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Rahal team secures National Guard sponsorship
7 February 2014
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.
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