Graham Rahal’s third pre-Indy 500 golf tournament follows in the late Paul Newman’s footsteps

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Among other things, IndyCar driver Graham Rahal is known for his profession, his romance with drag racer Courtney Force and his father, team owner and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal.

But Rahal, just 25, has quietly and with little fanfare become quite the philanthropist and charitable sort. While other drivers are planning strategy for the Indy 500 on May 25, Rahal is also making plans of a different sort: to raise several hundred thousand more dollars for charity.

Just four days before the 500, the aptly-named Graham Rahal Foundation will host its third annual Drivers Tournament benefiting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer and the SeriousFun Children’s Network.

Instead of worrying about how to get more speed out of their cars, drivers and other tournament entrants will enjoy a significantly slower pace where golf carts will be their mode of transportation around the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, located within the expansive Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The golf tournament has raised more than $300,000 for Rahal’s foundation in the event’s first two years.

“We hope this year’s event proves to be our most successful in the history of the foundation, and in-turn, allows us to raise more money to help more children through Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer and SeriousFun Children’s Network,” Rahal said. “A big thank you to all the sponsors involved in this year’s event and for making it all possible. Together we are helping to make a difference and working for a great cause.”

The tournament will have a number of competitions contained within, including prizes for hole-in-one, longest drive and closest to the pin contests. A silent auction of IndyCar memorabilia and a variety of entertainment experiences will also take place, followed by an awards ceremony and recognition lunch.

The younger Rahal was inspired to begin his foundation in part due to charitable efforts of the first team owner he raced for in the Indy car world, the late actor Paul Newman.

Newman founded SeriousFun Children’s Network in 1988 to serve children with serious illnesses at no charge to their families. It has served nearly 450,000 children and families from more than 50 countries.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation began in 2000 when four-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Scott decided to open a lemonade stand to raise money to find a cure for childhood cancer. Sadly, while Alex died from cancer in 2004, her foundation has gone on to raise more than $75 million toward cancer research, including funding over 375 pediatric cancer research projects nationally.

For more information on the Graham Rahal Foundation and the upcoming golf tournament, visit

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F1 Preview: 2018 Australian Grand Prix

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Save for two occasions, in 2006, and 2010, the Australian Grand Prix has served as the season-opening event for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since 1996, and this weekend’s event will be the 21st time that the city of Melbourne has kicked off the Formula 1 campaign.

The 2018 season is the fifth one of the current hybrid power unit era, the second season of the current aero regulations, and the second under Liberty Media’s guidance.

Last year saw titans Mercedes AMG Petronas and Scuderia Ferrari duel for supremacy for most of the season before Mercedes distanced Ferrari late in the season to take the constructor’s title and the driver’s title, with Lewis Hamilton, who is now tied with Sebastian Vettel on four world championships apiece.

Four drivers on the grid have Formula 1 world championships to their name: Hamilton, Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, and Fernando Alonso. Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley also has a world championship to his name as a two-time titlist in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

So, what can viewers expect from the 2018 curtain-raiser in Australia? A handful of things to watch are below?

2018 Australian Grand Prix – Talking Points

Does Anyone Have Anything for Mercedes?

Only on one day during pre-season testing did a Mercedes driver lead the way – Lewis Hamilton was fastest on the final day of Week 1 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

However, all indications were that was by design, with the team focusing the majority of the second week, if not the entire second week, on long runs with their W09 EQ Power+ chassis.

Such a decision is an ominous one, in that it indicates the team is very comfortable with the amount of speed in the car and did not see a need, or desire, to show their hand during testing.

With that in mind, the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas may yet again have the best and fastest cars, and the team looks poised to potentially make it five constructor’s and driver’s championships in a row.

Ferrari and Red Bull Look to End Mercedes Reign

The biggest threats to Mercedes are undoubtedly Ferrari and Red Bull, the only other teams to win in 2017.

And both teams displayed a lot of pace during testing, particularly in the “one-lap speed” category. Ricciardo set a lap record around the Catalunya circuit during the second week, only for Vettel to supplant that mark later in the week. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen led the way during the final day of testing.

It is unknown how that pace will translate over the course of a race distance. Mercedes appeared to have an edge on both Ferrari and Red Bull over long runs and race simulations, but there is also a theory that neither Ferrari nor Red Bull had their true long-run form on display.

Still, if a team is going to knock off Mercedes, it will likely be either Ferrari or Red Bull.

McLaren on the Rebound?

Put simply, the previous three seasons for McLaren F1 Team were a bit of a disaster. Their partnership with Honda yielded point totals of 27 (2015), 76 (2016), and 30 (2017) in a three-year venture that was defined by poor reliability and underwhelming power.

The relationship hit a boiling point last year and both entities parted ways ahead of the 2018 season, with McLaren signing a new power unit deal with Renault.

Testing went better than in previous years, though the team continued to battle reliability problems. However, all issues appeared to be minor, needling issues rather than more significant, foundational problems, as the other Renault teams (Red Bull and Renault Sport F1 Team) had solid runs with few reliability issues.

The car does appear to have speed in it, so if the reliability problems are behind them, McLaren could be in for a rebound season.

Stuck in the Midfield Again

Formula 1’s battle amongst the midfield is set to be as fierce as ever as a host of a several teams have a chance at being “best of the rest.”

Sahara Force India has been the frontrunner from the the midfield teams each of the last two years, finishing fourth in the constructor’s title in both 2016 and 2017, though if the steady conflict between drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez continues through 2018, it could hamper their efforts significantly.

Renault Sport F1 Team and Haas F1 Team look to improve on their 2017 form, while Toro Rosso is in a new partnership with Honda power units…and has experienced a surprisingly smooth pre-season as Honda’s 2018 platform looks significantly better, with the team enjoying a solid run of testing with few, if any, reliability problems.

Williams Martini Racing and Alfa Romeo Sauber appear to be at the back of the pack entering the season, but both could battle for points finishes if those ahead of them falter.