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Graham Rahal signs five-year extension with Rahal Letterman Lanigan

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Graham Rahal will keep driving for his father’s IndyCar Series team.

Rahal, who was in the last year of his contract with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, said Friday that he has signed a five-year contract extension through 2023.

Said Bobby Rahal, “As a team owner, I know you’re going to say I’m biased, but I admire and respect Graham’s work ethic on and off the track for our team, for our sponsors, and we’re really pleased that we now go forward for the next five years as a team together because I think the best five years of Graham’s career are ahead of him. Consequently the best five years of RLL’s career, in effect, is going to ride along with him.”

Graham described a feeling excitement and asserted that he thinks his and the team’s best years are ahead.

“I’d like to think that the next five years, maybe a little after that, is the prime of my career. We’re kind of entering that stage. We have the consistency. I know where I’m going to be. That’s obviously extremely important for myself. I’m excited about it”

Graham added, “We have a tremendous team here. We’ve got amazing individuals that are behind the scenes that make this all happen. Obviously the mechanics. Obviously the engineers get a lot of the credit, but the mechanics put a lot of heart into it, have done a really, really good job for us.”

Rahal is the son of Bobby Rahal, the three-time open wheel champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner. The younger Rahal said contract negotiations were handled by the 29-year-old driver’s management and Mike Lanigan, one of the other team co-owners along with former television talk show host David Letterman.”

Graham Rahal has six IndyCar Series wins, five of them coming since joining the team in 2013. His best points finish was 2015 when he was fourth, before finishing fifth in 2016 and sixth last season.

He is seventh through eight races this year, including a runner-up finish at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the season opener.

Michael Carter wins Mazda Road to 24 Shootout

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Michael Carter was selected as the winner of the 2018 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout.

Carter was one of four drivers who competed for the honor and a $100,000 scholarship that went along with it. Matthew Dirks, Hannah Grisham and Loni Unser also competed.

With the scholarship, Carter will compete in the 2019 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup.

“What a journey this has been,” said Carter in a press release. “The reason I started racing a Mazda was because of the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout. It was our one single goal all along and to finally accomplish that is surreal. The process begins next week of getting ready for next season, for the series test at Barber, and to put together a good season in the Global MX-5 Cup.”

Carter was invited to the Shootout largely because of his 2018 performance in SCCA. He finished second in the SCCA Hoosier Super Tour Points Championship, won the Spec Miata Challenge and won in Spec Miata at the American Road Race of Champions.

The 18-year-old Carter had his eye on the Road to Mazda early.

“Each year, it is exciting to see the next batch of talent that is in the pipeline,” said John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports. “I heard something from Michael and his father that really hit a chord with me which was that they built a Spec Miata with the sole purpose of going up the Mazda Road to 24 ladder.

That really speaks to the challenger spirit at Mazda, to why we have the Shootout, and to the family that we have at Mazda. Michael is the driver today who walks away with the scholarship, but we had four families come together here who have all gone racing together. For all of us at Mazda, it’s very rewarding to give these families a chance to go racing together. We look forward to watching Michael take the next step in his career in next season’s Global MX-5 Cup.”