Notes: Rahal’s Road America car honors father, Honda

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Graham Rahal will pay homage to his father and Honda with the throwback livery on his car for this weekend’s REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR.

The black-and-yellow paint scheme on the No. 15 Gehl/Manitou Honda is reminiscent of the livery run by Graham’s father, three-time Indy car series champion Bobby Rahal, ran with Miller Genuine Draft sponsorship 25 years ago. The throwback also honors engine manufacturer Honda, which entered Indy car competition in 1994 as well.

REV GROUP GRAND PRIX PRESENTED BY AMR: Entry list

Rahal’s car will sport the “Powered by Honda” decal that the manufacturer placed on its competing cars when it first entered the fray.

“It’s amazing to think that Honda has been in Indy car racing for 25 years, but at the same time it seems longer,” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with David Letterman and Michael Lanigan. “I have fond memories of when the process began between myself and Mr. (Michihiro) Asaka in the late 1980s. We were so proud to join Honda on their historic entry into Indy car racing in 1994, and I remember how appreciative we were to be asked to rejoin them for the 2003 season and, of course, proud to bring them their first Indy 500 win in 2004.

“Honda and HPD (Honda Performance Development) deserve the success they have had over the years and so much credit for the commitment they have made to the sport. We are still working with some of the original members of HPD to this day and look forward to our future together.”

For his part, Graham Rahal is eager to wheel the throwback livery car around the high-speed permanent circuit at Road America. Rahal is fresh off a third-place finish at the DXC Technology 600 on June 8 and has a pair of third-place finishes at Road America.

“The Gehl throwback paint scheme is amazing,” Graham Rahal said. “It really looks tremendous and is just like Dad’s 1994 MGD car. The team did a great job with it and we’re thankful to Gehl for allowing us to do it. It’s also special to commemorate Honda’s 25th season in Indy car racing and the part that Dad had in that.”

The REV Group Grand Prix is the 10th of 17 races on the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series schedule. Action begins with three practices on Friday, each streaming live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold. Practice start times are 12:05 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. ET.

A final practice begins at noon ET Saturday (livestream on NBC Sports Gold). NTT P1 Award qualifying begins at 4 p.m. ET Saturday and streams live on NBC Sports Gold with a delayed telecast at 5 p.m. on NBCSN.

The 55-lap race on the 4.014-mile permanent road course airs live at noon ET Sunday on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

NBC Sports Gold is offering its streaming and archival services for the remainder of the 2019 season at a discounted price of $24.99 that runs through Jan. 31, 2020. That’s more than half off the original price of $54.99.

Pagenaud guests today on ‘Dale Jr. Download’ on NBCSN

Simon Pagenaud, the 2019 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner, is the guest on the newest episode of the “Dale Jr. Download,” a videotaped podcast hosted by retired NASCAR great and NBC motorsports commentator Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The episode airs at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday on NBCSN.

So much fun being on @dalejr’s podcast! He really knows how to make a chat with a race car driver entertaining 😂 and he didn’t even throw in many questions on my movie career in Talladega Nights 🎥 🍿Catch it tomorrow on NBCSN! pic.twitter.com/hWmZSQQM3O

Kanaan gives Liverpool soccer legend a real Rush at IMS

History met history on Tuesday as Liverpool legend Ian Rush visited Indianapolis Motor Speedway ahead of the legendary soccer club’s for preseason U.S. tour of matches, savoring an experience like no other.

Rush played 660 games, scored a club-record 346 goals and was a part of winning 17 various cups in his career with Liverpool, which spanned from 1980-87 and 1988-96. Rush was accompanied on his IMS visit by another great: Tony Kanaan, the 2004 NTT IndyCar Series champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner.

Tony Kanaan and Ian Rush on IMS yard of bricksKanaan took Rush for speedy laps around the famed 2.5-mile oval in a Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport. When the duo exited the car on pit road, the expression on the legendary soccer player’s face was telling: It was a rush.

“It’s a bit nerve-racking going around the (turns), and he was actually showing me where there’s been a few crashes,” Rush said. “I don’t think that helped. But it was a great experience and something I’ll never forget.”

Rush, 57, got the full IMS experience, from touring the IMS Museum and Pagoda to walking on the frontstretch, seeing Liverpool’s motto “You’ll Never Walk Alone” lit up on the scoring pylon and getting a chance to kiss the yard of bricks at the start/finish line. Gifts also were exchanged. Rush gave Kanaan a Liverpool jersey, and Rush was gifted a customized Liverpool racing helmet.

Growing up in Brazil, Kanaan said he followed soccer closely. While he lived in England, Liverpool was his favorite team, and the AJ Foyt Racing driver remembers watching Rush play.

“It was cool to show him around and meet a legend,” Kanaan said. “The guy, in his generation, he was the man. To take him around and see him uncomfortable in the car was cool.”

Kanaan said he enjoyed not only meeting Rush but getting the chance to show a fellow sports legend what racing is all about and why the Indianapolis 500 is such a historic event. He said raising awareness for motorsports and hopefully creating a new fan is a special opportunity.

“We get asked to do things a lot, but this was a must for me to come here,” Rush said. “I like cars and everything, but to go around this track with a top-notch driver is something special. I will definitely come back when the race is on. It was a great experience.”

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