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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

F1 2017 driver review: Romain Grosjean

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Romain Grosjean

Team: Haas
Car No.: 8
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Austria)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 28
Championship Position: 13th

After leading Haas’ charge through its debut Formula 1 season in 2016, Romain Grosjean once again stepped up as team leader for the American team through its sophomore campaign despite scoring one point fewer.

Haas did not expect any major step in performance heading into 2017, having dealt with building all-new cars for two different sets of regulations, but the team was able to match its season one points total by the halfway mark this time around.

The big boost was the addition of a second points scoring driver – Kevin Magnussen – to partner Grosjean. Grosjean looked increasingly comfortable at Haas even if the car often presented problems, particularly under braking.

Radio rants were frequent, with Grosjean unable to drive around the issues as Magnussen did. But he was nevertheless able to finish the year as Haas’ top scorer, with his highlight moment being a perfect run to sixth in Austria.

Greater consistency was evident from both Grosjean and Haas through 2017, yet there were still swings in form that need to be ironed out in the future. The team was unable to capitalize on Renault and Toro Rosso’s late season difficulties that could have seen it jump to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean once again proved himself to be a very competent and talented racer through 2017, but needs a little more panache – perhaps down to the car more than anything – if he is to put himself in the frame for a top-line drive in the future.

Haas continues to offer a good platform, though, and its third season should be its best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations. It will be a real chance for Grosjean to show what he can do.

Season High: A perfect run to sixth in Austria, leading the midfield cars.

Season Low: Crashing early with Ocon in Brazil, hurting Haas’ constructors’ hopes.