Mojo Race Report: Interview with Graham Rahal

@GrahamRahal, driver of the Service Central, Chip Ganassi Racing #38 IndyCar, talks to Mojo Motors Regional Sales Manager Bryan Jennings. Listen to the entire interview by clicking the link below or get a recap of the interview after the jump. Click to listen to the Mojo Motors Race Report

Bryan: Obviously the IndyCar season is well underway here, can you talk a little bit about your season thus far? Some of the wins and challenges that you’ve had over this season?

Graham: Well, it’s been a tough year so far. We’ve had some ups and downs but that’s how it’s going to be. You know at the same time I think we’ve learned a lot and the future looks bright for the series. I think it’s becoming more apparent that we’re getting there. I think it’s taken awhile for us to start building some momentum but we’re getting to that point.

Bryan: Talk a little bit about some of the training and the mental preparation that goes into getting ready for the season.

Graham: There’s so much that goes into as a driver both on the track and off the track, whether it be training or working with your sponsors. The vehicle training that goes on behind the scenes is tough. There’s a lot of emphasis nowadays on the driver connecting with the sponsor. The driver is a lot more important these days; he has more influence in everything that he does. Therefore it keeps us busier.

Bryan: Obviously this season leading into a busy time of year, you’ve got the new DW12 Chassis and the turbo-charged Honda motor, how did the process of bringing both of those about work into your season?

Graham: Well it’s been great. Obviously there are a lot of challenges that go into it but everybody is enjoying the change. That’s probably the biggest thing, just enjoying something different. I think it’s gone really smoothly. They’ve done a great job. I think Dalara has done a great job with the DW12 Chassis. I think it looks really racy in person and I really enjoy driving in it. It’s fantastic. I think everything’s been really positive.

Bryan: Now from the motor standpoint with the Honda design for the turbo, how has that worked out for you? Any engine issues?

Graham: I’d say no. I think Honda has done a fantastic job. What people don’t appreciate is how hard it is. People are like “wow, their engines are blowing up this year.” I think that’s great. Yeah it plays a role but I think it’s kind of fun. There are a lot of things that play a role here but I think it’s kind of fun because we’re starting fresh. It’s been enjoyable.

Bryan: Outside of the track you’ve got a lot going as well, talk a little bit about what the Graham Rahal Foundation does and the helmet contest that you currently have going on your website.

Graham: The foundation we started to benefit kids that are certainly less fortunate than I am, such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which benefits kids dealing with cancer and helps funds cancer research. Honestly, Paul Newman, my old boss, was my inspiration for starting the foundation. Everything is going really well. We have the helmet contest going on the website where you can vote on what helmet I will wear for an upcoming race. I will wear that helmet at the California Speedway for the last race of the season. Afterwards, it will be auctioned off and proceeds with go to benefit the Foundation. You can follow the contest on the Foundation’s Twitter page @gr_foundation. Follow us on there because we’ve got some really cool stuff coming up here in the coming months.

Bryan: I know it’s one of our fan favorite questions. What, outside of the track, do you personally drive?

Graham: I’m a huge car nut. I have a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, an Acura MDX, and a Mercedes E63 Wagon, which is not what people would expect but it’s a total sleeper. The Mercedes has 600hp and it’s the only one in the country in matte white so it’s kind of fun.