The Marty Smith Podcast: IndyCar Driver Graham Rahal Shares What It’s Like to Race for David Letterman

by Jonathan Howard

This week Graham Rahal joined The Marty Smith Podcast to talk about the Indy 500, and what it’s like driving for David Letterman. Of course, the 33-year-old driver also drives for his father. The Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan team has a few drivers in IndyCar. Bobby Rahal has brought his son up well, and this weekend is a big one. He had a lot to say on the show.

A lot of folks are talking about Jimmie Johnson racing this weekend, however, there’s a lot more going on than just that. Rahal is a legacy driver, and his Indy 500-winning father is ready to see his son rise to the top of the IndyCar series. Part of that is the team ownership from David Letterman.

The former late-night host got into racing through his partnership with Rahal and businessman Mike Lanigan. With three IndyCar teams, No. 15, No. 30, and No. 45 – it has been a successful venture so far.

“Really this is a passion project for [David Letterman],” Rahal explained. “He grew up in Indianapolis, started as a weatherman here, went to Broad Ripple High School right down the street here. To be an owner in the Indy 500 and have the chance to win the Indy 500, which he’s done twice as an owner now. You know, that’s all a kid from Broad Ripple could dream of, and here he is.”

This might be a passion project, but Letterman isn’t completely hands-off. He’s a fan of IndyCar at the end of the day. That means he is going to keep up with his team and make sure he connects with them. He’s a bona fide owner and acts as such. So, don’t be surprised that he’s going to be in town and he keeps up with the team.

Graham Rahal Tells The Marty Smith Podcast About David Letterman’s Presence with the Team

Graham Rahal gave The Marty Smith Podcast an idea about how involved Letterman gets. Leading up to the Indy 500 you would expect the team owner to check-in. However, it isn’t just one race a year type thing, this is something that the owner tries to do regularly.

“We hear from him, we’ll see him this weekend – clearly. But we hear from him often,” Rahal went on. “Throughout the practices and qualifying and all that sort of stuff, I mean Dave is in touch. He’s not transparent, he’s not a ghost here. He’s involved, heavily involved. [Letterman’s] a guy that to have the opportunity to own a team and to be able to be here competing is something he always dreamed of as well.”

The dream of many Indianapolis children would be to get involved in IndyCar in some way. The tradition, the excitement throughout the city, and more. It’s a race that almost everyone knows about and wants to see. David Letterman is living those dreams alive with his IndyCar team.

Check out the entire episode of The Marty Smith Podcast with Graham Rahal on Spotify. Make sure to keep up with the show and subscribe as well.