YOUNG GUNS OF INDYCAR

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Interview  with Graham Rahal & James Hinchcliffe

Courtesy of IndyCar Series

IndyCar: Graham, some pretty familiar surroundings for you.  Talk about your feelings going into the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series. 

Graham Rahal: James and I were talking about this.  A lot of familiar faces, guys that haven’t necessarily worked at our team before, but we’ve got a lot of good guys back. Eddie Jones has taken charge at our team for this year, which has been a nice change.  Coming along with him is Martin Pare who is going to do our damper work.  We worked together in Ganassi.  And then Mike Talbott, he and I worked together at Newman Haas.

There’s a lot of new faces to our program, but guys that have all been together before, personalities that work extremely well together.  We’ve seen already in the first couple tests of the year there’s been a lot of progress made.

Of course, with the aero kits and everything, a few things thrown at us here in the coming weeks.  We felt pretty good where we were at earlier last week.  I think at the end of the day, the team, we learned a lot of lessons last year, hasn’t been an easy last couple of seasons, but already the signs are pointing to a lot of progress and exciting days ahead.

I’m kind of ready to get racing.  Being here is nice, but being around the guys is a tease.  You want to get out and get running, see what we can do.  I think it’s about a month before we hit the track again.  That’s kind of weird.

Some guys ran four days in the last two weeks.  You’re building up, get going, then, boom, it stops all over again.  It’s going to be a long month but ready to get out there and get the season started.

IndyCar: Racers tell us the most important moments are when they’re in the racecar itself, you can put everything to the side.  When you’re trying to find a situation, trying to secure your position for an upcoming season, there’s a lot of turmoil going with that.  New operation for you, new opportunity.  Talk about how that process worked out. 

James Hinchcliffe: Luckily, turmoil free so far.  But it’s early case.  I’m sure we’ll have those days.

It’s been a really great transition.  It all happened quickly after the season ended.  Like Graham said, we sat around waiting forever to get into the racecar.  You can get to know guys on the floor, but at the end of the day what matters is what you can achieve on the racetrack.

Getting to work with Allen again, we worked together at Andretti motorsport, now he’s running my program.  Very experienced engineer.  Been around a long time.  That’s been a natural transition there.  A lot of mechanics I worked with either directly or indirectly when I was traveling for [] Sam in Lights.  It’s been easy to get into the culture there.

Obviously a much smaller operation from where I’ve been the last three years.  It’s cozy.  We’re obviously happy to welcome James to the team now.  We’re excited about that.  Had a great test down in New Orleans last week.  Echoing Graham’s sentiments, to do all that testing, then know we have to sit on it for a while before we get going is hard.

Graham, David Letterman is retiring from the television. Is he going to be around more this year? 

Graham Rahal:   I think so.  It sounds like it.  I think already with Dave’s retirement, he’s turned a bit more attention to the race team.  I can tell you there’s a couple sponsor deals close to being done.  He’s been very influential hosting people in his office in New York, which he hasn’t done before.

I can see his influence is starting to take over a little bit.  I hope he’s going to be around a little bit more.

In particular, IndyCar racing, this track, this race, is what Dave’s passionate about.  But all signs point in the direction that he’s going to be much more involved, hopefully take more of a Paul Newman role, as Paul Newman did for all those years, have a greater influence.

At the end of the day, he’s a big powerhouse when it comes to celebrities, period, but people in this country, somebody who is going to be hugely influential.  We need him to be involved and to really work with all the personalities that this team has, my dad and Lanigan in particular.  I hope we’re all going to see him more because it will be good to have him around.