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Jan 23, 2014 - 04:53 PM
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Rahal Keeping Eye On Clock At Rolex 24
Posted by: newsla on Jan 23, 2014 - 04:51 PM
Grand Am News
Rahal Keeping Eye On Clock At Rolex 24


A second victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona this weekend would give Graham Rahal, among other things, permission to wear the timepiece presented to the winning co-drivers in each category.

 

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His signature steel watch, secured in 2011 for winning the overall title, has been undisturbed in its presentation case - "perfect the way it sits," Rahal said.

"It's signed by my team owners and co-drivers," he said. "That will never leave its box, but maybe if I get a second I'll wear it."

Rahal, 25, will join Dirk Mueller, John Edwards and Dirk Werneer in co-driving the No. 56 BMW Team RLL Z4 GT entry in the twice-around-the-clock endurance race on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Raceway circuit.

"It's a great place to race and it's very different from what we do in IndyCar," said Rahal, who enters his second IndyCar Series season at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team co-owned by his father. "To be an ultimate driver, to be one of the greats, you need to be a part of races like this."

Rahal's spot on the BMW factory team for this race was confirmed after several years of effort, which preceded Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing operating the season-long program. Rahal had raced a Porsche for his father's team in two American Le Mans Series endurance events in 2006.

"The first sports car I drove was a BMW M3 when I was a junior driver back in 2004, which was a very prestigious thing," said Rahal, who posted a best of third at Denver among his 11 top-10 results. "When I drove the M3 from that time on I really pushed to get the opportunity to come back. And it didn't quite work out. They have so many factory drivers in Germany that drive DTM and World Touring Car and other things in the winter that they've always needed a place for them to race so they always came to do Daytona and Sebring.

"So it didn't really give me an opportunity to jump in the seat, but this year it all came together for me. For them to have the faith in me to give me the opportunity means a lot. I won Daytona in a BMW, so to try to do it again in a different category would be pretty fun."

Added Bobby Rahal: "I'm pleased for him; he sought this role. The race can teach them to be better at any type of driving they do. I think it's great for INDYCAR that its drivers are doing other types of racing. It just shows the world how good they are."

Bobby Rahal won the race in 1981, teaming with Brian Redman and Bob Garretson in a Porsche 935.

"Everything I do is in patterns of 30 from my dad," Graham Rahal said. "I won Daytona 30 years after him. I won my (SCCA) Atlantic championship (in 2005) 30 years after him. I'm hoping I don't have to wait that long to win an Indy 500."

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