IndyCar driver, Graham Rahal is preparing for the biggest race of his life, the 2015 Indianapolis 500 which will take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 24th. Graham is one of the top race car drivers in the IndyCar series looking to win the same race his father, racing legend Bobby Rahal won nearly 20 years ago in 1986.
Graham Rahal was kind enough to join me for an interview on Thursday, May 14, 2015 to discuss how he prepares for a race like the 99th Indianapolis 500, the importance of proper nutrition, snacks he relies on, and how his father/boss, Bobby Rahal is advising him.
Candace Rose: How do you prepare for a race like the Indy 500?
Graham Rahal: “Well, for me everything I do particularly in this month is to try and gain any little competitive advantage. We’ve been so busy running around the race track every single day. We practice here every day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Part of the preparation is obviously health and wellness and making sure you’re staying fit.
For me, I often use Meta Health bars (which is a partner of mine) particularly when these days are so busy to try to get healthy snacks and keep my body as healthy as possible. For me, I think that’s a great thing.
Being on the track – we practice every single day, and so trying to go out there and find every little tiny bit of speed we can. In this world if you can find a mile an hour worth of speed or even a half a mile worth of speed can make up four or five positions difference come race day. We work very hard to try and improve on every little thing.”
Candace Rose: You’ve had amazing finishes in recent weeks. Congratulations on your success! How do you keep your momentum going?
Graham Rahal: “Well, that is the key. Right now the key is to keep momentum up. We definitely have it on our side. For us at this point, I think we’re fourth in points and we’re only eight points out of third I believe, so for me, you’ve just got to make sure that every day you’re giving it your all, every day you’re coming in with your ‘A’ game as most people commonly refer to it as. You’ve just got to make sure that you don’t leave anything on the table. You’ve got to give it your all.
I think for our team, we’ve seen such growth this year. The guys are doing such a tremendous job. We’ve got to make sure that we keep the car mechanically sound and going fast. The points championship has been dominated by Chevrolet so far, but being that we’re in a Honda, we’re leading the charge there and we’re proud of that. We’re going to try and keep that going.”
Candace Rose: Why is it important for race car drivers to maintain a healthy lifestyle and how important is your diet?
Graham Rahal: “Well, dieting is key and that’s why I mentioned that health bars for me have been a huge thing. For us it’s all about trying to keep your body in the best shape possible while at the same time keeping your weight to a minimum. Indy cars only weigh about 1500 pounds, so if you think me at 6’3″ weighing 185 pounds at my lightest, another driver who may weigh 130 pounds or 125 pounds has a big advantage. It’s all about trying to maintain that balance of fitness and weight, and in these races you’re driving at 100%.
At the Grand Prix of Indianapolis just the other day it was pretty well green flag from flag to flag. That gets your heart rate up over 180/190 beats per minute and it’ll stay there for two and a half hours. The only thing I think you can possibly compare that to is maybe a marathon runner. I definitely know there’s no breaks in racing like there is in football, baseball, or any other sports so that’s pretty cool.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any tips to stay on track when you have a very hectic schedule?
Graham Rahal: “I would strongly suggest that people try out the Meta Health Bars. I know it’s somewhat of a new thing here, but I can tell you that the flavors are really, really good, and for me it’s worked wonders with my diet and trying to maintain a healthy balance. I would say for a lot of people, getting yourself out there and trying to get in some cardio every single day. I talk to a lot of people that say ‘I just don’t have time’; but you know there’s always a little bit of time to try and do something active. For me, the way my body works is cardio is the biggest thing. I don’t lift weights that much, frankly because of weight and my size. Getting out there – running, cycling, things like that and trying to get your heart rate going and burn off some fat.”
Candace Rose: Your father, racing legend Bobby Rahal won the 1986 Indianapolis 500. What advice does he have for you going into this race?
Graham Rahal: “There’s always a lot and that’s always an interesting thing having your dad not only as your boss but your dad. It’s hard to listen to dad sometimes. He always has a lot of advice. I think patience is the biggest thing in this race that’s 500 miles long. At 240 miles an hour, it takes a while for that to develop. You’ve got to put yourself in a position to win, with 10/20 laps to go that’s when you’ve got to push hard.
I think we’ve got a pretty good shot here this year with our race team and I’m looking forward to getting out there and getting going.”
Candace Rose: Thank you so much, Graham. Where can we go for more information?
Graham Rahal: “For the Meta Health Bars, go to MetaWellness.com. For myself, just Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Periscope @GrahamRahal. I try to keep pretty up to date and keep pretty active on all of those things. Facebook, I’m kind of new to. It sounds funny, but I haven’t really gotten into it much but I’m starting to now keep track on there and we’ll do the best we can to keep everybody up to date.”