Graham Rahal awards banquet notes

Rahal Reaps Rewards For Great Star Mazda Season MONTEREY, Calif., Oct. 17 - At first, Graham Rahal held the $40,000 check made out to him and just looked at it. Then he showed it to his mother and other family, friends and teammates seated at...

Rahal Reaps Rewards For Great Star Mazda Season

MONTEREY, Calif., Oct. 17 - At first, Graham Rahal held the $40,000 check made out to him and just looked at it.

Then he showed it to his mother and other family, friends and teammates seated at his table at the Star Mazda championship awards banquet Saturday night in the San Carlos Ballroom at the Monterey Marriott.

"Look whose name is on it!" the driver from New Albany, Ohio pointed out.

Since he's just 16 years old - he became the youngest winner in the history of the Star Mazda series in July - all sorts of possibilities had to creep into his mind while holding the prize for finishing fourth in the national championship in his rookie season.

But Graham Rahal is more mature than most 16-year-olds, so it wasn't long before he handed the check over to his father, racing legend Bobby Rahal, to help defray some of the expenses of running in the series.

Rahal finished the season with one victory and six podium finishes in his first Star Mazda season with Andersen Walko Racing, which had three drivers in t he top 10 and two in the top five in the final points standings. His victory in the Bobby Rahal Automotive Group No. 12, which is also sponsored by Bosch, Renier Construction and Norwalk Furniture, came at Portland International Raceway in Portland, Ore.

He qualified second for the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and finished third in the race earlier in the day Saturday, before the banquet.

"It was a great year," Rahal said during his acceptance speech. "The team worked well together, and I have to congratulate Raphael [Matos], Robbie [Pecorari] and James [Hinchcliffe]," he added, speaking of the three drivers who finished ahead of him in the final point standing. "Now we'll go on from here and see what happens in the years to come."

Rahal isn't ready to announce his plans for the 2006 season, but they're sure to be exciting. Formula Atlantics and some endurance sports car racing seem like good possibilities, but when asked what he's going to race next year, Rahal's answer was typical of a teenager who has a bright future in front of him.

"Everything!" he said with a big smile.

Fans can find out what's next by checking grahramrahal.com and bobbyrahal.com during the off-season.

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Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Graham Rahal