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Rahal team secures National Guard sponsorship

The US National Guard is to sponsor the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team in 2014, after ending its association with Panther Racing.
Graham Rahal is to carry the livery of the US Army National Guard in the 2014 IndyCar Series, after the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team succeeded in attracting primary sponsorship from the organisation for the #15 car.

“This is an historic day for all of us at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “I can't overstate how proud and how privileged we feel to represent the men and women of the Army National Guard.

"This is a huge responsibility that each of us feels and we are looking forward to working with the National Guard to achieve their goals."

“I am really over the moon about driving the National Guard car,” said Graham Rahal, Bobby's son. “Being an American and an extremely patriotic person, I am very proud of the men and women who fight for us and keep this great country safe and free.

"To have the opportunity to represent the National Guard and all that they do both here and abroad means more than anybody could ever know," he added. "I am thrilled and feel very fortunate to be a part of this and I hope that I can make all the Guard soldiers proud and get them up front and winning both on and off the track.

"This has been a long time coming; we have all worked very hard for this. For our sport, for every individual member of our team and for myself, this is probably the best news in the history of our organisation."

In recent years, the National Guard name has been on the #4 Panther Racing car which has been driven by the likes of JR Hildebrand, Oriol Servia, Ryan Briscoe, Ed Carpenter, Buddy Rice and Dan Wheldon.

"Panther's partnership with the National Guard since 2008 has been an incredible privilege," said Panther CEO John Barnes in a statement released by the team after the RLL/National Guard announcement.

"We are thankful for their partnership and very proud of the work we have done together, on and off the track," he added. "It has been an honour to represent our citizen soldiers, and create friendships that will last a lifetime."

It's not clear where the loss of such a major long-standing part of their sponsorship will leave the team moving forward.

"Panther Racing is moving forward with the options in front of us, building on current relationships, and creating new partnerships as we continue to plan for the 2014 IndyCar season," offered Barnes.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Carlos Munoz takes over in the #4 National Guard Panther Racing car from the injured Ryan Briscoe in Toronto - Sunday, July 14 2013. (Photo Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
JR Hildebrand, driver of the #4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet, finished fifth Sunday, April, 21, 2013 in the Grand Prix of Long Beach Indy in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt for Chevrolet)
JR Hildebrand prepares the National Guard car for its qualifying run at Iowa Speedway. [Photo credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media]
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing co-owner and former Indy 500 champion Bobby Rahal on Bump Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Sunday May 19, 2013. (Picture Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal on Bump Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Sunday May 19, 2013. (Picture Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe in action at Detroit Belle Isle - Friday May 31 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ed Jones - Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/JOE SKIBINSKI]
Josef Newgarden - Ed Carpenter Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Shawn Gritzmacher]
Josef Newgarden - Ed Carpenter Racing [credit: Chris Jones]
Spencer Pigot - Ed Carpenter Racing
Sebastian Bourdais (KVSH Racing) celebrates in Detroit   [image creid: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Sebastian Bourdais - KVSH Racing   [image credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Richard Dowdy]
Ed Carpenter - Ed Carpenter Racing [credit: IndyCar Series]
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Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 celebrates his victory Sunday, March 13, 2016 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is the second year in a row Montoya has won this race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
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