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

1 Comment

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

 

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.