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Feb 07, 2014 - 05:59 AM
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Rahal To Be Backed By Army National Guard In 2014; Munoz Eager For Rookie Season To Start
Posted by: newsla on Feb 07, 2014 - 05:58 AM
IndyCar News
Rahal To Be Backed By Army National Guard In 2014; Munoz Eager For Rookie Season To Start

1. Rahal to be backed by Army National Guard in 2014: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced that it has signed an agreement with the Army National Guard, the oldest component of the U.S. Armed Forces, to be the primary sponsor of the No. 15 entry driven by Graham Rahal for the 18-race IndyCar Series season.


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"This is an historic day for all of us at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing," team co-owner Bobby Rahal said. "I can't overstate how proud and how privileged we feel to represent the men and women of the Army National Guard. This is a huge responsibility that each of us feels and we are looking forward to working with the National Guard to achieve their goals.

"And I can't imagine a better ambassador for those men and women than Graham, as an American, driving the National Guard Dallara-Honda IndyCar."

Graham Rahal, 25, of New Albany, Ohio, in 2008 became the youngest winner of an open-wheel race when he prevailed in the season opener at St. Petersburg at age 19. The following season he became the youngest pole winner at the same event. Rahal enters his second year driving for the team co-owned by his father. The season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is March 30.

"I am really over the moon about driving the National Guard car," he said. "Being an American and an extremely patriotic person, I am very proud of the men and women who fight for us and keep this great country safe and free. To have the opportunity to represent the National Guard and all that they do both here and abroad means more than anybody could ever know.

"This has been a long time coming; we have all worked very hard for this. For our sport, for every individual member of our team and for myself, this is probably the best news in the history of our organization. I am thrilled and feel very fortunate to be a part of this and I hope that I can make all the Guard soldiers proud and get them up front and winning both on and off the track."

2. Munoz eager for season to begin: Carlos Munoz arrived early Feb. 4 at Sebring International Raceway. He was eager to "be back on this beast" for his first full day of testing.

Munoz got in a half-day of work in November at Sebring after Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay set up the car in the morning.

"It's good for me to get up to speed and for me to improve my connection with my engineer (Garrett Mothersead) and mechanics," said Munoz, who competed in three IndyCar Series races in 2013 with a best finish of second in the Indianapolis 500.

Munoz finished third in the Firestone Indy Lights standings in an Andretti Autosport car in '13. He'll drive the No. 34 Honda-powered entry in the 18 races this season, which kicks off with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 28-30. A Honda manufacturer test early in the month precedes the first Open Test on March 17-18 at Barber Motorsports Park.

"I have to work quite a lot to have the car 100 percent at St. Pete," Munoz added. "It will be an interesting season so I have to work a lot and push a lot."

3. Of note: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team manager Rob Edwards said that Mikhail Aleshin's rookie oval test last week at Homestead-Miami Speedway went off without a hitch. "It was something different to be sure," said Aleshin, who will drive the No. 7 SMP Racing car. ... OnX Enterprise Solutions, a leading enterprise data center IT solutions provider, is the official information technology provider and an associate sponsor of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

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