Driving for Dad: Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti next line of famous names in IndyCar Series

  • Article by: STEPHEN HAWKINS , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: June 12, 2013 - 5:10 PM

Bobby Rahal found it difficult at times over the last six years watching son Graham driving for other open-wheel teams.

But the three-time CART champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner wasn't going to be a meddlesome father.

"There were a lot of times when I wanted to say something to the team. My tongue bled a lot," the elder Rahal said. "There were a number of races where he was in a position ... maybe win, and some of these strategy calls would come out and basically take him out of a chance from winning the race."

Graham being on his own, with a chance to make a name for himself, was part of the Rahals' plan all along before they were going to work together. The youngster won his IndyCar Series debut in 2008, after a year in Champ Car, and had six other IndyCar podium finishes before driving for dad.

Now on the same team this season, they are racing alongside another IndyCar father-son combo with a famous racing name — the Andrettis, Michael and Marco.

"It's been great," said Graham, at 24 already in his sixth IndyCar season. "Dad and I, for those that know us really well, he and I are much the same person. ... I'm excited for what the future has in store for us together as a team."

While it's been a tough start — through eight races, Graham was 18th in points, four spots below teammate James Jakes — the Rahals know they are just getting started together.

"We'll get there, and I have complete confidence in his abilities to drive a race car," Bobby said.

Their only IndyCar race before this season was the 2010 Indianapolis 500, when Graham finished 12th.

Bobby remembers the late Scott Roembke, the team's former chief operating officer, telling him then that having the young Rahal was "the best thing that could happen to this team, and it's the worst thing that could happen to this team. ... It's the best because he can drive the wheels off a car, and it's the worst because he's your son."

Marco Andretti, currently second in points just ahead of Andretti Autosport teammate and defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, had just turned 19 when he made his IndyCar debut driving for his father in 2006. Andretti later that season became the youngest driver ever to win a top-series auto race, a distinction Graham took over two years later with his first victory.

Both Graham and Marco are third-generation drivers.

Graham Rahal's grandfather was a sports car racer. Marco is the grandson of four-time IndyCar champion Mario, the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 in NASAR and a Formula One title.

"I didn't really provide the choice for them pursue the career of lawyer or diplomat or something like that. But it was ultimately their choice," Mario said of sons Michael and Jeff following him into racing.

"We've been able to share something very special," Michael said of the three generations of IndyCar drivers. "It's a very unique situation, and we're proud to be part of all of that. This sport's been very, very special to me personally, just with loving the sport. Then you throw in the family element and it makes it even that much more special. ... We're lucky, and we count our blessings for sure."

Mario remembers his grandson being 5 and riding a 4-wheeler, standing on its rear wheels.

"It's really difficult some times. ... When I assess the situation my own way, I say maybe Marco shouldn't be driving for his dad," Mario said, with a bit of a chuckle. "Why? Because maybe his teammates might think, people might think, that he gets favors. So Michael goes out of his way not to show favoritism. So Marco struggles sometimes, you know what I mean. It's a double-edged sword."

The patriarch of the Andretti racing family also knows the benefit of Marco always being part of a top team. He believes his grandson can carry a team to a championship, but also says it's Marco's responsibility to control his own destiny in what is a much different dynamic than most owners and drivers.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 3rd Prd
San Jose 3
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close