IndyCar driver Graham Rahal spent the last few months getting ready for this very moment, hoping to be in Victory Lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. The 99th Indianapolis 500 race, as always, features the most competitive, skilled drivers in the field. Thousands of competitors work hard to earn a chance to drink the milk.
Graham began his career with impressive finishes in 2005-06. He’s spent the last few years working hard to find his way back to the front of the pack. At just 26, he’s ready for his ninth 500. Rahal, with two recent solid 2nd place finishes, drives an optimized Honda car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing which is unorthodox among the top 5 – each drives a Chevy and every pole has been won by Chevy. Rule shifts, as well as performance issues, led his team to make significant changes to his car and training regimen. He spent a few minutes chatting with Mia Jackson of Sideline Pass.
Graham Rahal Talks to Sideline Pass
Five Indy 500 Race Facts
1. IndyCar racing takes skill – the cars only weigh 1,500 pounds. The Indy 500 is an open-wheel race. Drivers round the 2.5 mile track 200 times at speeds up to an average 218 to 227 mph. Nearly 300,000 fans come to Speedway, Indiana near Indianapolis.
2. Height and weight of the driver matter. Most indy car drivers are under six feet tall. The weight of the driver could have impact on the race day performance. Keeping his weight at an optimal level makes a big difference in his race-day performance. Graham is 6’3″, outside the typical measurements of drivers.
3. Race car driving is physically intensive. Graham uses Meta Health Bars™ as part of a strict conditioning regimen. He participates in intense cardio sessions as well and visits a chiropractor to maintain flexibility.
4. Only 33 drivers earn one of the coveted starting spots in the Indy 500, the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Time trials and practice races in the two weeks prior to the race which is typically held on Memorial Day Weekend.
5. Drinking a glass jug of milk on Victory Lane, an Indy 500 tradition, began in 1933. Louis Meyer began the tradition when he asked for a glass of buttermilk, which his mother told him would help him to cool down. The American Dairy Association pays a hefty sponsorship fee if the driver takes a swig on victory lane.
Sunday’s finish will tell us if Graham’s hard work and calculated changes will lead to a win for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.