We all know about the cathedrals of speed in America. For NASCAR, it is Daytona, and for the IndyCar Series, it is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. However, the street course in Long Beach might just be one of the most beautiful and challenging circuits in the world.There is no doubt that when it comes to street racing, Long Beach is the crown jewel of them all—at least here in this country.
This Sunday, the IndyCar Series will be headed to the streets of Long Beach, and Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver Graham Rahal can’t wait to tackle the course. He will also be featured in the next episode of INDYCAR 36, which will air at 3 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC Sports Network.
*The complete race coverage follows at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
I spoke to Rahal as he was getting ready for Sunday’s race in Long Beach, and we talked about his car and the race.
Williams: Tell me about the race at Long Beach. What makes it so special?
Rahal: It is without question the most iconic street course in this country. The tradition in Long Beach is well-known by not only the drivers from the U.S., but from guys who come here from all over the world. I love the way the people of the Southern California area come out, and they have a big party downtown on Thursday night where over 30,000 people show up. Then the whole weekend is full of great events, and then we run the race. Really, it is a very special place to race, and that is not to take away from any of the other great street courses we run. Long Beach just has a true racing history that makes it special.
Williams: How do you like your chances at Long Beach?
Rahal: We are gaining confidence each week we run the No. 38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Things got going in St. Pete, and then we started to feel even better in Alabama. And now out here in Long Beach, the car and my great crew seems to have things dialed in. I can see us in the top three here, and there is no reason why we can’t win.
Williams: You come from a racing family. Your father Bobby was such a great racer. Why do you suppose there are so many families involved in IndyCar?
Rahal: Well, you are brought up racing as a kid. You know, you come to races, you get started in go carts and you move on if you are lucky and have enough talent to find this as a profession that you want to follow. My father was supportive, but he did not push into racing. It is not for everyone, and not every child of a race car driver chooses that as a profession. But it is a great family business for the Foyts, the Andrettis and Uncer family to name a few.
The Long Beach Grand Prix will air Sunday on NBC Sports Network at 3:30p.m ET. You can follow the action on IMS Radio and on Sirius-XM Radio starting at 3pm ET.
James Williams is a Contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.