Bobby Rahal is enjoying being an IndyCar Series team owner again this weekend as his son Graham starts the Indianapolis 500 from seventh on the grid. The 1986 Indy winner talked spoke about the Rahal family's chances of winning the big one on Sunday and his hopes for bringing his team back to the series full time in 2011.
Q. Is it like falling back into the old routine?
Bobby Rahal: Well, not quite. We haven't been running the car since this race last year so naturally you don't have all the information you really need. There is no question in my mind that Graham is more responsible for the qualifying position than the car. He was using all the road and he was sideways and the car was very loose. He was really the guy that carried it to that point. The race is always different to qualifying and practice anyway.
Q. Graham won't be able to use that amount of track during race day, will he?
BR: No. And for sure the race is just different. It is generally slower. It's a lot more about strategy and pit stops so it's more than pure pace that you need.
Q. But if your car is a little deficient in certain areas presumably you can make up a lot for it in the race, though?
BR: That and the fact that some cars that looked really good in practice won't be in the race, and vice versa. It's a long race and the track changes considerably and these cars won't be on the track for two more days and that's a long time. It will change a lot.
Q. The track seemed to change a lot overnight before Carb Day as well.
BR: Yeah for sure. Last night it rained, so... This race more often that not is not won by the swiftest team, but by the people who have a pretty good average car that they can use to change it around. Last year Ganassi dominated the race and they finished seventh and eighth.
Q. Is it about getting the green flag pit stops right?
BR: Well the last two years the winner has never stopped under green. It's always been under yellow. You have to have a car that you can adjust -- you can move. You adjust bars or the weight and the car reacts to it. If you have a car that doesn't react to it then that is a long day.
Q. Do you feel you have got that car or is there still more to come?
BR: I think we are OK. I don't know how good we really are. This morning didn't go very well. The balance of the car isn't quite where we wanted it. It will run 220-221mph but you have to hold your breath to do it. You don't want that, you want it so you can do it with one hand. As I say a lot goes on in this race, you have just got to go on and do your best and see what happens.
Q. So presumably you are going to make some changes on Sunday morning?
BR: Yes we had too much understeer on Friday. Something funny is happening to the car in the corners. We can see that the downforce is changing, and that it is going nose up, and we have got to stop that, because that is where the understeer is coming from. And that just gets aggravated when you are behind somebody.
Q. What's it like working with your son? Do you feel like you are able to have more of an impact on his career in this way?
BR: I think there are a lot of experienced people in our team, and we can do very well. We have finished in the top five something like thirty percent of our time here. There is a lot of experience and our pit crew is certainly one of the best. They are all the same guys. The chief mechanic was Buddy Rice's and we have got probably two or three guys that worked with Rice, Danica Patrick and Ryan Hunter-Reay. The guy who is going to call the race strategy wise has been with me since '91 - Scott Roembke. I think he is one of the best going.
Q. Do you want to come back and do this again?
BR: I want to do the whole year again. I like the sports car stuff but I like this too and I want to do both.
Q. Do you want to work with Graham as well?
BR: Well ,there are a number of the top teams that are showing interest in him so I would love to see him with us, but most of all I would like to see him in a top ride.