifth season in the IndyCar Series, Foyt spent the first three driving for his grandfather’s team before moving to Vision Racing.
Rahal is a rookie in the IndyCar Series, driving for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. His father, 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, co-owns a competing team in the series, Rahal Letterman Racing.
All have grown up with added scrutiny due to their famous last names, but each relishes the opportunity to make their own mark in history.
“I think we all kind of feel the same amount of pressure,” said Foyt, who has 10 top-10 finishes in his career. We all have a lot to live up to. I think it's a little bit less pressure now that I'm driving for another team.”
Rahal eased some of that pressure with his first career victory in April at St. Petersburg.
“After St. Pete, it takes quite a lot of pressure off,” said Rahal, 19, who became the youngest race winner in IndyCar Series history. “Because a lot of people say, 'You're with a great team, but maybe you got out there because of your name.' And until you win, I think the question is always there. The question will always remain, though. Until I'm more successful than dad, I don't think I'll ever stop hearing about it. The problem is dad was obviously very successful, so it's going to be pretty tough to do that.”
Any pressure comes from external sources. As a family, the Rahals don’t always talk about racing.
“When we’re home, we try to be the type that it’s just a family and not talk too much about racing,” Rahal said. “If we do go to lunch or something, racing might be the topic for a while but usually something else comes up to get off on a different tangent.
“Golf has always been a huge part of my life. As a kid, with dad, it still is, it's something we enjoy doing together and we do quite a lot.”
As Father’s Day approaches, these young drivers are thankful for their heritage and the racing lifestyle they can share with their fathers and grandfathers every race weekend.
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