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With both Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing drivers in the top eight in the NTT IndyCar Series standings, team owner Bobby Rahal has seen a resurgence of his team featuring his 30-year-old son, Graham, and 42-year-old driver Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato.
Earlier this season, the team swept the front row at Barber Motorsports Park for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama with Sato on the pole and Rahal second. The next day, Sato drove to his fourth career NTT IndyCar Series victory.
Rahal was involved in the big crash in the Indianapolis 500 that brought out the red flag with 24 laps to go. After that 27th-place finish, his season has been on the upswing.
Rahal finished seventh in both races in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix and raced his way to a third-place finish in the DXC Technologies 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
In the most recent NTT IndyCar Series race, the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America on June 23, Rahal finished fourth.
“I think Graham has had some really bad luck this year,” Rahal said. “We were fighting for the podium at Long Beach, but still ended up fourth. We had a good race at COTA (Circuit of The Americas), and we had a good race at St. Pete before he got a flat tire. He had a fast car at the Indy 500, and I think he might have been in the thick of the win, he was going that fast. He just needs some good luck.
“He needs a run of good luck, but the pace has been here. And, he’s a good teammate to Takuma.
“In the end, both cars are running strong and in the second half, that is going to pay some dividends.”
The team’s next chance to continue its momentum comes this weekend with the Honda Indy Toronto. The 85-lap race is Sunday at 3 p.m. on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts Radio Network.
Looking at the big picture of the NTT IndyCar Series, the team owner is very optimistic about the positive aspects that have happened in 2019.
“We are focusing on what IndyCar is all about, which is it’s authentic, it’s organic and it’s the fastest form of racing on earth,” Rahal said. “There is no gimmickry here. There are no three races in one race. There is no ‘(balance of performance).’ It’s go out and go as fast as you can. If you aren’t fast enough, that’s your problem and you have to figure it out.
“It’s pure. It’s the way racing used to be without all the gimmickry. I think people respond to that.
“We have great young drivers from all over the world that do a lot of things socially that bring new fans in. We are running on great circuits. The schedule is good. The racing has always been great. We have great leadership, great racing, a great TV partner.
“All of those things are good right now.”