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.
SOCHI, Russia — Valtteri Bottas paced both F1 practices Friday for the Russian Grand Prix on Friday as Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton was slowed by damaged tires in the first session.
Bottas turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 33.519 seconds in the second session that bettered Hamilton’s 1:33.786.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was more than a second behind Bottas in third at 1:34.577, followed by the McLaren Racing duo of Carlos Sainz Jr. (1:34.723) and Lando Norris (1:34.847).
In the first F1 session at Sochi, Valtteri Bottas set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 34.923 seconds, beating Ricciardo by half a second. Max Verstappen was third quickest in his Red Bull, a further 0.147 back.
Hamilton could only manage 19th fastest after locking up his tires and leaving them with a flat spot. Ferrari again struggled to find pace with Sebastian Vettel ninth and Charles Leclerc 11th.
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The first session was briefly red-flagged when Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams. Carlos Sainz Jr. spun his McLaren backward into a barrier and broke off his rear wing.
Verstappen spun during the second session but avoided damage to his car.