IndyCar - Graham Rahal/RLL Press Conference
Indianapolis, Nov. 15, 2012: Graham Rahal-Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing conference call: Earlier today, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced a multi-year agreement with Graham Rahal to drive the No. 15 Honda with sponsorship from the TBC Retail Group.
Two of the three co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing - Bobby Rahal and Mike Lanigan - driver Graham Rahal and Orland Wolford, CEO TBC Retail Group, Service Central participated in a conference call to discuss the announcement.A full transcript and a broadcast-quality MP3 are available at media.indycar.com. Selected quotes from the interview are below.
Q. Graham, I know a lot of young men can't wait to grab the keys to the family car and your dad finally gave them to you today. Congratulations on that, and talk about what it's like to get the opportunity to drive for your dad's team?
GRAHAM RAHAL: It's awfully exciting for me. It's a great opportunity to be a part of this team and with the sponsors that we have behind us. For me, it's a bit of a fresh outlook, really. As I look towards next year and beyond, this is a great group and a great organization here, and everybody is aimed to achieve the same goal, which is to win races and championships. I think together we can do so.
I think this has been a long time coming. I think everybody probably knew that eventually this would be the case that we would all be together under one roof. But here we are and I'm extremely excited. It's a great day for myself and for the team and for our family and for our sponsors really. For TBC Retail, which I think everybody knows from the last couple of years. But I think you'll see primarily Midas and Big O on our car, and also Valvoline being back in the sport, it means a lot to have us all together. It answers all those questions of why I don't race for dad, that's for sure.
Q. Bobby, I know you're a big proponent of having Graham develop as a driver away from your team. Why bring him in now at this stage of his career?
BOBBY RAHAL: Well, I think he's one of the best drivers out there. If we take away the father-son aspect, I think any team would want him driving their car. We got back into Indy car racing a year ago now, and with the intent of really rebuilding the INDYCAR side of the team to one of the major teams in the series.
I think we had a reasonably good year this last year in preparation for '13. Having a top-notch driver in there and key, obviously. Obviously, I'm super pleased with Graham, because I think that together we can achieve a lot of great things both on and off the track. So we're really thrilled to have him driving the car. Thrilled to have TBC Retail and Valvoline back with us. When we won the 500 it was as a Valvoline sponsored driver. So there are a lot of coming home in this whole thing by a lot of the different entities involved.
So we're really pleased to have Graham, as I said. I'm confident we can create the environment that he needs to excel, and that's our commitment to him and I think we're going to have a lot of success as a result.
Q. Mike, obviously you've been a big part of Graham's development as a driver. Owned his Atlantic team, co-owned the team that gave him his start in Indy car racing. What about Graham gives you the confidence that your current team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan has a driver that can win races and championships?
MIKE LANIGAN: First of all, we had him in '06 in Atlantics, he won. We had him in '08 in the IRL. He won his first race in St. Petersburg, and I've known him since he was 17 years old. I've known Bobby a long time. And I know the quality team Rahal Letterman Lanigan puts out, and I think it will be very successful. We're very optimistic that great things will happen for Graham and for our team.
Q. Orland, I know you've also been a big part of Graham's career dating back to 2010 when he drove for Sarah Fisher's team. Teaming up with Graham and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has to be a very big occasion for the TBC Retail group?
ORLAND WOLFORD: TBC Retail is extremely excited to continue our relationship that we've had with Graham for the last three years. We're excited that he's joining a great team in the Rahal Letterman Lanigan crew, and we are anticipating great things. We are excited to be with them.
Q. Graham, I know you mentioned this at the press conference we had at the Speedway earlier, but your team has a history of taking some drivers that people have kind of given up on and turning them into winners. I'm sure you just can't wait to add to that legacy for the team.
GRAHAM RAHAL: For me, I think that's one of the most exciting aspects of this program is that we touched on it briefly. But if you look back on the history of this team, you go back to guys throughout the '90s, of course, but even given guys their first big chance, guys like Max Papis, of course, Buddy Rice, Michel Jourdain in the early 2000s. Guys that, as dad would say, probably their careers were looking like they're coming to an end and next thing you know they're wing races on a consistent basis and always a contender each and every weekend.
So that's where I want to be and where I need to go as a driver. And that's what I think this team is going to allow me to do. Of course, for me, the people that I'll be working with here, many of whom I've known for many, many years there's a lot of advice and lot of learning to be done. But I'm surrounded by the best group of guys that I see out there.
I know that after being around them and they've known me for so many years. They're not going to give me any bad advice and we're all working towards the same goal. So I'm looking forward to that part of it. And we're going to start off here pretty soon, going testing in Barber on the 27th, so that will be the kickoff our 2013 season.