1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal says there was no grand plan when he set up Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in 1991. Speaking to Paddock Eye ahead of the team’s 1000th INDYCAR SERIES race this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Rahal said that when you look at the other motorsports they are in, such as IMSA, what they have achieved in INDYCAR is pretty gratifying. RLL has won two Indianapolis 500s with Buddy Rice in 1996 and, most recently, with Takuma Sato in 2020.

When asked about the return of the Milwaukee Mile to the INDYCAR SERIES schedule later this season with a double-header ahead of the season-ending race in Nashville, Rahal said that he is very excited about the return of the oval as it is his favorite oval race.

Rahal told Paddock Eye that the Milwaukee Mile was probably the oval he was acclimatized to as it was initially after the Indianapolis 500, so it was a great way to celebrate that year’s Indianapolis 500 winner. Rahal scored the pole for the 1992 race in Milwaukee. Rahal told us that in the old days, there was always excitement with that year’s Indianapolis 500 winner being at Milwaukee. Rahal is pleased that Milwaukee is back on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule.

Rahal says that he hopes that Milwaukee remains on the schedule for many years to come as he is a big fan of the one-mile ovals because they were crazy fast, and as a result, there were multiple lines that you could take, but the speeds weren’t crazy fast.

When asked if he would like to see more ovals on the INDYCAR SERIES schedule, Rahal told us that he feels that, unfortunately, a lot of the ovals that were on the schedule in the past, such as Phoenix, which was a fabulous circuit for INDYCAR, ‘s but than NASCAR increased the banking and they cut the back kink.

Rahal confirmed that Phoenix used to be very challenging, but when they added banking for the stock cars, it became flat out and wasn’t as demanding. Rahal said he is unsure where the SERIES would go to add to the ovals they already have, but they will see what happens in Nashville at the end of the season. Rahal said that the IRL raced at Nashville during the mid-2000s, and the series will have to see how that works out.

Regarding the new hybrid system, Rahal said he is looking forward to seeing it introduced, but he feels that RLL as a team is behind where it should be for some reason. Rahal says that he feels that the Honda-powered teams like Ganassi and Andretti and the Chevrolet-powered teams of Penske and Arrow McLaren could have an advantage given the testing they have completed with the hybrid, but he is not sure.

Rahal doesn’t believe the hybrid system will be as big an advantage on the flat-out ovals as the road and street courses. Speaking about how the hybrid system can help INDYCAR in the future, he said that Honda really pushed for its introduction, which is how the automotive industry is going. Rahal believes the hybrid system that INDYCAR will adopt is relevant to the automotive industry.

Regarding this weekend at Laguna Seca, Rahal said that the team has been solid with their road course package, and he hopes they can pick up from where they left off at Laguna.






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