Graham Rahal postpones planned NASCAR debut

USA TODAY Sports

Graham Rahal had planned to make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in August at Mid-Ohio. That won't happen until next year at the earliest.

According to a report by Brant James in Autoweek.com, IndyCar driver Graham Rahal's planned NASCAR debut has been indefinitely put on hold.

The 24-year-old second-generation racer was supposed to make his first Nationwide Series start on August 17 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. While no reason was given for Rahal pulling out, it can be assumed his recent struggles in the IndyCar Series might be the start of it.

His father and car owner, Bobby Rahal still expects his son to ultimately compete in NASCAR -- calling it a dream of his.

"That's his desire," Bobby Rahal told the website. "I think it would be great for him to try. I drove [in the old International Race of Champions] and I drove a NASCAR race, and it's all interesting. Anything you can drive in, you get better.

"Now, I think he's more concerned with making it happen next year. It would be really great for him to try and I think he would do very well at it."

Graham has struggled since returning to the family team at the start of the season. He is currently 17th in the championship standings and as been largely outperformed by his teammate, James Jakes. Rahal has just one podium this season and only two other top-10 results.

Since Rahal doesn't appear to have an interest in running the full NASCAR schedule, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing wil not have anything to do with his eventual entry, perhaps bookending his delayed debut.

"I think he is interested in doing some of the road courses, but in NASCAR, everybody wants money," he said, especially if you're going to be with a team you can succeed with. You want to get Penske or Gibbs or Hendrick or any of those guys."

Mid-Ohio is an ideal starting point for Rahal in NASCAR since it is a hometown track. He grew up in Columbus, roughly an hour away from the 2.3-mile circuit, which was also a favorite of his father during his racing heyday.

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