Ohio-native Graham Rahal scored his second career race victory in the Verizon IndyCar series this past weekend at the MAVTV 500, at Auto Cub Speedway in Fontana California. Graham is the son of Bobby Rahal, an SCCA National Champion and Indy 500 winner, and currently drives for the team that bears his name.
Graham tasted Runoffs Gold in 2005 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, after a dominating performance behind the wheel of his Anderson Walko Racing Formula Atlantic. The then 16-year-old driver still holds the record as the youngest Runoffs National Champion in SCCA history.
In 2008, Graham scored his first win in the newly-merged Verizon IndyCar series at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Since that time Rahal has been a front-runner in the series, but was unable to finish in the top spot of the premier professional open-wheel series in the United States. The win pushes Graham to the fourth in the Championship.
On behalf of each of us at SCCA, membership and staff alike, we congratulate Graham Rahal on his win out in California. Keep up the good work!
At 19 years, 3 months and 2 days, Rahal becomes the youngest winner in IndyCar history at the time, breaking a record previously established by Marco Andretti at Sonoma in 2006.
After overcoming a spin early in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Rahal passed Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was driving for Rahal’s father, Bobby, to take the lead after a Lap 64 restart and led the final 19 laps through the checkered flag for his first IndyCar victory.
Rahal’s victory is also notable as it is the first victory for Newman/Haas Racing post-reunification and comes in his first start in the reunified IndyCar Series.
After competing as a rookie in Champ Car’s final season in 2007, Rahal missed the 2008 IndyCar opener March 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway after crashing his car in a test, the team lacked parts to fix it.
“It can’t get any sweeter than this,” Rahal told ESPN after the win. “Especially after last week, not racing. Certainly, this makes it a whole lot sweeter.”
Graham is one of our alum! Graham won the SCCA National Championship Runoffs in the Formula Atlantic category in 2005 racing for Anderson Walko Racing.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TRAFFORD, PA (January 25, 2006) --John Walko Racing is pleased to announce the signing of Charles Anti as a driver to compete in the 2006 Pro STAR Mazda Championship. The Pittsburgh, PA driver has competed in the Skip Barber Series the past two seasons, winning the Eastern Regional Series and finishing 3rd in the Midwest Regional Series in 2005.
Anti will compete in the same car that brought Graham Rahal to victories last year and will work with Steve Dreizler and Sebastien Jubelin, who had proven themselves capable with young drivers, leading both Rahal and Adam Pecorari to race wins the past two seasons.
"I am very excited to be a part of the reformed John Walko Racing team," said Anti. "The team is so knowledgeable and enthusiastic that I am looking forward to learning as much as I can. JWR knows how to make the cars go fast and have a good time in the process, which is what racing is all about."
Team owner, John Walko, has high hopes for the rookie driver.
"Charles started calling me a few years ago and we have stayed in touch over the years as he was a local talent looking for advice," said Walko. "We finally put him in a car recently and he was great. He is an incredible learner, has no temper and no ego and was picking things up very quick. One of the most refreshing things about Charles is he lives locally and wants to spend a lot of time at the shop learning as much as he can. That will no doubt help him down the line."
The car will carry the familiar Pittsburgh sports team colors of yellow and black, honoring the fact that the driver, teams and sponsors are all Pittsburgh based. Photos of the new car will be available soon.
John Walko Racing will begin testing in February 1-2 at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC and is seeking interested drivers looking to enter the STAR Mazda series. JWR has put together a rigorous testing schedule that has them visit Kershaw, VIR (Feb. 23-24), Mid-Ohio (April 26-27) and do private oval track testing (TBA) to prepare for the upcoming season. 2006 season testing programs and full or partial race seats available. Contact John@johnwalkoracing.com for more information.
TRAFFORD, P.A., Jan. 5 - Andersen Walko Racing's owners Dan Andersen and John Walko announced today that the team is splitting up into two race teams: A newly formed Andersen Racing and John Walko Racing effective Feb. 1.
The change was made to better reflect the team's ownership.
Andersen Racing is based in a new, 7,000-square-feet, state-of-the-art shop in Fairfield, N.J. John Walko Racing will remain in the former AWR and JWR facility in Trafford, PA.
AWR fielded cars for Robbie Pecorari, Graham Rahal, Pablo Donoso and Jonathan Klein in 2005. They posted four victories, 17 podium finishes, 22 top-five finishes and four poles. Pecorari finished second in the championship and earned its Rookie of the Year award. Rahal finished fourth for the season, while Donoso was ninth and Klein was 13th.
John Walko Racing will begin testing in February 1-2 at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC and is seeking interested drivers looking to enter the STAR Mazda series.
JWR has put together a rigorous testing schedule that has them visit Kershaw, VIR (Feb. 23-24), Mid-Ohio (April 26-27) and do private oval track testing (TBA) to prepare for the upcoming season. 2006 season testing programs and full or partial race seats available. Contact John@johnwalkoracing.com for more information.
Andersen Walko Racing's four full-time drivers from the 2005 season have some exciting plans for 2006.
The team’s two drivers with the best results in the Star Mazda Championship, presented
by Goodyear, last year will both advance to the Champ Car Atlantic Championship presented by Yokohama in 2006.
Yesterday Robbie Pecorari of Aston, Pa., who finished second in the Star Mazda championship last year and earned its Rookie of the Year award while driving for Anderwn Walko Racing(AWR), said “As of now we have made the decision to run the Champ Car Atlantic series for 2006. We have not signed anything yet, but hope fully in the next few weeks we should be able to announce which team we’ll be running with and all of the details.”
Pccorari broke the track record at Arizona’s Firebird Int’l Raceway in November while testing an Atlantic car with Brooks Associates Racing.
Graham Rahal, who finished fourth in the Star Mazda Championship last year driving for AWR, has already announced his plans to compete in the Atlantic series.
The New Albany, Ohio driver will run with Mi-Jack Conquest Racing, and yesterday he announced the car would be sponsored by Gehl, the Wisconsin-based light construction and agricultural equipment manufacturer. Last year, Rahal became the youngest driver ever to win a pro StarMazda race when he was victorious at Portland lnternational Raceway at the age of 16. He’ll revisit that track this year in the Atlantic series.
The Atlantic SeaSon opener is April 9 on tbe streets of Long Beach, CA.
Rahal will start his first Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on Jan. 28 too. The 17-year-old is one of four drivers of the Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup No. 74 that set the fastest time for the GT class in testing at Daytona earlier this month.
Another ex-AWR driver, Adam Pecorari, Robbie's brother, who ran with the team in the Formula Ford Zetec series in 2004, is also expected to compete at Daytona. He drives a Rehagen Racing Mustang Cobra SVT in the Grand-Am Cup Series.
Pablo Donoso of Santiago, Chile has moved on to the new-generation USAC Silver Crown division. He is the driver of a Cristal Beer-sponsored Riley for Racing Teams Inc.,which is owned by Eliseo Salazar and Johnny Vance. His 2006 season opener is this weekend at Phoenix InternationalRaceway. He finished ninth in Star Mazda points last year with AWR.
AWR's Jonathan Klein of Long Grove, Il. will drive in the lndy Racing League's Indy Pro series (formerly the Menards IInfniti Pro series) in 2006 as a member of the team that won the lndy Racing League lndy Car championship for the last two years, Andretti Green Racing.
Klein drove for AWR in both 2004 and 2005. He was the Star Mazda series' most improved driver of 2004, and he finished 13th in that series last year. His best finish was second in the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California in October. His 2006 Indy Pro season opner will be March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida.
"We're proud of all of our drivers, and we hope that the lessons they learned while running with us have been instrumental in their success" said AWR's Dan Andersen, "Our drivers for 2006 - Brad Jaeger, Gerardo Bonilla and Ramiro Scuncio - have some pretty big shoes to fill, but we'll help them as much as we can.''
The 2006 Star Mazda seasont opener is March 17 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida.
Robbie Pecorari won this year’s Racing for Kids®/ Star Mazda Pro Series Driver Performance Award. The award goes to the top performing Racing For Kids® racer in the Star Mazda Series races at Road Atlanta and Mazda Raceway tracks.
Racing For Kids®, founded in 1989 in Detroit, is an international charity dedicated to using motorsports to focus public attention and funding on the health care needs of children and the institutions that care for them.
As part of the program, Racing For Kids ® drivers visit sick children in children’s hospitals wherever they race. These driver celebrity visits are an important part of each child’s recovery therapy.
The Racing for Kids®/ Star Mazda Pro Series Driver Performance Award is given to the driver who earns the most points from the aforementioned two races: Sept 30 at Road Atlanta and Oct. 15 at Mazda Raceway (Monterey, CA).
For those two races, points were awarded on a sliding scale for first to 15th place finishers. Winners received 20 points, second place 18 with two point intervals to sixth place where the intervals declined by one point. A 15th place finish received one point.
Pecorari took the award when he won the Road Atlanta race and finished third in the Mazda Raceway event. Rahal took second in both races. Hinchcliffe won the Mazda Raceway event, but took fifth at Road Atlanta.
Pecorari and Hinchcliffe also won $1000 each for their race wins, receiving $500 of that personally with $500 going to the Children’s Health Care of Atlanta (formerly Scottish Rite) and Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, CA.
JWR ALUM: Graham Rahal captures his first National Championship taking the Formula Atlantic class win at the 2005 SCCA National Championship Runoffs
Race 8: Formula Atlantic Graham Rahal, of New Albany, Ohio., captured his first National Championship Friday, taking the Formula Atlantic class win at the 2005 SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kohler at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in his Anderson Walko Racing Swift 014. Dan Selznick, of Phoenix, Ari., and David Wilcox, of Lake Dallas, Texas, completed the top-three.
Having led every session and set a new lap record in qualifying, Rahal entered the race as the odds on favorite to win. In what would prove to be the most difficult part of the race, Rahal's Anderson Walko Racing Swift 014 car misfired at the start, causing the 17 year-old to lose several positions entering the esses. Capitalizing on the opportunity, Selznick led Mirl Swan through the opening turns.
Quickly recovering from the poor start, Rahal moved into second on the second lap, passing Swan on the back straight. Having fallen back to third, Swan's race ended later in the lap, when he spun off-course. Posting lap times up to two seconds quicker than any other driver, Rahal soon caught Selznick, passing for the lead on lap five. Steadily pulling away from Selznick, David Wilcox and Keith Lively, the battle for fifth became the most heated amongst the leaders.
Having moved into fifth, Bernie Sunier went off-course on lap nine, allowing Ben Beasley to take the position. Two laps later, Beasley spun exiting Thunder Valley, becoming stuck in the grass, relinquishing fifth place to Ryan Spencer-Smith. On lap 17, the final change in top-five occurred, when Lively pulled into the pits and retired with a mechanical failure.
Setting a new race lap record, Rahal crossed the start/finish 43.01 seconds ahead of Selznick, to capture his first SCCA National Championship Runoffs win, 30-years after his father, racing legend Bobby Rahal won the Formula B National Championship. "I had a misfire at the start," said Rahal. "When I came out of the paddock the car misfired, but it cleared up right away. At the start it did it again and I thought, 'oh, no!', but it cleared up again and we were OK. I definitely had the fastest car out there and I knew that I could keep up. I took my time and caught up to Dan. I got a good run on him and passed into the Keyhole. Then I just kept careful, building my lead and trying to stay out of trouble."
Spencer-Smith, of Nappa, Calif., finished fourth, and Burke, of Rumson, N.J., completed the top-five.
LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 23, 2005) - The weather at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course had been nearly perfect since Monday, so, of course, the skies on Friday - the first day of racing at the 2005 SCCA National Championship Runoffs(r) Presented by Kohler - were overcast and damp with fog and the 2.258-mile course wet with early morning rains.
A little water didn't stop the Runoffs, however, and the first eight champions were crowned, led by veterans Kent Prather, of Wakarusa, Kan., who won a record sixth Production class title when he won G Production, and John Heinricy, of Holly, Mich., who won his fifth-consecutive Touring 1 Runoffs championship - a streak not seen since Warren Stilwell won seven Spec Racer Ford titles from 1994-2000. It was Heinricy's eight title overall, which moves him to third all-time in SCCA Runoffs history.
Not to be outdone, Runoffs rookie Graham Rahal, set a new race lap record and took top honors in Formula Atlantic - exactly 30 years after his father, Bobby, won the Formula B Championship in 1975.
Eight more races are on tap for Saturday, with Formula 500 set to wave the green flag at 10:05 a.m. (EDT) following warm-up sessions that begin at 8 a.m. To watch all race action via live timing and scoring, visit www.scca.com, where complete schedule information and results are located.
BRASELTON, Ga., March 27 - Andersen Walko Racing had a first, a second and a third in SCCA national events at Road Atlanta Motorsports Park over the Easter weekend.
Sunday morning Graham Rahal had the perfect tune-up for the Star Mazda race at Road Atlanta April 17 when he won a SCCA national event on the same course. That race featured both Formula Continental cars and Formula Mazdas.
Tim Dunn finished second in the Formula Ford race. He had to deal with a broken third gear, but he still managed to bring the car home second.
Scott Willard was in the same race as Rahal but in the Formula Continental class, not Formula Mazda. He ran second in his class for most of the race, spun, and then worked his way back up to third in his class.
Rahalís victory came in the Andersen Walko Racing No. 12, the same car he'll drive at Road Atlanta in a few weeks in the Star Mazda pro event. The car is sponsored by The Bobby Rahal Automotive Group, Bosch and Norwalk Furniture.
The 16-year-old son of Bobby Rahal had a perfect weekend, as he also won the pole on Saturday. His qualifying time was some 1.3 seconds faster than the lap Ryan Justice ran to earn the second starting spot.
Sunday's race had its issues, however.
"I led right from the start, but three laps from the end I spun," Rahal related. "There was a guy right on my tail when I spun. I shot through the grass; it was damp and I was on slicks. I went through a gravel trap but I kept on going, and when I got back on the track the guy was about four seconds ahead of me."
"The guy" was veteran Jacek Mucha in a Formula Atlantic car.
"I just kept trying," Rahal continued. "I caught up with him in Turn 10, and I was able to pull underneath him and win."
"It was good!" he added enthusiastically. "With this victory and the podium finish at Sebring, it gives me more confidence going into the Star Mazda race at Road Atlanta in a few weeks."
There were 41 entries in the group and 15 in Rahal's class Sunday.
SEBRING, Fla., March 18 - One Andersen Walko Racing driver finished on the podium, two more were in the top 10 and the fourth ran as high as second in the Star Mazda season opener Friday at Sebring International Raceway.
The youngest of the four ended up with the best result, as 16-year-old series rookie Graham Rahal of New Albany, Ohio started sixth, blasted off at the drop of the green, and finished third in The Bobby Rahal Automotive Group No. 12.
Robbie Pecorari of Aston, Pa. started eighth and got as high as fourth at the very end. Then his car's engine shut off several times, dropping the Aston, Pa. driver to sixth at the checkered in the SAI Hydraulics No. 23.
Jonathan Klein of Long Grove, Ill. also had some issues with the engine in his car, which is sponsored by Nexus Distribution Corp., Midwest Steel & Services, Ironclad Performance Wear and ProStar. He started 11th and ended up ninth.
Pablo Donoso of Santiago, Chile started second and ran in that spot for a few laps. He inadvertently bumped the ignition switch in the Cristal Beer-sponsored No. 22, however, and when the engine died Bryan Sellers had nowhere to go and hit him in the rear. Donoso restarted and soldiered on for a few more laps but his car's rear suspension was bent from the contact, so he dropped out for a 39th-place finish in the 42-car field.
Ironically Rahal had the same problem as Donoso did, although the results were not nearly as costly. He only lost a few yards when he bumped his car's ignition switch too. With no full-course yellows he couldn't catch the eventual winner, polesitter Raphael Matos, who led all 20 laps, or the second-place finisher, Matt Jaskol, but it was still a rousing start for the series rookie and son of Bobby Rahal.
The start was definitely a thrilling moment for Rahal. Before the race he planned to go to the outside as the pack headed into turn one, which turned out to be a smart choice. "I didn't know what the other guys would do, but fortunately that was the place to go and I passed a bunch of guys right at the start," he said. "Outside of turn one it's not as grippy, but you can still run there."
Jaskol got by him and pushed him to fourth on lap two, but when Donoso had his troubles on lap four Rahal bounced back to third and he stayed there the rest of the way.
"I'm really proud of him," said his father, who is the grand marshal for tomorrow's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring American Le Mans Series race.
TV viewers can see the Star Mazda race on SPEED at 11 a.m. Eastern time on April 24.
Andersen Walko Racing is one of the top formula car teams in North America. Its office is in Fairfield, N.J. and its shop is in North Versailles, Pa.
"That was definitely the best start I've ever had in racing. Before the race started I decided I wanted to go to the outside. I didn't know what the other guys would do, but fortunately that was the place to go and I passed a bunch of guys right at the start. Outside of turn one it's not as grippy, but you can still run there."
"The car ran well. I'm still looking at this as a two-year program, so this is a great start. I want to thank my dad, Bosch, Norwalk Furniture, Andersen Walko Racing, and everybody on the team. We're looking for one through four in the championship, and I think we can still get it. Everybody on the team works together very well. The engineers all work together, and that gives us an advantage in that sense.
"I bumped the ignition switch once and lost some ground, but luckily the car started back up again."
"About a third of the way through the race I started to leak oil. That caused the rear end to keep sliding out.'
"I wasn't surprised that there weren't any full-course yellows. It's a big track and there are a lot of places for guys to get off the track. If there had been a full-course yellow maybe I could have cooled my tires and caught those guys, but when I turned off the ignition switch I was lucky to just stay equal with them; no way was I going to catch them. So I just kept my pace and tried to run not too fast or too slow, and it paid off."
"Once in turn 15 there was lapped traffic in front of me, and a car shot off course right in front of me. I kept my foot in it, but that was quite interesting."
"On the last lap I was fourth but then the motor cut out. I know I didn't hit the ignition switch, but it just stopped. It sputtered a couple of times and then it turned on again, but I went from fourth to sixth because of it.
"The car was good in the left-handers but not the right-handers. For the first few laps it wouldn't turn at all. From laps five through nine or so the car was good, but from then on I had to deal with a lot of understeer. My left front tire was trashed, but I think that was caused by the understeer.
"I was surprised there were no full-course yellows."
"We had a good start, but then we started to fall back. In sixth gear my car sputtered a lot. The no-lift shifter didn't work, and that didn't help either.
"Two guys spun in front of me once but I was able to get around them, so that wasn't too bad.
"We had a good car. We just didn't have a good motor today."
"I was adjusting the bars and I touched the ignition switch and turned the car off by mistake. Bryan Sellers was behind me and he didn't know I was having a problem, and we tangled in turn 16. It broke my rear suspension. I ran for a few laps after that, but it was too bad so I had to drop out."
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