Graham Rahal hopes to build on consistent 2015 at Barber


On paper the first three races of Graham Rahal’s season to date, with one Top-10 finish and two P11 finishes, might not seem overly impressive. But consider the environment in which they’ve occurred.

Rahal races for Rahal Letterman Lanigan, a one-car team co-owned by his father, Bobby, that is running consistently near the front of a field dominated by the multi-car teams of Penske, Ganassi and Andretti. This is after team restructuring in the offseason.

With the Verizon IndyCar Series heading to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. this weekend, the team could have reason to believe they’ll be able to move higher on grid for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

“We had a really good test at Barber,” Rahal said in a release two days of testing in March at the 17-turn, 2.3-mile permanent road course. “Obviously the conditions were cooler than what we will see this weekend but all in all I feel pretty good about our ability to be competitive at the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama.”

At the two-day testing session, Rahal’s fastest lap in his No. 15 Honda was 1:07.6203. That put him at P7 for the entire weekend and gave him the fastest time among the Honda powered teams. The next highest was Foyt driver Takuma Sato in P10 at 1:07.6638.

Rahal goes into Barber as one of eight drivers in the field to have competed in all five IndyCar races at the track, beginning in 2010.

In those five races, Rahal’s best finish, and his only one in the top 10, was P4 in 2012 with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Sunday will also be Rahal’s second race with Steak ‘N Shake as his primary sponsor. The first was last weekend at Long Beach where he finished 11th after starting eighth.

“The Long Beach race was frustrating but I feel like we can have a strong rebound,” Rahal said. “We won’t find out until we get on track but certainly at the test we were right up there so I’m hoping we can have a good show on the weekend because we need the points.”

Rahal is currently 10th in points after three races, 57 behind Juan Pablo Montoya.

“Since it’s only a two day event this year we have to be right on top of our game in the practice sessions and qualifying,” Rahal said. “We definitely can’t miss a beat.”

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”