Graham Rahal will get a belated leg-up into the 2009 IZOD IndyCar Series after Sarah Fisher Racing confirmed that it would field the young American in the second and third rounds of the schedule.
Having failed to raise the sponsorship necessary to retain his seat at Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, Rahal was facing a year on the sidelines until Fisher, and sponsor Dollar General, added him to a programme which will see the eponymous team owner drive the #67 car in nine events, including the Indianapolis 500. Fisher had initially been slated to compete in round two of the season, on the streets of St Petersburg, but now appears set to step down in favour of Rahal at both
her scheduled road/street course appearances.
"We are all very enthusiastic about having Graham in the seat for the two road course races that start off our season," oval expert Fisher noted, "He has incredible talent and, when it was brought to my attention that he was available, I reached out to Dollar General, who were in full support of our decision to give Graham the opportunity."
Rahal has competed with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing for the past two seasons, but the team has reduced to a single car for Hideki Mutoh in a reflection of economic situation affecting motorsport worldwide.
"Sarah has clearly done an impressive job building Sarah Fisher Racing and I really thank her, the team and Dollar General for this opportunity to compete in St Pete and at Barber Motorsports Park," Rahal said, "I can't wait to get behind the wheel of the #67 Dollar General car and hopefully contribute to the success of SFR."
The team sits out this weekend's season-opener in Brazil, but Rahal won't be necessarily concerned. He missed the opening round of the newly-unified IndyCar Series in 2008, but bounced back to win on debut, on the streets of St Pete, next time out. The series returns to Florida on the weekend of 28 March.