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Graham Rahal, Courtney Force kick off another year supporting each other’s races


Verizon IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal and his wife NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car driver Courtney Force always try to make it to each other’s races when they’re not competing themselves in their own series.

Another year of the two of them jet-setting to support the other has officially got underway this weekend, as Rahal flew out Saturday night from the IndyCar test at Phoenix International Raceway to support Force’s first race of the season at Pomona.

Force made it to the finals but lost to Matt Hagan there at the Winternationals.

Force had been at Rahal’s first race of 2017 as well, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, where Rahal was an extra driver on the Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 team in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona class. The IndyCar season kicks off at St. Petersburg on March 12.

As you can see from the below schedule, even though Rahal (17-race IndyCar schedule) and Force (24-race NHRA schedule) have less than 25 race weekends for their own series, they’ll likely both be on the road more than that, going to each other’s events.

Here’s weekends where just one of the two is racing:

Feb. 26 – NHRA, Phoenix (Courtney)
March 12 – IndyCar, St. Petersburg (Graham)
March 19 – NHRA, Gainesville (Courtney)
April 2- NHRA, Las Vegas (Courtney)
April 9 – IndyCar, Long Beach (Graham)
May 7 – NHRA, Atlanta (Courtney)
May 13-28 – IndyCar, Indianapolis (Graham)
May 21 – NHRA, Topeka (Courtney)
June 18 – NHRA, Bristol (Courtney)
July 16 – IndyCar, Toronto (Graham)
July 23 – NHRA, Denver (Courtney)
August 6 – NHRA, Seattle (Courtney)
August 27 – IndyCar, Gateway (Graham)
Sept. 24 – NHRA, Gateway (Courtney)
Oct. 1 – NHRA, Reading (Courtney)
Oct. 15 – NHRA, Dallas (Courtney)
Oct. 29 – NHRA, Las Vegas (Courtney)
Nov. 12 – NHRA, Pomona (Courtney)

Race weekends where both drivers are racing

April 23 – IndyCar, Barber (Graham) and NHRA, Houston (Courtney)
April 30 – IndyCar, Phoenix (Graham) and NHRA, Charlotte (Courtney)*
June 4 – IndyCar, Detroit (Graham) and NHRA, Epping (Courtney)
June 11 – IndyCar, Texas (Graham) and NHRA, Englishtown (Courtney)*
June 25 – IndyCar, Road America (Graham) and NHRA, Norwalk (Courtney)
July 9 – IndyCar, Iowa (Graham) and NHRA, Chicago (Courtney)
July 30 – IndyCar, Mid-Ohio (Graham) and NHRA, Sonoma (Courtney)
August 20 – IndyCar, Pocono (Graham) and NHRA, Brainerd (Courtney)
Sept. 3 – IndyCar, Watkins Glen (Graham) and NHRA, Indianapolis (Courtney)*
Sept. 17 – IndyCar, Sonoma (Graham) and NHRA, Charlotte (Courtney)

*Finals for NHRA are a day later than the IndyCar race

Pippa Mann returns to Dale Coyne Racing for seventh Indianapolis 500 bid

Photo courtesy Dale Coyne Racing
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Pippa Mann announced Tuesday that she plans to drive in her seventh Indianapolis 500 on May 27.

The native of Ipswich, England will once again return to race for Dale Coyne Racing, with new sponsorship by Donate Life Indiana.

She had previously been sponsored the last four years in the 500 by the Susan G. Komen organization. She’ll continue to carry logos of that organization on the front wing of her car in the 500, Mann said.

Mann, 34, has raced six times in the 500, with a best finish being 17th in last year’s race.

Mann will fill out the four-car Dale Coyne Racing field for the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. She’ll be teammates with Sebastien Bourdais (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda in a partnership with Vasser-Sullivan), Pietro Fittipaldi (No. 19 The Paysafe Car Honda) and Conor Daly (No. 17 U.S. Air Force Honda in a partnership with Thom Burns Racing).

Mann will make her first practice laps for this year’s 500 on Tuesday, May 15. Qualifying is May 19-20.

Mann’s No. 63 Honda will have a significantly different look than in the last few years. Instead of pink, her car will feature a silvery blue and light green paint scheme wrapped around a Donate Life Indiana logo.

“I am honored to have been asked to drive the Donate Life car this May and to partner with Donate Life Indiana as an ambassador to raise awareness on our mission to help reach even more Hoosiers through our education efforts,” Mann said in a media release. “This is obviously a campaign with a pretty deep personal meaning for me, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to join the racers carrying this cause forward.

“I also want to thank Dale and Gail Coyne for once again giving me this opportunity to pilot one of their entries this May. This will be my sixth year with Dale Coyne Racing and I’m truly grateful that they allow me to do this every year.”

Mann will also serve as a spokesperson for the organization and to raise awareness for youth education initiatives in Indiana, most notably organ, tissue and eye donor registration.

In addition to her driving duties in the 102nd running of the 500, Mann will also visit schools across the Hoosier State to speak about the importance of organ donation and transplantation.

“Our education team is committed to partnering with Pippa and students and teachers across the state to bring the message of organ donation and transplantation to as many students as possible,” said Steve Johnson, board chairman for Donate Life Indiana.

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