Graham Rahal turns 27 today, looks for an even better 2016

Associated Press

It’s easy to forget that Graham Rahal is still in his mid-20s because he’s been around for more than a decade, dating back to his win at the 2005 SCCA National Championship Runoffs in the Formula Atlantic class.

But 2006 marked his first season in the actual Atlantic championship and a year later, 2007, he was an 18-year-old rookie in Champ Car skipping his prom and scoring podiums, and finishing fifth in points.

He then won his first IndyCar race in his first start in a new chassis-engine combination in 2008 at St. Petersburg, but never fully re-realized that early career potential over the next six seasons in full, only in brief spurts.

In 2015 though, it all came good. Rahal won twice, contended for the Verizon IndyCar Series championship as Honda’s best bullet with a rebuilt, refocused Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team, then tied the knot with fiancee Courtney Force at the end of the year.

Young Rahal turns 27 today and looks to continue building on what was a career year this next season. He’ll actually get things started later this week with the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test, aboard one of the BMW Team RLL new BMW M6 GTLMs. He’ll race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.