Graham Rahal on St. Pete circuit: It's a very demanding track

Earlier today, IZOD IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal, who joins the team co-owned by his father for the 2013 season, participated in a conference call to preview the 2013 season.

Were you able to take away some valuable lessons from your time at Ganassi Racing, and if so, how do you plan to apply what you learned over there here to Team Rahal? First of all, to touch on my experience with Ganassi. I really appreciated the opportunity that Chip (Ganassi), Mike (Hull), all the guys over there gave me. Certainly we had our ups and our downs. Through it all, I enjoyed the people I worked with.

It was a disappointment because I never won a race. Long story short, you learn from all these things. As a driver, my job is to No. 1 try to write that down, remember it and carry it on with me to every other team that I may come across. And certainly here at Rahal Letterman Lanigan, there's really not a lot I can teach them. I think that the team in its first full season back last year proved to be pretty damn impressive.

You're a past winner at St. Pete, and we are heading there to race in about two and a half weeks; what do you like about that street circuit and what are the keys to success or victory on that track? What do you have to do there to win? It's a place that it's easy to make mistakes and you have to be sharp and not put a wheel wrong. It's very easy, like the last turn, get a little too much oversteer, brush the wall, which I've done a couple times.

Graham Rahal, Letterman Rahal Racing
Graham Rahal, Letterman Rahal Racing

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

It's a very demanding track. It's bumpy in certain areas, smooth in others. It's hard to kind of get a handle on the car. You deal with a lot of painted surfaces, like on the runway and stuff that make it challenging, particularly if it's wet or dry. I'm very fortunate to have won that race and it's a place that just holds a special place in my heart to be honest. Obviously, my win there, my first pole there, but it's a great town, and when I go there, I just feel relaxed. It's a great environment.

Do you feel more at ease or more pressure driving for your dad? Does he feel more pressure, do you think, for the team to produce because it's his son in the car, or is it no different? You could classify pressure in so many different ways. I'm sure Dad, and I can tell you that because I know the amount of personal money he, Dave (Letterman) and Mike (Lanigan) have put into the team over the past six months, they want to win. They have always wanted to win.

I drove for Mike when he owned Newman/Haas, it was called Newman/Haas Lanigan for a while and I also drove for him in Formula Atlantic. Mike is like a second dad to me in many ways. So I'm sure they all feel the pressure to make sure there's nothing as an owner that they are doing that will limit us, whether it be financially or anything, from having success.

That said, should I feel more pressure or should Dad feel more pressure? At the end of the day, our goals are the same -- to go win. And I think that's what we are focused on doing.

Is there something you look forward to: The starts, restarts, the race format, push‑to‑pass, any of those things coming up on the 2013 season? I'm really looking forward to the doubleheaders. I think that's a great thing for our sport. I think we should do it at every road course, because I think it's great for the fans. They pay for their tickets to come out on Saturday and Sunday ‑‑ well, Friday, Saturday, Sunday in many cases. Might as well give them a show for all of those days.

I'm really looking forward to Pocono, I'm looking forward to Houston. I think that we have got a lot of great events on the schedule and I hope that there's going to be some more.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Graham Rahal
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing
Article type Press conference
Tags ganassi racing, graham rahal, indaycar, izod, rahal letterman lanigan, st. pete, team rahal