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Rahal Lands Ride At Iowa

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, June 12 2010

Graham Rahal will drive for Dreyer & Reinbold in Iowa. (RacinToday.com file photo by Mark Henderson/Really Really Big Industries Inc.)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has tapped Graham Rahal to replace the injured Mike Conway for the Iowa Corn 250, Round 8 of the IZOD IndyCar Series at Iowa Speedway. Rahal will drive the No. 24 Dad’s Root Beer custom-designed Hot Wheels Dallara/Honda on June 20.

Rahal, 21, most recently started seventh and finished 12th in the 94th Indianapolis 500 during a one-off appearance with Rahal Letterman Racing. In two starts on the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway, Rahal has finished 11th and 10th with Newman/Haas Racing. He will be reunited in Newton, Iowa, with Justin Wilson, driver of the No. 22 Z-Line Designs entry. Rahal and Wilson were teammates in 2008 at Newman/Haas Racing.

Conway is recovering from multiple leg and back injuries suffered during a spectacular last-lap crash involving Ryan Hunter-Reay at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 30. Conway, a 26-year-old native of England, collided with Hunter-Reay exiting Turn 4 of the IMS oval and the wheel-to-wheel contact launched the No. 24 into the catch-fence.

Conway underwent surgery to repair fractures to his lower left leg, and a soft tissue injury to that leg. Additionally, Conway suffered a compression fracture to one of his thoracic vertebrae and has been fitted for a back brace, which he will wear for three months.

Tomas Scheckter filled in for Conway last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, where the South African started 18th and finished 13th in Saturday night’s Firestone 550k won by Ryan Briscoe of Team Penske.

“We are thrilled to have Graham drive for us next weekend,” Robbie Buhl, co-owner of DRR, said in a statement. “We obviously wish that Mike could be with us, but we just want him to have a quick recovery. Iowa will be a big weekend for DRR, as we unveil the Dad’s Root Beer one-off paint scheme designed by Hot Wheels on Father’s Day. Graham was a perfect fit, and we couldn’t be happier to have him behind the wheel.” In recognition of Father’s Day, DRR and its partners have collaborated on a 1:64 scale model in the Hot Wheels 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series product line.

Rahal is the son of Bobby Rahal, winner of the 1986 Indy 500. Graham Rahal won in his IndyCar debut on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., in 2008, becoming the youngest winner in series history. In 2009, Rahal finished seventh in the points standings with five top-five and nine top-10 results. He also became the youngest pole-winner in series history at St. Pete.

“Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has clearly done an impressive job this season and I really have to thank Robbie, Dennis (Reinbold), the team, and Dad’s Root Beer for this opportunity to compete in Iowa,” Rahal said. “I also want to wish Mike Conway a quick recovery, and hopefully we can bring home a good result for him.”

– John Sturbin can be reached at jsturbin@racintoday.com

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, June 12 2010
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