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CART: Rahal Sees '98 Through New Eyes

25 December 1997

Bobby Rahal
Bobby Rahal
COLUMBUS OHIO: Three time CART champion Bobby Rahal is sporting a new look this year. No, it is not only his Firestone tires, it is the loss of his trademark eyeglasses he has been wearing since he began racing on the CART circuit in 1982. Rahal underwent successful corrective laser surgery this month to correct his lifelong vision problems.

Rahal commented "It is nice in the sense that there is no more vibration. That made it hard to see sometimes at places like Michigan where the speeds and G-Forces are so high.".

The long time star of CART will be making his farewell tour in 1998. After many impressive racing accomplishments, Rahal will place his helmet and gloves on the shelf at the conclusion of the 1998 FedEx Championship season. Teammate and rising star Bryan Herta will continue to drive for the team. Herta grabbed a couple of pole positions this season but fell through the pack during the race. Rahal thinks that Herta could not stay in front of the pack because of the Goodyear tires he was using. Rahal made the call to switch to Firestone rubber for 1998.

Rahal began racing sports cars in the mid seventies. He made his CART debut in 1982. He quickly established himself as one of the top drivers in the series. By 1986, he had accomplished his lifelong goal. He won the Indy 500. The victory came just a few days before his long time friend and car owner, Jim Trueman, died of cancer.

Rahal continued his success in racing. He became an owner/driver in 1992. That same year, he won the championship for the third time. He teamed with St. Louis buisinessman, Carl Hogon, to accomplish the task.

Rahal's success since 1992 have been scarce. He always said that he would retire from racing (as a driver) when he thought he would be more of an asset as an owner. That time has come. Rahal has posted some impressive times in early testing at Homestead, FL this winter. He attributes the better performance to his new Firestone tires.

Rahal showed moments of greatnest in the 1997 racing season. He was in a position to win on several occasions. With new equipment and new vision, Rahal's final year in CART could be one of his best.

Terry Callahan -- The Auto Channel