Champ Car team to run Rahal at Indy? UPDATE Graham says he wants to race in the Indianapolis 500 in the coming years. In fact, he's a big proponent of as many Champ Car teams as possible making a serious effort to compete in next year's Indy 500.
"It's a dream of mine to race at Indianapolis," he remarked. "I was talking to my dad recently about the father-son combinations who have won this race and we think the Unsers are the only ones. So it would obviously be awesome to be the second family to do that. So personally, there's great motivation for me to race at Indianapolis."
Rahal believes some Champ Car teams could sell additional sponsorship based on competing at Indianapolis.
"I think the idea of Champ Car going to Indy next year with five or six drivers, or however many it may be, would be great for the Champ Car World Series," he said. "It would be good for the sponsors involved with those drivers because they would get the best of both worlds. They would get the Indy 500, which is the best in the IRL, and they would get Long Beach, Las Vegas and all our big events in Champ Car."
Any decisions about competing at Indy next year would have to be made soon so there was sufficient time for the Champ Car teams to test and develop their cars to be competitive with the IRL teams.
"I think we need to start right now, not at the end of September because by then we would already be too far behind," Rahal commented. "Look at Penske, Ganassi and Andretti-Green, and they're already well ahead of all the other IRL teams who are racing these cars full-time. At the same time, I think the caliber of the top Champ Car teams--Newman/Haas/Lanigan, Forsythe and Walker--are just as good if not better on their day than Penske and Ganassi.
"When everyone raced each other these teams were all very successful in their own right so I have no doubt these teams all can be very competitive at Indianapolis. But if we're going to go there next year we need to start working and testing now. We need to make sure we get wind tunnel testing and track testing so the teams and drivers are familiar with the cars because the IRL cars are a heck of a lot different from what we're used to.
"It's absolutely critical that we do these things with the IRL car if we're going to race at Indianapolis. They've made it clear that they're not making any changes to the car maybe until 2009, so if we got a head start now we could race these cars for a couple of years. Hopefully, we could be successful the first year, but even more so the second year." More at ChampCar.ws05/11/07 Rumors have circulated since last season that owner Bobby Rahal, involved in his sports-car team and 18-year-old son Graham's budding career in Champ Car, was losing interest in his IndyCar team. Not so, the 1986 Indy 500 champion said Thursday.
"That was spread by people who don't know," he said. "OK, so I did miss some races because of Graham, but he's my son. My children are the most important thing to me.
"But I'm here all week. Does that sound like someone who's disinterested?"
Rahal said no thought was given to bringing Graham to Indy this year, but he'd like to see it in 2008, preferably with Graham's Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Champ Car team.
"If it works out next year that they bring Graham here, I'd be very, very happy," Rahal said. "If they're not going to do it and release him (for the month), then I'd love to have him here running for us." Indy Star