Up to Speed: On Watching a Son’s First Indy 500
In 2008, Bobby Rahal fretted as Graham Rahal started 13th—and exited first.
“He was only 19. Like any parent, I was concerned, hoping he’d have a safe race.
“Al Unser Sr. asked me, ‘How do you do it?’ I said, ‘What?’ And he goes, ‘Watch Graham? I hated watching Al Jr.’
“I thought Al Sr. had ice water in his veins, you know? It made me feel better, because it’s very nerve-wracking for me when Graham is racing, especially on ovals because of the speed. But I always had a lot of faith in him. He drives with his head, and I thought he’d do okay.
“He made a little mistake and hit the wall. Obviously, I had immediate concern. But he didn’t hit hard, and I saw him moving. These cars are pretty safe, but there’s always that risk.
“You keep your fingers crossed it doesn’t happen often.”
This article is part of IM’s special May 2016 coverage of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500.