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Graham Rahal joins RLL for 2013

"I've known him since he was 17 years old," Lanigan added. "I've known Bobby a long time. And I know the quality team Rahal Letterman Lanigan puts out, and I think it will be very successful."

Graham has spent the last two seasons at Ganassi Racing, and while that's brought him seven top-five finishes in 32 races (including two second-place finishes) and undoubtedly developed and seasoned him as a race car driver, it's clear that he had grown increasingly frustrated playing second fiddle to the team's top drivers Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti.

Graham admitted that his new three-year deal at RLL would "erase all questions in my mind about knowing where I stand in terms of the pecking order" compared with his experiences in 2011 and 2012.

"It's even down to little strategy things, things we've done in the past," Graham explained of some of the tensions that had been building at Ganassi. "I genuinely feel I should have won the Kentucky race in 2011 but for some reason we were the only car in the entire field that didn't put enough fuel in. You look at Baltimore last year. I didn't even need to pit and yet I was pitted and that took me from second back to 11th. [At RLL] I don't have to worry about those things. I don't have to worry about strategy.

"Everyone on the team is not going to put me in a position where I can't succeed, particularly my dad," he pointed out. "He is going to do everything he can to give me a 100 per cent effort and that gives me a lot of confidence. Dad and I work well together and, quite frankly, I've always relied on him heavily no matter what team I have been on."

After three years away from IndyCar, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing only returned to full season competition in 2012 when it fielded former F1 driver Takuma Sato, who came close to pipping Dario Franchitti for victory in the 2012 Indy 500. Bobby Rahal said that he was still hopeful that the team would add a second car to the team's line-up in 2013, and that Sato was still in the running for a seat with RLL of that happened.

"We'd love to have Takuma back," he said. "[But] there are other guys out there that are available, guys like Ryan Briscoe or Justin Wilson who I have a great deal of respect for both of those guys. We're working hard. We're not there yet, but I'm hoping by year's end we'll have something put to bed."

Graham's season will be backed by primary sponsor TBC Retail Group and by associate sponsor Valvoline. He will have his first outing in the team's #15 car on November 27 at Barber MotorSports Park and will also take part in a test at Sebring International on December 12. He will inherit Sato's race engineer Gerry Hughes, with his father Bobby acting as race strategist.

"This is probably the most excited I have been to join any team because I see the potential behind what my dad and the rest of the team have been able to accomplish over the last year with Takuma," said Graham. "Dad's team helped resurrect Ryan Hunter-Reay's career and Buddy Rice's and Michel Jourdain's," he pointed out, adding: "He gave Danica her shot and I'm really stoked about being here. It's a fresh outlook for me.”

"Knowing the development and other things that the team will now have the time to do to prepare for the season makes me more than thrilled to be here," he concluded.




Related Pictures

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Announcement of Graham Rahal joining the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team co-owned by his father, Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Announcement of Graham Rahal joining the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team co-owned by his father, Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Announcement of Graham Rahal joining the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team co-owned by his father, Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media
Announcement of Graham Rahal joining the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team co-owned by his father, Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais with his son after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
The red flag is waived halting attempts to start Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway and Team Owner Ed Carpenter celebrate victory in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais gets a congratulatory hug from team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway on his way to victory in the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway jumps for joy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway with the winner`s flag after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway receives the winner`s trophy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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