CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Rahal Weekly Notes 98-10-08

Last Laps Down Under Though retiring Team Rahal driver Bobby Rahal has never missed an Australia race, but has never won one, either. Rahal owns three podium finishes while competing in all seven Queensland CART races to date. He finished runner...

Last Laps Down Under Though retiring Team Rahal driver Bobby Rahal has never missed an Australia race, but has never won one, either. Rahal owns three podium finishes while competing in all seven Queensland CART races to date. He finished runner up in the inaugural event in 1991, 3rd on his trek to the championship in 1992, and 2nd a second time in 1995. He has two other finishes in the points - a solid 6th in the maiden race for his short-lived Rahal-Hogan chassis and a 10th last year. "It's a really fun race course," Rahal said. "I've always loved street tracks. A street track is a driver's track, and this one is particularly tough. I've been second and third, but I've never won there. That's something I'd like to remedy this week."

Fanstastic Though Bobby Rahal is not terribly fond of the 18-hour plane flight from his home in Columbus, Ohio, to the land Down Under, he hasn't a single other complaint about this week's race destination. "A beautiful place and wonderful people," is how he describes Australia. "The Australian people are just the best. They really embrace the event and all of us. You really feel like they look at this race as something that's important to them as well as to you."

Curb Your Car Having lapped the Surfers Paradise street circuit enough times to know, Bobby Rahal offers these tips on getting around the 2.794-mile track. "Performing well at this track is all about how hard you're willing to hit the curbs," he said. "It has everything to do with your qualifying time. And since I've only been in the first two rows twice, I probably don't do it hard enough!"

Street Smart Team Rahal driver Bryan Herta has qualified in the first three rows of all but one of the six CART street races run thus far this season. One of those - Long Beach - saw Herta take his first-ever street-course pole.

Hard Luck For Herta Bryan Herta has had less than stellar luck in his three previous stops on the streets of Australia. He has failed to finish in all three CART series starts he's made Down Under. His 1995 effort ended with contact after only 28 laps. His 1996 start came to a scary, but thankfully safe, conclusion when a small fire broke out in the Shell pits during a mid-race pit stop. Herta suffered a broken radiator and a broken thumb after an accident with Parker Johnstone took him out of last year's IndyCarnival. "It's not been my most memorable venue," Herta joked.

Tired After running through the rain at Houston, Bryan Herta hopped a flight to far-drier Phoenix for a Firestone test at Firebird International Raceway. Herta and the team tried two dozen sets of tires over two days in the desert.

Museum Piece Bobby Rahal and sponsor Marlboro donated the Miller Lite driving suit Rahal wore in qualifying on the front row for his final Grand Prix of Long Beach in April to Southern California's Petersen Automotive Museum this week. The donation was made during a special ceremony at the museum, where the uniform will remain on permanent display with a unique and impressive collection of automotive and racing memorabilia.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Bryan Herta