INDIANAPOLIS – The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to the Phoenix International Raceway this weekend for the first time in over a decade. That, is a feat in itself as to why there’s so much hype around the event at the 1.022-mile Arizona oval this weekend. But, for one team, it’s also a track that holds a very special place in the teams history.
Phoenix is the spot where Bobby Rahal earned Rahal-Hogan Racing’s first career win at during the second race of the 1992 CART season. Obviously, Rahal had won races prior to that feat, but this one was special to him, as he left Galles-Kraco Racing following the 1991 season to start his own race team in which he would drive for the rest of his open wheel career.
To win with your own equipment is always a special feat, but to do so in just your second start with your own team is very memorable.
Now, Rahal’s son Graham Rahal, is hoping to take his No. 15 Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing car to victory lane at the same very track, with the same very team, 24 years later.
“Exciting is the word that comes to mind when I think about Indy cars returning to Phoenix,” said the second generation driver ahead of this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Phoenix. “To go back there where Indy car racing has such a storied past is cool.
“It’s also cool as my dad won here before, and dominated in 1992 to score the team’s first win. I think we can make a great run of it and hopefully get Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing another victory in the desert.”
Rahal has a great shot to do so, as the Ohio native had his best season of his career last year in reaching victory lane twice while finishing a career-best fourth in the final standings.
Now, he’s primed to take his No. 15 Honda back to victory lane in the second race of the season, just like his father did in the second race of the 1992 season. That victory led to a championship for Bobby Rahal in 1992 as Graham is hoping a win on Saturday night could do the same for him as well in 2016.
“This race is huge. I honestly feel like this race could shape our entire season. If we have a good run, we will bounce right back in points. I think our competition will be bringing their ‘A’ game and it will be very important that we do as well.”