With nearly six months off between seasons, IndyCar driver Graham Rahal admits it can be tough to stay focused and keep his mind on racing.
So what better thing to keep yourself engaged then … well … becoming engaged, right?
Yep, that’s what Rahal told Indianapolis TV station WRTV’s Dave Furst on Thursday at the opening day of the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) show in Indianapolis.
“I got bored, I had to do something,” Rahal joked of popping the question to NHRA drag racer Courtney Force in Venice, Italy for Thanksgiving last month.
“We had the plan all along, and luckily she didn’t say no,” Rahal said. “I can tell you, I was more nervous for that, by far, than any Indy 500 I’ve ever done. So at least it’s behind me now.”
With Courtney being the youngest daughter of NHRA drag racing Funny Car legend John Force, Furst asked Rahal the million dollar question: Did he ask John for his blessing to marry his daughter.
“I did,” Rahal said. “I told (Force) the day before we left – or I asked him – because he’s John, he’s going to say something. I was pretty much anticipating if I said it three weeks in advance, she would have already known.”
And how did the man nicknamed “Brute Force” react?
“He was pretty easy, he didn’t say much,” Rahal said. “He actually got pretty quiet, if you can imagine him being quiet. That was about that. There wasn’t a whole lot said.
“John’s powerful there (in the Force family), but of course, Lori, her mom, that’s the one you really have to convince. Luckily, she bought in from the start.”
How did 1986 Indy 500 champ Bobby Rahal’s son actually pop the question?
“I got down on one knee, I did the whole deal, it was on a gondola ride at night,” Graham Rahal told Furst. “It was tough, actually, because I planned it this way, but it was so dark and it’s not like a popular time of year in Venice, I guess, so nobody had their lights on.
“It was pretty hard to see, there was only spot with any sort of light for her to see the ring, but it worked out just fine.”
Rumors are Courtney’s engagement ring is north of four carats, which is a pretty pricey bauble. How does Rahal plan to pay for it?
“I’ve gotta get a couple wins (in 2015),” Rahal joked. “I’ve gotta do that.”
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