Graham Rahal doesn't have a full-season ride yet. At least he's got one for the biggest race of the year. And the best part? It's for his dad.
Rahal will drive for Bobby's Rahal Letterman Racing at the Indianapolis 500, teaming one of IndyCar's up-and-coming drivers with his father who won at the Brickyard as a driver and an owner.
"It's always flattering when one of your children wants to follow in your footsteps," Bobby Rahal said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "It's even moreso when they want to be a part of what you've built over the years. We at Rahal Lettermen are thrilled that Graham will represent us at Indy in two weeks."
The 21-year-old Rahal will drive at the May 30 race in Rahal Letterman's No. 30 Dallara/Honda for a yet-to-be-determined sponsor.
Considered one of the IndyCar Series' best young drivers since becoming its youngest winner at 19 in 2008, Rahal went into this season without a full ride after two years with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing.
Rahal drove in three of the first four races for Sarah Fisher Racing, his best finish a ninth at St. Petersburg. Fisher moved behind the wheel at Kansas Speedway last weekend, leaving Rahal with an uncertain future, so teaming with his father for Indy was like birthday and Christmas presents all coming at once.
"I am extremely excited to be racing with my father and with this team," said Rahal, who failed to finish in two previous Indy 500s. "I have known a lot of the guys on this team since I was very young and to go after the dream of winning Indianapolis with them means a lot to me and my family. I know we can put together a quality effort and we expect to be competitive."
A three-time CART champion, Bobby Rahal won Indy in 1986 as a driver and as an owner with Buddy Rice in 2004. Despite his son's promising future as a driver, Bobby had been reluctant to bring him aboard at Rahal Letterman, wanting Graham to distinguish himself on his own.
Graham has done that and now, with his son needing ride, Bobby believed it to be the right time for a father/son endeavor at their favorite track.
"To have watched his career grow from the first day in karts and now to be there side-by-side with him as he tries to win Indy for himself and for our team is a dream come true for me," Bobby Rahal said.