Quote of the Day

Posted by Iannucci | 2/14/2008 | 26 comments »
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Ah, the folly of youth.

"I used to say specifically that I wanted Champ Car to live and I wanted the IRL to die off, but the truth is, the IRL isn't going to die off because they've got the Indy 500. Right now, the way I look at it we need to have one series, whatever way we can achieve that." - Graham Rahal

Gee, we're looking forward to seeing you too, Graham.

Seriously though, the kid is just a teenager but he's already figured out "the IRL isn't going to die off because they've got the Indy 500". That alone puts him in the upper percentiles of the Champ Car crowd. Now if he can figure out WHY the Indy 500 is so popular we'll buy that young man a tenderloin.


  1. Anonymous // February 14, 2008 3:37 AM  

    One would hope Graham recognizes the importance of the Indy 500 to a driver's career. It was obviously very important in putting his father's name on the map. Without his Indianapolis victory, would we still be talking about Bobby Rahal?

    It's a good sign.

  2. SS Minnow // February 14, 2008 5:15 AM  

    Bobby Who? Think about it. Without that victory, there's no appearance on Letterman..... Follow it from there. From Graham's viewpoint- nice job dissing your Dad and wanting his business to fail. When does it happen so the whole (In my best James Earl Jones voice) "Graham, I am your father" conversations can happen?

  3. Fred Hurley // February 14, 2008 6:19 AM  

    Eh, I give him a pass. His dad's pretty clearly not an IRL true believer, and we're all the product of what we hear when we're growing up. Now, with talk of a merged series adding more street or road races, we'll see how he feels once it's done. He's just a kid.

  4. Anonymous // February 14, 2008 6:48 AM  

    Ah, the impetuousness of youth. To be nineteen again and know everything about everything. . . .

    To be fair to young Graham, he was in CCWS in the hopes of riding success in that league to an F1 seat. However, I think young Graham has suddenly realized that unless your last name is Andretti, there's no way in HELL F1 is going to take an American driver in the near future (thank you The American Scott Speed). We don't even know if F-1 will return to the US anytime soon.

    At least Graham grasps that he's on the strongest team in a rapidly shrinking field. If N\H\L comes over, a good run in the Indianapolis 500 (akin to Marco's rookie run in 2006) can put his name up on the board and in the media. If he, N\H\L, and his old man play the angles just right, he can be The Next Big Thing in the IRL.

    IF I can't have Unser 3.0 vs. Andretti 3.0, I'll take Rahal 2.0 vs. Andretti 3.0.

    Now Young Master Foyt needs to step it up, and we may have something. Of course, if Danica! takes a win or two this year, all bets are off. ;^)

  5. Doug // February 14, 2008 7:40 AM  

    Yeah, we all would be better off if we'd written everything down when we were 19 and still new it all. :)

    Seriously, though, I can see where his opinion comes from. He's in a struggling series that sees the IRL as the source of its woes. I do hope that he can overcome his prejudices and come race in the IRL and the Indy500. The more talent we have on the track, the better the racing will be for us to watch.

  6. SS Minnow // February 14, 2008 8:01 AM  

    I'm cool with Graham and looking forward I think he would make a great addition to the series. Besides, who doesn't like the Father/Son/Grandson stories to promote? Jones, Unser, Foyt, Vuky(uno, dos, tres)- heck, even Luyendyk with his limited "success" in ICS. Remember the buzz around his Indy qualifying? ANY angle for promotion would be a positive.

  7. Puretone Audio // February 14, 2008 8:17 AM  

    One can only hope and pray that somehow Bobby manages to ruin his son's career and that Graham ends up hating his dad like every other Rahal-Letterman driver of the last 10 or so years...

  8. The American Mutt // February 14, 2008 8:48 AM  

    That's not entirely fair. Vitor and Danicas career wasn't ruined.

  9. Johnny // February 14, 2008 10:26 AM  


    Something the Duke and I have been tracking for about a year now is the curious relationship between B. Rahal and BMW. He owns dealerships and both parties do well there, and all the sudden Graham was on the little BMW F1 Roadshow that hit Vegas a few months ago doing burnouts downtown in a *real* F1 car. Now we hear that RLR is partnering with BMW to return the M3 Coupe to the ALMS GT2 class, which after a year's absence and many years since relevance, will be a monumental challenge. I wouldn't write off Graham at least wringing out some test rides over at Sauber, especially if they do any driver shuffling in the wake of their recently surprising non-performance. It could happen.

  10. Fred Hurley // February 14, 2008 10:30 AM  

    Though at this point, aren't they pretty happy with Heidfeld and Kubica?

  11. Johnny // February 14, 2008 10:49 AM  


    Yes, but now that we know F1 contracts can be traded and such, they may double down and trade one of those guys off if the car keeps up its under performance and shoot for younger talent. I don't think that will happen, it just could somewhere down the line. Also after doing that Vegas thing, I think a shot at a few test rides on a private track or something wouldn't be completely out of the blue. North America is a hugely important market for BMW (and F1, if you talk to the factories and sponsors) and I could see corporate putting some pressure on to let an American at least sniff around a little.

  12. Anonymous // February 14, 2008 11:22 AM  

    The importance of the Indy 500 should not be exaggerated. It is a top event in the US but it has very little international exposure.
    President Tony George was again confronted with this reality last weekend in Japan.

  13. Anonymous // February 14, 2008 11:39 AM  

    Well well well, looks like Graham Rahal has lost his freakin mind! I thought Bobby would tell the boy don't go there. I'm not a fan he ruined that one for me. I hope he gets beat by Danica in his first race he's in contention to win and I'm not a Danica fan at all!

    Punk, lol.

    Oh and why did it take him so long to realize that? Do they not talk "shop" in their house?

  14. Anonymous // February 14, 2008 12:33 PM  


    First off, welcome back. We must apply pressure to Jeff and Dog to do one of those there podcast\webcast things on all the recent Open Wheel craziness. I volunteer to call in as an irate listener. According to my wife, I can also play the Cliff Claven style "know it all". :^)

    Secondly, I read the BMW announcement differently than you and Duke. Forgive me all, but I took it as "Well, if the IRL doesn't work out, we DO have the ALMS." That said, I do know that RLR has one solid car for the IRL (#17 driven by Ryan Hunter Reay, backed by Ethanol). Also, I did see posts on Graham Rahal taking a run in an F1 car last fall. I took that as "Hey, give my kid a ride for some publicity". Another leap might be if Graham didn't have a ride in CCWS, well, he could drive road courses for his father in ALMS

    (What, a father hiring his son to drive for him? Never happen!)

    While I can see Bobby using his BMW connections to get a Sauber test for his son, do you really think that Graham has an honest shot at F1? Unlike the Andretti clan (and let's leave that horrid 1993 season Michael had out of this for a moment), Rahal didn't exactly set the world on fire from his time in F1 (2 F1 starts for Walter Wolf in 1978, when some guy named Mario took the title). So there's not the lineage that runs through the family name. Secondly, he's had one season in CCWS, with a top finish of 2nd in Houston last year. Other than two starts in A1GP, he's been primarily a US based driver. As I said in my earlier post, I can't see having an American driver in F1 right now as a priority as F1 doesn't seem to be interested in the US for now. I would imagine there's a pool of hungry European and Asian born drivers Sauber could pick from.

    I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

  15. Johnny // February 14, 2008 12:50 PM  


    We're working on a talkcast for the near future, it's just that right now things are shifting so rapidly it would be out of date within about 28 minutes of being posted. I'll keep everybody informed of when we are going to do it though.

    The US is more important to F1 than Bernie Ecclestone would have you to believe. There are too many international sponsors who do mega business here (ex. ING) or who are based here (ex. ATT, Intel) to simply ignore the States. And beyond that, for Mercedes and BMW (and to a much lesser extent Ferrari), F1 was one of their major forays into their core US markets for both advertising and VIP massage, and they have both very audibly criticized the decision to pull out, as has Frank Williams, who carries some weight with F1. Eventually in some capacity, they'll be back.

    But specifically in Graham's case there has been some interest shown by both sides and again, I'm not suggesting that he go straight into a race seat, and I didn't mean for my previous post on the subject to imply that. I think he could maybe get some tests and a little help getting into a GP2 ride and be given a chance to show his stuff on actual F1 circuits.

    While your analysis on the RLR ALMS record isn't incorrect per se, remember they fielded a Porsche last year with middling results so to take on a car change like this so abruptly to me seems indicative of more than just a customer/manufacturer relationship. BMW want a stronger presence in the ALMS and RLR do too, so if that "synergy" works out, who knows what it could mean for Graham down the line?

  16. Anonymous // February 14, 2008 2:03 PM  

    mr. anonymous,

    I do believe the Indy 500 has a lot more international exposure than you would think.

  17. John in Speedway // February 14, 2008 7:57 PM  
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  18. John in Speedway // February 14, 2008 8:00 PM  

    I still think the Indy 500 is the greatest race in the world, and I will always get the chills at the start of the race. The fact is, if you look at the history of the 500, there were ups and downs. People argue that the 500 isn't what it once was. Well guess what? The track was abandoned and basically turned into a woodsy weed filled meadow during the 40's. Hell, they were going to demolish it. (Enter: Wilbur Shaw and Tony Hulman). The 500 is on it's way back up, just like it has done over and over again for over a century. Up years, down years, it's all cycles, and hopefully this "acquisition" goes through. We are already on our way back up hill either way.

  19. Anonymous // February 15, 2008 3:39 AM  


    Amen. Great post. Sometimes I think I'm the only one who still gets chills down his spin on race morning.

    --another John

  20. SS Minnow // February 15, 2008 7:11 AM  

    Ditto that, gents. Also, nothing like the smell of pork tenderloin and Italian sausage at 8:00 AM on Georgetown knowing what's in store later.

    Might be a good time killer while we wait for news. "Things We Love About the 500"

    Is it May yet??

  21. Fred Hurley // February 15, 2008 7:39 AM  

    Arial bombs, going off as the front row hits the short chute.

    The very end of Pole Day, with a driver taking the go-ahead from the steward just before the gun goes off, knowing that this is the run, and it'll be the only one.

    Bump Day, watching an underfunded and undermanned team, having rebuilt the entire car through the night after a practice crash, making a last-second run to put it in the field, knowing they have next to no chance, yet trying all the same, because it's Indy.

    Late in the race, the final round of green-flag pitstops, knowing that everything we've been watching develop can suddenly be turned on its ear by a single mistake.

    Watching with my Dad, as a little kid, sitting in the shop, in my little go-kart, with the Indycar body, and the Little Al Valvoline paint scheme. You know, back when go-karts didn't have the #20 Home Depot paintjob.

    Watching Buddy Lazier will himself out of the car after his win, wondering how good that milk was going to taste to him. All with a shattered back. Hey Jimmy, "Who needs milk?" You do, my friend.

    "Back home again ... in Indiana."

    "And now, to give the most famous command in racing, Mrs. Mary Fendrich Hulman."

    All of those damn engines screaming to life, crying out to be released.

    The gladiatorial walk down Gasoline Alley during introductions.

    Knowing that every year for the last four, the winner of the Coca-Cola 600 has congratulated the Indy winner while in victory lane, and has mentioned that they always thought they'd be running there someday. Kasey and Jimmie, you SO should have ended up in Indycars.

    Sorry this was long-winded. God, I love it.

  22. Anonymous // February 15, 2008 12:43 PM  


    That gave me goose bumps!!

    I just mailed in my insurance and liability waivers for my IMS credentials for May at the speedway.

    May had BETTER happen this year!

  23. John in Speedway // February 15, 2008 12:43 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  24. John in Speedway // February 15, 2008 12:44 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  25. John in Speedway // February 15, 2008 12:45 PM  

    If you anyone is from Indy and is really into the mystique of the 500, I recommend taking a 4 week class hosted by the IMS official track historian Donald Davidson. It meets once a week, for four weeks, and the class is held once in the fall, and once in April at the Brickyard Hotel. Donald Davidson has the greatest stories of the 500 you will ever hear, and some of his stories will give you the same feelings you get when you attend the race. It's only around $60 or $70.

  26. Fred Hurley // February 15, 2008 12:52 PM  

    Glad I could help. :-)

    I am so hoping some unexpected drivers show up this year, if only for the raw human drama.