The return of Graham Rahal to Newman/Haas Racing, which starts with this weekend's IZOD IndyCar Series race in Toronto, is the result of a partnership between that team, Rahal Letterman Racing and sponsor Quick-Trim.
RLR concluded a deal with the dietary system marketed and promoted by Kim and Khloe Kardashian (with Graham at left) to sponsor Rahal at the Indianapolis 500, and the team had intended to continue running its own No. 30 Quick Trim-backed Dallara-Honda with Graham, but a number of the proposed race dates were direct conflicts with the team's American Le Mans Series efforts with the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team M3. Therefore, the team loaned the sponsorship to Newman/Haas for those events, ensuring that Quick Trim would have a presence in the series and that Graham would have a drive.
“Obviously when we first started discussing continuing the partnership, all of our efforts were based on us running our car with Graham and the guys at Rahal Letterman Racing,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “The entire team really answered the bell at Indy by putting together a great car, and off the track the Quick Trim story gained a lot of attention and gave the company nearly a 500 percent return-of-investment on its sponsorship dollars.
“But when it came down to it, we had to make sure that any effort we made did not detract from our BMW ALMS program, and to do that was going to be cost-prohibitive,” Rahal continued. “So in the interest of doing what was best for the sponsor, for Graham and for the sport, we reached out to our friends at Newman/Haas Racing. I must also add that this would not have been possible without the efforts of TopSpeed Management and its CEO Brian Marks, who was instrumental in making this partnership happen.”
Graham Rahal recalled that Toronto last year was one of his stronger outings with Newman/Haas, although the results didn't show it.
“Toronto was a good run for us last year but, unfortunately, Will [Power] hit us right at the start,” recalled the younger Rahal. “We qualified third and to be hit at the start really killed us, to be honest. Other than that we had a strong run; the car was pretty good.
“I'm looking forward to going back to Toronto because I think Newman/Haas has only made the car better since then. I'm looking forward to getting back in the car. I imagine it's going to take me a little bit of time because I haven't been in a road course since Long Beach in April. It's been a while but I'm looking forward to it.”