Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
Graham Rahal tweeted it a week earlier, but it took Chip Ganassi Racing until Wednesday of qualifying week for the 96th Indianapolis 500 to announce that Budweiser has joined the sponsorship lineup on Rahal's No. 38 Service Central Dallara/Honda/Firestone entry for the Indy 500 this year.
The "King of Beers' logo will be on Rahal's car and Budweiser will have billboards throughout the greater Indianapolis metro area to activate the partnership, together with point of sale and personal appearances by Rahal over the balance of the month of May meeting.
Budweiser signage on Graham Rahal's Indy car - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
This is the St Louis-based brewery's first appearance at The Greatest Spectacle in Racing since partnering with Target Ganassi Racing and Juan Pablo Montoya for their dominating 2000 victory in the May classic.
Rahal, the youngest race winner in IZOD IndyCar Series history, will be competing for his fifth overall start and second consecutive with Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing. He is the son of 1986 Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal, who won the 70th edition of the race in a Budweiser-sponsored car. In last year's race, Graham Rahal started 29th and gained 26 positions to finish third, marking the greatest advancement of position of any driver in the most famous oval race in the world.
Team owner Chip Ganassi has four wins as a team owner in the Indianapolis 500 - 1989, 2000, 2008 and 2010 - and won NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series' 2010 Brickyard 400 with Jamie McMurray at this famous track. Ganassi earned Rookie of the Year honors as a driver in the 1983 Indianapolis 500.
"To have an iconic and international brand like Budweiser return to our program on such a grand stage is something special," said Steve Lauletta, president of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams. "There is great history to our previous partnership, which was highlighted by our Indy car team's first win in the 2000 Indianapolis 500."