(Photo courtesy of Courtney Force and Graham Rahal official Twitter accounts.)

Courtney Force and Graham Rahal tie the knot in spectacular wedding

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Two of motorsports’ biggest entities have merged into one.

We’re talking, of course, about this past Saturday’s wedding of NHRA drag racing star Courtney Force and IndyCar star Graham Rahal.

Thanks to a great report by Cathy Kightlinger of IndyCar.com, the newlyweds were married Saturday on the picturesque edge of a cliff at Dos Pueblos Ranch in Santa Barbara, California.

“Courtney arrived for their wedding in a 1929 Bentley, owned and driven by longtime Rahal family friend Bruce Meyer, a vintage and historic car collector and Petersen Automotive Museum board member. Courtney wore a dramatic Galia Lahav Haute Couture dress,” Kightlinger wrote in her blog.

While both Courtney and Graham make their living driving fast, their chariot to and from the chariot was a bit slower in pace, namely, a 1929 Bentley.

“There were 10 bridesmaids, including two of Graham’s sisters, Michaela Hatcher and Samantha Rahal, all wearing royal blue dresses,” Kightlinger wrote. “Courtney’s sisters, Brittany Force and Ashley Force Hood, were her co-maids of honor and Graham’s brother, Jarrad Rahal, was the best man. Graham’s two youngest sisters – Isabella and Ava Rahal – served as flower girls.”

Courtney is the daughter of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, while Rahal is the son of three-time IndyCar champ and 1986 Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal.

To congratulate the newlyweds, who embark on their honeymoon to Fiji this Saturday, here’s a photo essay of Twitter and Instagram posts:

Even Amy Reimann, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s fiancée, got into the congratulations. And then Courtney responded by giving Amy a pre-wedding suggestion of her own.

Graham also got into the act to give some advice to Junior:

On a personal note, we still think fondly of an interview we had earlier this year with Bobby Rahal, who attended the NHRA event at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

The elder Rahal, a native of suburban Chicago, had two classic lines related to his son’s upcoming betrothal.

* “No, I’m not nervous because I don’t have to pay for that wedding,” he said with a laugh. “I called John up and left a message on his voicemail that this was going to be the most expensive wedding in Southern California in 2015.”

* When asked if he imparted any advice to his son, Rahal said he told his son about Graham’s gregarious  father-in-law: “I told Graham, “You do realize you’re marrying John, too, right?”

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Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.