RACE: National Runoffs: Graham Rahal race report

Rahal Wins SCCA Formula Atlantic National Championship At Runoffs Friday at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio, Sept. 23 - Following in his famous father's footsteps, Graham Rahal of New Albany, Ohio won the Formula Atlantic national championship at the...

Rahal Wins SCCA Formula Atlantic National Championship At Runoffs Friday at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio, Sept. 23 - Following in his famous father's footsteps, Graham Rahal of New Albany, Ohio won the Formula Atlantic national championship at the 42nd annual SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Kohler Friday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

After winning the pole with a new track record on Thursday, the 16-year-old son of racing legend Bobby Rahal had an incredible 42.95-seconds margin of victory over Dan Selznick at the end of the 20-lap national championship race Friday afternoon.

He was driving the Rahal Letterman Racing Swift 014 No. 3 sponsored by The Bobby Rahal Automotive Group, Bosch, Renier Construction and Norwalk Furniture in a field of 27 race cars (17 Formula Atlantic cars, three Star Mazda cars and seven Formula SCCA cars).

The race was not without its challenges, as Rahal's car had a misfire at the start. Rahal lost several positions, but he had regrouped to get second by lap two and he passed the leader, Selznick, on lap five. Rahal was never again headed, and on lap 13 he set another new track record when his fastest race lap time of 1:16.890 (105.719 mph) was three seconds under the mark set here last year by Dan Cobb.

Following Rahal and Selznick at the checkered on the 2.4-mile, 15-turn road course were David Wilcox, Ryan Spencer-Smith and John Burke.

"I had a misfire at the start," the happy winner said. "When I came out of the paddock the car misfired, but it cleared up right away.

"At the start [of the race] it did it again, and I thought, 'Oh no!,' but it cleared up again and we were OK.

"I definitely had the fastest car out there, and I knew that I could keep up. I took my time and caught up to Dan. I got a good run on him and passed him going into the Keyhole. We knew we had the fastest car. It was fairly easy to make the pass, and then we just went forward. I just kept being careful, building my lead and trying to stay out of trouble.

"Everything else was good; we had no issues at all. It was clear sailing."

What was he going to do to celebrate?

"Go home, eat some sushi and go to bed."

The race is scheduled to be broadcast on SPEED on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. Eastern time.

Rahal's Web site is located at grahamrahal.com, while his sponsor's Web site is at bobbyrahal.com. Other interesting information can be found at scca.com, andersenwalko.com, starmazda.com and restartcommunications.com.

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Series SCCA
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Graham Rahal , John Burke , David Wilcox , Daniel Selznick , Dan Cobb , Ryan Spencer-Smith