News & Multimedia

1986 Winner Rahal Helps Young Drivers At IMS Oval Clinic

A talented collection of IZOD IndyCar Series stars of tomorrow learned from 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal during the Mazda Road to Indy Oval Clinic on Friday, May 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The clinic provided drivers from Firestone Indy Lights, Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship instruction on the basics of oval racing, how to prepare physically for an oval race, best practices of oval testing, working with spotters, tips on safety, and ideas on how best to approach oval event practice, qualifying and race day.

Rahal, who drove in 13 Indianapolis 500s, emphasized the importance of knowledge while climbing to the upper echelons of IZOD IndyCar Series oval racing.

“The biggest thing you want to impart with these guys is when they come here, they have to respect this place and be intelligent, patient and smart,” Rahal said. “It looks easy, but I think it’s the most difficult race because you spend so much time preparing for it.”

Rahal thinks the clinic is a natural extension of the education he received as a rookie during his first Indianapolis 500 start, in 1982.

“When I came here, it might’ve been the first year of what they called rookie orientation at the time,” he said. “We had people like Roger McCluskey, who was really good with me, and Johnny Rutherford, and guys who went out of their way to kind of help you. Of course, in those days you did your rookie test while everybody else was practicing, so you’re trying to stay out of everybody’s way and still pass the test. It was definitely helpful at the time to have that kind of assistance, and I think this (clinic) probably takes it a step further, frankly, which is all good in my mind.”

The tradition of experienced and retired drivers advising their younger counterparts at the Indianapolis 500 has continued since Rahal was a rookie, and he thinks that’s a positive for everyone.

“It’s to everybody’s benefit,” he said. “It’s to the older guys benefit to have young guys on the track that are kind of aware of what’s going on and that they understand how to approach it. And, of course, for the younger guys, it’s great to have that kind of advice because I don’t care who you are or where you come from, when you come here there’s nothing like this in the world, and so there’s nothing to prepare you for it, so you really need to listen to the advice that you do get.”
Although he learned a great deal from experienced drivers as an Indy rookie, Rahal knows young drivers he spoke with at the clinic will have much more knowledge when they take their first laps around the famed 2 ½-mile oval.

“When I first got here, it was turn left and go fast,” Rahal said. “Again, I think it gets back to respect. Respect for your fellow drivers out here, respect for the institution that’s the Indianapolis 500, respect for the speeds you’re doing and for the risk.

“Ovals, in general, are the riskiest kinds of circuits we race on, and this one is maybe even the riskiest just because of the speed and the pressure, and all the things that come with it. When you come here, you want to do well, and you know what this race can mean for your career. This month of May throws so many things at you that it’s easy to really get lost. One day the world can be perfect, and the next day it’s horrible. You’ve just got to respect it, which is the biggest thing that I would impart with these guys.”

Joining Rahal in working with the Mazda Road to Indy drivers were inaugural Firestone Freedom 100 winner and seven-time Indy 500 starter Ed Carpenter, and former Indianapolis 500 drivers Steve Knapp and Johnny Unser. Beaux Barfield, IZOD IndyCar Series race director, also participated in the program.

The 96th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for noon (ET) Sunday, May 27.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
1986 Winner Rahal Helps Young Drivers At IMS Oval Clinic
 
1986 Winner Rahal Helps Young Drivers At IMS Oval Clinic
A talented collection of IZOD IndyCar Series stars of tomorrow learned from 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal during the Mazda Road to Indy Oval Clinic on Friday, May 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Related Media
Takuma Sato
 
Sato Humbled By Hero's Welcome in Japan
Sato, the 40-year-old driver of the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda, has been living a whirlwind life since becoming the first Japanese driver to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on May 28. Following the Indianapolis 500 Championship Celebration on May 29, he left on a U.S. media tour for New York and Texas, then went straight to the doubleheader race weekend at Detroit’s Belle Isle. A few days later, it was on to Texas Motor Speedway.
Read More
Graham Rahal
 
Rahal Sweeps Detroit Double Header
After winning the opening race of the Verizon IndyCar Series doubleheader weekend front the pole position on Saturday, Rahal started third today in the No. 15 SoldierStrong / TurnsForTroops.com Honda. Rahal led 40 laps and beat Josef Newgarden to the checkered flag by 1.1772 seconds to claim his sixth career Indy car victory and the 25th for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Read More
Takuma Sato
 
Sato Earns $2.45 Million for Winning 101st Indianapolis 500
Takuma Sato earned $2,458,129 from an overall purse of $13,178,359 for his victory Sunday in the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Fernando Alonso
 
Alonso's Bid For Second Leg of Triple Crown Falls 20 Laps Short
Fernando Alonso’s attempt to win the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil went up in a puff of blue smoke today late in the 200-lap race. That’s when the promising run ended in his No. 29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda after the Spaniard led 27 laps – the third-highest total of the day – and was in contention for the lead through much of the race.
Read More
Takuma Sato
 
Sato Wins 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil
Takuma Sato used a brave outside pass of Helio Castroneves with five laps remaining Sunday to cap a day of drama with a victory in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Sato, from Tokyo, held off three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Castroneves by .2011 of a second in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda to become the first Japanese driver to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,460
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact IMS Sales Department at (317) 492-8739 or email at hospitalitysales@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
It's Pole day on @CrownRoyal Armed Forces Weekend & we can't wait to see you! Check out details on the day: https://t.co/yKQ6Db3YRK
May 21