Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s trio of drivers, Graham Rahal Letterman, Christian Lundgaard and Pietro Fittipaldi are all looking forward to this weekend’s non-points race at The Thermal Club for the $1 million Challenge.

Speaking ahead of the action this weekend, Graham Rahal said:

I think it’s an interesting format for sure. I’m actually quite excited about it. I think it’s a good opportunity for INDYCAR to be at a place where there are so many influential people and leaders across multiple industries, many who could be interested in the sport and helping to move it forward. I’m also excited by what Jay (Frye), Mark (Miles) and the entire group has put together. The track layout is phenomenal. It’s fast, and I mean fast! The passing opportunities are going to be interesting because, to me, the opportunities will depend on how bad tire degradation is, which I’m sure we will see. It will be an all-out battle to the end to make sure that you get into the group that advances to the final event. The team’s road course performance has been phenomenal as of late. At the end of last year, it was certainly our strength and hopefully we can keep that going this weekend.”

(On what he would do with the prize money if he won:) “Lord knows what I would do with the prize money. Nowadays, I’ve got plenty of projects on my hands so a little extra money would go a long, long way toward those.”

Pietro Fittipaldi is excited about taking to the track at the Thermal Club and speaking ahead of the action he said:

“I think the $1 Million Challenge is great, it’s going to be awesome. It’s really like a dash for cash. We’ve got qualifying and then heat races and the short feature race. It’s going to be exciting. It’s not an easy place to overtake so qualifying is going to be very important and then making sure you have good heat races so you actually qualify for the feature race. And then I think the starts and restarts are going to be key to winning the race, basically.
“Mostly everybody has tested or been at the Thermal track last year but of course it’s not the same level of experience some have at St. Pete, for example. Some drivers have been doing that race for 20 years. I’ve never been to Thermal but some guys have had test days there, but the fact that the series has only been there once definitely evens out the playing field a little bit more. We’re going to go in with more confidence due to already having one race under our belt for the whole 30 crew. There are a lot of new people as well in the 30 car, so just being able to have that one race worth of experience is going to be a big help for Thermal and I’m looking forward to it. Looking at the track, the first part of it is very tight with a lot of hairpins which I think is going to be where most of the passing is done. There are chicanes and then towards the middle to the end of the track, you have some high-speed corners, which looks very exciting. I’m looking forward to going there and learning the track and then pushing when it when it counts in qualifying, the heat races, and then the feature race. RLL is known for having a good road course car so I’m confident we’re going to be competitive.
“If I win the $1 Million Challenge at Thermal, I’m not sure what I would do with the money to be honest. Right now, the energy and focus is on winning it, arriving there well prepared and then doing our best. And then once we win and the money hits our bank account, then we’ll think about what we’ll do with the money. Our whole lives my parents sacrificed everything and invested everything into me and my brother’s racing so I’m sure it would have to do something with that. Let’s focus on winning first. Figuring out what to do with the money, that’s an easy problem to solve.”

Christian Lundgaard is also looking forward to the action this weekend saying:

I’m super excited for the $1 Million Challenge. Thermal is one of the events we are all looking forward to even though there are no points given. I think we’re all excited to have a couple of days of testing and end it with a showdown run with $1 million dollars up for grabs. Overall, we want to make progress from St. Pete. I think the car was in a better window than it’s been there the past two years so there was a lot of excitement going into St. Pete and also leaving St. Pete. The result didn’t come our way, but I think there were a lot of positives for us to carry on from there so going into the Thermal event, we are very excited. And also to be carrying information that we gained from Monday’s test at Barber Motorsports Park should help. We’re just going to get at it and try to put the Hy-Vee Honda up front!

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