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Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal (UPDATE)

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michaeljohn

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Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:12 pm

Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal (UPDATE)

Verizon IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal believes the timing and circumstances are just too perfect not to do the much-ballyhooed car swap with his National Guard NASCAR counterpart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Rahal attended the Auto Club 400 in Fontana on Sunday afternoon with girlfriend Courtney Force and her father, 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion, John and reached out to Earnhardt after the race, via Twitter, about the possibility of swapping rides somewhere down the line. For his part, Earnhardt seemed agreeable. Rahal says the Twitter exchange was calculated but "100 percent authentic" and something that the second-generation IndyCar ace has wanted to do for quite some time. "I wouldn't have said it if I didn't want it to happen," Rahal told Popular Speed. "Dale and I share a sponsor now (National Guard) and my dad (three-time champion, Bobby) and Rick (Hendrick) have always had a great relationship." Rahal believes the shared National Guard sponsorship makes for a great marketing opportunity for both himself and Earnhardt, allowing for Rahal to knock a machine off his personal bucket list - the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. Rahal, who is pushing for the car swap to take place on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is just looking forward to potentially hanging out with Earnhardt, believing that their similarities could establish a fast friendship.(Popular Speed)(3-25-2013)
Last edited by michaeljohn on Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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14Smokem

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Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:17 pm

Re: Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal interested in ride swap

Quick off the top of my head from memory thoughts.... (don't kill me here fer screwups!!!)



How cool,

That could make for an interesting race day.
Graham is a talented driver, though in a different series.
It seems that few Open Wheel Indy style racers have been able to do well
in the NASCAR side, though many have tried. However he has also had success in
Prototype racing (again from memory) so that may help him to a degree.

If this comes to pass both series will benefit. Crossover viewers and fans
should have a spectacular weekend of racing.
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jdpirate

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Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:40 pm

Re: Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal interested in ride swap

I think it would be a neat thing for them both. Not that either is going to change series...but just the attention of both series fans' would benefit both sports.
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racer1

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Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:43 pm

Re: Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal interested in ride swap

I saw that earlier and knew someone here would post it so despite some here taking what I say wrong, I will simply say what ive said before regarding Nascar drivers with NO open wheel experience thinking they can just jump into an Indycar and be successful? That is WITH DUE RESPECT to both drivers, its nothing but foolish and a PR stunt in my opinion. :roll:

Some points:
1--Indycar has little to lose as per their low ratings anything might help? However if any driver without open wheel experience should jump into an Indycar for ONE race & win--Indycar loses its reputation & credibility as they always say they have "the best drivers in the world", course the upside IS-- the odds of that happening is RARE?
2--I find it odd that Nascar would do this to help its soon to be ratings rival by allowing this, when they have little to gain in my opinion with JR or Grahams chances at a good result?
3--Grahams stats aren't that great in Indycar, 1 win in 2008, but the fact here is we know how open wheel drivers struggle in stock cars/Nascar--let alone for ONE race?
4--WE know JR has good stats but far as I know, he isn't that great on road type courses and that's what this article is suggesting, but MOST ALL Indycar drivers ARE Specialists on those tracks and have that background??
5--Finally--The RLL team (his dad PT owner) Graham is driving for this yr is NOT a top team in Indycar either--just saying--but Iam a fan of Bobby Rahal for other reasons? :)

Finally yes--for entertainment purposes it could be interesting IF either or both drivers even make it to the finish? :roll:

Bottom line--Kurt has the better chance at a good finish in the 500 as we discuss Nascar drivers going to Indycar for ONE race etc? 8-)
Last edited by racer1 on Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:37 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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jdpirate

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Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:52 pm

Re: Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal interested in ride swap

Who said anything about driving the cars in a race??
It seems to be just a ride swap very much like the Tony Stewart/ Lewis Hamilton NASCAR/Formula1
at Watkins Glen in June of 2011.
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KMOAutobahn

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Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:54 pm

Re: Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal interested in ride swap

let's hope this goes better than the last time dale jr decided to tryout another racing series.....
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racer1

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Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:59 pm

Re: Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal interested in ride swap

"Who said anything about driving the cars in a race??
It seems to be just a ride swap very much like the Tony Stewart/ Lewis Hamilton NASCAR/Formula1
at Watkins Glen in June of 2011."

Hey jdpirate--I don't remember that, would you care to explain more about that as trading cars for a race only says one thing far as ive even known--that Graham comes to Nascar in JRs car and JR goes to indycar in Grahams car? thanks in advance? :roll:
Last edited by racer1 on Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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michaeljohn

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Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:00 pm

Re: Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal interested in ride swap

whats the difference of open wheeled drivers going to stock cars wit no experience????

:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:
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jdpirate

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Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:13 pm

Re: Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal interested in ride swap

racer1 wrote:"Who said anything about driving the cars in a race??
It seems to be just a ride swap very much like the Tony Stewart/ Lewis Hamilton NASCAR/Formula1
at Watkins Glen in June of 2011."

Hey jdpirate--I don't remember that, would you care to explain more about that as trading cars for a race only says one thing far as ive even known--that Graham comes to Nascar in JRs car and JR goes to indycar in Grahams car? thanks in advance? :roll:


Racer1....here's the info from the ride swap. NOT during a race...was in the middle of the week

Wednesday, June 15, 2011



Tony Stewart and Lewis Hamilton swap cars at Watkins Glen, 2011


Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton and NASCAR hero Tony Stewart recently swapped race cars for a promotional event at the 2011 Watkins Glen International in New York, and we now have a video of the duo on the special day. Hamilton hopped into Stewart's 850 horsepower, 3,400 pound Chevrolet Impala NASCAR Cup car, while Stewart squeezed into the tiny cockpit of Hamilton’s 760 horsepower, 1,411 pound McLaren F1 car.

Obviously, the two weren’t going to be driving the cars too hard as this was only an exhibition event (it didn’t help that it was also raining on the day), but it’s still interesting to see these two drivers, from very different ends of the motorsport spectrum, come together.

So what did they think of each other’s ride? Speaking of the Cup car, Hamilton said it "handles really well. It's absolutely fantastic."

Stewart commented about the F1 car’s downforce, saying he's familiar with downforce from his previous IndyCar experience, but "not this level of downforce." He went on to say, "I think, probably, the thing that stood out the most was how incredibly efficient and good the brakes are, how far you can go."
Lewis Hamilton couldn't stop grinning. Neither could Tony Stewart.

After trading cars at Watkins Glen International on a damp, cold Tuesday afternoon – Hamilton drove the No. 14 Chevy from NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series and Stewart drove Hamilton's championship-winning McLaren Mercedes from 2008 – both drivers were elated.

Giddy, even.

Hamilton had his mobile phone out for most of the day, snapping pictures of Stewart, the cars, the drivers together, the track, the fans and even the media.

"I just feel like a kid today," said Hamilton, the über-celeb who dates the lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls. "It's good to be a kid again."

Stewart, meanwhile, said sitting in a Formula One car was "truly the experience of a lifetime" and said he enjoyed the ride so much that if he knew what it felt like to drive an F1 car 20 years ago instead of discovering it on Tuesday, he might have never done NASCAR.



Hamilton's impression of a stock car?

"I was a little bit nervous," Hamilton said. "I was really, really surprised – I didn't know how stiff it was going to be, but it handles really well."

And Stewart?

"Once we got rolling, it was unbelievable," Stewart said. "...Amazing of what the capabilities of the cars are. It's probably going to make my crew chief a little more stressed during the weekends right now because I'm going to want it to handle like that all the time. I don't think we'll ever get it there."

The day started under drizzly skies, and Stewart clutched a cup of coffee as the vapors drifted skyward in the cold air. He looked up into the precipitation and winced as if to say, "Not today!"

But there was nothing he could do about Mother Nature. Though the rain eventually quit, the track was still damp throughout the hot laps (Hamilton called it "British weather").

Hamilton and Stewart, clad in their driver uniforms, jumped into a black SUV to take a reconnaissance lap together. Stewart drove the first couple circuits and showed Hamilton the layout and braking points; then they switched spots.

As the fans realized who was in the SUV zooming by – Stewart honked several times on the frontstretch – they exploded in cheers.

The drivers then retreated to their makeshift garages, where each showed the other about the nuances of the vehicles.

Hamilton pulled out his phone to take a picture of a Sprint Cup Series engine and poked his head inside the car. The drivers spent a great deal of time looking at the F1 car, as Hamilton crouched down and gestured to various parts of the vehicle, explaining the various details while Stewart shook his head in apparent amazement.

The drivers then met the media – international reporters probably out-numbered the NASCAR beat writers at least 2-to-1.

Did Hamilton know much about NASCAR? Yes, he said, but didn't think other F1 drivers necessarily did.

"We're not massively exposed to it," he said. "It's a bit like Formula One (is) over here. But those of us who take a keen interest in it read up about it in magazines and online – and we have Speed channel."

What did Hamilton think of NASCAR drivers?

"I won't know until today just how difficult it is," he said. "...But over in Europe, we have a huge amount of respect for NASCAR drivers."

Before trading rides, Hamilton and Stewart took a few laps in their own cars to make sure it was set up properly for the other driver. Hamilton was up first, giving a thumbs up to the cheering crowd – there were roughly 5,000 people who braved the weather – and waving both hands to answer the air horns and shrieks of "Lewis!" before he climbed into his car.

As the McLaren Mercedes screamed down the frontstretch – the first modern F1 car to take laps at Watkins Glen since the circuit departed in 1980 – it was greeted by flashbulbs, cheers and the waving of a few British flags. Some fans had driven as far as 21 hours to see the seat swap spectacle.

Once Stewart took a few spins in his Chevy – which he described as "a little sketchy" with a windshield wiper and rain tires – it was time for the swap.

Hamilton, under Stewart's watchful eye, began to climb into the stock car and paused once he got both legs inside the cockpit.

Looking around at the photographers and guests of event sponsor Mobil 1, Hamilton offered a wide grin.

"This is going to be fun!" he said.

He had someone take his picture once he was strapped into the car – flashing the peace sign in the process – fired up the engine and rolled off pit road.

The car disappeared out of view, but the sounds of the engine could be heard in the distance as Hamilton got up to speed around the "long course" at Watkins Glen.

Suddenly, Hamilton came roaring around the final turn and onto the frontstretch, zooming past the grandstand at what seemed like full speed.

To the untrained eye, it would have been impossible to tell whether it was Hamilton or Stewart in the car. The 2008 F1 champ posted lap times that were comparable to Stewart's and improved by one second on each of his first three laps.

On the final lap, though, he nearly lost it. Hamilton drifted from the final corner onto the main straightaway, and the fans oohed and aahed as he saved it.

Sensing his run was over – but not wanting the fun to end – Hamilton drove to the start/finish line, where he did an impromptu burnout to the delight of the crowd. The fans erupted as Hamilton smoked the tires and disappeared into a huge cloud.

Not bad for a guy whose lone stock-car experience had been playing with miniature diecast cars as a kid.

Then it was Stewart's turn. As roughly two dozen photographers from all over the world captured the moment, Stewart fulfilled a major item on his bucket list by sliding into the seat of the McLaren Mercedes.

Stewart did well on his laps, but was certain he didn't come close to the car's capabilities. He estimated he drove it to about 80 percent of what it could do, then guessed the car had probably another 20 percent he didn't even know existed.

"What stood out the most is how incredibly good and efficient the brakes are," he said. "It's just amazing how far you can charge the corner."

Hamilton said there were little similarities between the cars aside from the basic skills it took to drive them.

"(The cars) are completely different, but the driving skills that you learn – the controlled braking into corners, the part-throttle, on-throttle, shifting – made it easier to pick it up quicker than perhaps others would," Hamilton said. "That's why Tony went out there and straightaway picked it up, no problem."

Hamilton said he could see himself "having more fun with that," and joked that with his recent performance in F1, he should consider switching to NASCAR.

But in all seriousness, Hamilton said he has much more to accomplish in Formula One before he ever thinks about leaving for another form of racing. He'll likely re-up with McLaren, he said, since the team remains competitive.

If Hamilton ever did leave F1 and bring his star power to NASCAR, Stewart had just one request.

"I just want first dibs on trying to hire him," the owner/driver said.
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racer1

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Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:24 pm

Re: Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal interested in ride swap

Thanks jdpirate for that. Id saw some sort of commercial where Tony and Hamilton were trying to fit in each others car in a commercial thing some time ago, where Tony told Hamilton as he barely could see over the steering wheel, he looked ridiculous if I remember? I must have missed the entire thing you explained driving the cars etc--sounds interesting and sorry I missed it?

If that's all JR and Graham do then it sounds fun & I didn't understand the article maybe? As I mentioned, I thought it meant actual racing in each others series--makes more sense this way as you explained -guess we'll see--thanks again. 8-)
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jdpirate

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Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:41 pm

Re: Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal interested in ride swap

racer1 wrote:Thanks jdpirate for that. Id saw some sort of commercial where Tony and Hamilton were trying to fit in each others car in a commercial thing some time ago, where Tony told Hamilton he looked ridiculous I think, but I must have missed the entire thing you explained driving the cars etc--sounds interesting and sorry I missed it?

If that's all JR and Graham do then it sounds fun & I didn't understand the article maybe? As I mentioned, I thought it meant actual racing in each others series--makes more sense this way as you explained -guess we'll see--thanks again. 8-)


You're very welcome, Racer1.
From what I read it's just drivers wanting to have a little fun in each others cars....a few laps...not an actual race.
This would be the third seat swap....
If the plan comes together and Rahal and Earnhardt swap rides, it certainly won'€™t be the first time a high-profile NASCAR driver trades his fenders for an open-wheel car.

Jeff Gordon traded his No. 24 Chevrolet for Juan Pablo Montoya's Formula One ride at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2004. More recently, Tony Stewart and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton swapped rides at Watkins Glen International in 2011.
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14Smokem

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Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:55 pm

Re: Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal interested in ride swap

JDPirate, thanks for posting the article.
I read it back when it happened, and it was good
to recall the joys of both drivers experiences.

I'm thinking both of those drivers (Graham and Jr.) are going to have a ball.
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jdpirate

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Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:50 pm

Re: Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal interested in ride swap

You're welcome Smokem14

I was supposed to go to the Glen for the Tony seat swap, but unfortunately something came up and I wasn't able to go....disappointed to say the least. :(
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Rachael J

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Post Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:32 am

Re: Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal interested in ride swap

michaeljohn wrote:Verizon IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal believes the timing and circumstances are just too perfect not to do the much-ballyhooed car swap with his National Guard NASCAR counterpart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Rahal attended the Auto Club 400 in Fontana on Sunday afternoon with girlfriend Courtney Force and her father, 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion, John and reached out to Earnhardt after the race, via Twitter, about the possibility of swapping rides somewhere down the line. For his part, Earnhardt seemed agreeable. Rahal says the Twitter exchange was calculated but "100 percent authentic" and something that the second-generation IndyCar ace has wanted to do for quite some time. "I wouldn't have said it if I didn't want it to happen," Rahal told Popular Speed. "Dale and I share a sponsor now (National Guard) and my dad (three-time champion, Bobby) and Rick (Hendrick) have always had a great relationship." Rahal believes the shared National Guard sponsorship makes for a great marketing opportunity for both himself and Earnhardt, allowing for Rahal to knock a machine off his personal bucket list - the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. Rahal, who is pushing for the car swap to take place on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is just looking forward to potentially hanging out with Earnhardt, believing that their similarities could establish a fast friendship.(Popular Speed)(3-25-2013)

I would love to see them swap rides! It would be cool to see Dale in an Indy car. I enjoyed the other driver swaps, Jeff Gordon and Juan Montoya, Tony and Hamilton. :)
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jdpirate

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Post Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:23 am

Re: Earnhardt, Jr, Graham Rahal interested in ride swap

I think they both would have fun :D
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