ELKHART LAKE, Wis (June 21, 2003) -- A 46-year-old family tradition at Road America was made even sweeter Saturday at the Briggs & Stratton Motorplex karting track when third generation racers Graham and Kyle Rahal scored main event victories in...
ELKHART LAKE, Wis (June 21, 2003) -- A 46-year-old family tradition at Road America was made even sweeter Saturday at the Briggs & Stratton Motorplex karting track when third generation racers Graham and Kyle Rahal scored main event victories in the Snap-on Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow action.
Following the family ritual that Mike and Barbara Rahal started in 1957 at Road America and was continued by their sons Bobby and Ian, the youngest Rahals -- 14-year-old Graham and 16-year-old Kyle -- competed and won in their first national event at the legendary racing facility north of Milwaukee.
Graham, the youngest son of the three-time Champ Car champion and the 1986 Indy 500 winner, drove a sensational wire-to-wire victory in the 22-lap ICC (125cc Shifter) karting feature on the eight-tenths of mile, 15-turn karting circuit in the 30-driver field. Kyle, the oldest of Bobby's younger brother Ian, was dominating in the 15-lap 80cc Junior shifter main event Saturday in his Birel kart.
"I was trying to pace myself throughout the race," said Graham Rahal, who set the fastest qualifying time and started second in the ICC feature due to his second place finish to Bobby Wilson in the pre-main event. "But I had to step it up at the end to keep my advantage. I think I had my fastest lap on the last lap of the race. I'm excited to win here with my cousin and because my family has raced here for so many years. I know my dad is happy too."
Young Cale Mead of Orilla, Ont., Canada was second to Rahal in the ICC final followed by Robbie Pecorari of Aston, Pa., who drove from tenth to third in a spectacular race. Fourth went to Phillipe Gelinas of Grande-Mere, Que., Can., and local Wisconsin favorite and pole sitter Wilson was fifth.
Kyle Rahal, a junior at Glenbard West High School in the Chicagoland area, led all 15 laps Saturday in the 80cc Junior division as he defeated Kevin LaCroix and Patrick Winninger.
In ICA direct drive action, Australian youngster Josh Hunt made an outstanding Stars of Tomorrow debut by upsetting BeaveRun double winner and J&J Racing teammate Pecorari in the 22-lap main event. Pecorari led early in the contest before Hunt, who raced in Europe last year, took over the top position to the checkered flag and the 28 other drivers. Third went to Michael Giessen followed by local favorite Steve Welk and Troy Hintzsche.
Frederico Montoya, younger brother of Formula 1 star Juan Pablo Montoya, was competing in the ICA division for the second time but the young Miami racer suffered trouble and completed only 14 laps Saturday.
Female race Susan McIlroy won her second Stars race of the year in the 15-lap Rotax finale Saturday at Road America over Tim Hannen and Sam Kimberley-Bryant. In the Junior Superbox class, Matthew Lee waged a tremendous battle with Ben Roberts before taking the win in the 15-lap feature.
In the Grand Products Cadet main, Sergio Pena was the winner over Andres Lopez and Crispin Beaver.
A complete Stars of Tomorrow kart racing program will be contested on Sunday (June 22) at Road America with qualifying and pre-main events in the morning and the finals set for 2 p.m.
The Stars of Tomorrow series continues next week (27-29) with the inaugural Dodge Freedom Grand Prix of Windsor in the streets of Windsor, Ont., Can., as part of the International Freedom Festival.