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 GrahamRahal.com/Foundation.
Follow me @JerryBonkowski