Interview

Graham Rahal Starts off Indianapolis with Gifts for Families

By: Ashley McCubbin

When a family is getting ready to bring a child into the world, there are many things that make them worry and wonder. One of those – how am I going to pay for college down the road in 18 years? For 77 families, the burden is lifted a little.

Graham Rahal and Fifth Third Bank teamed up on May 3 to celebrate its namesake day by surprising the families of babies born in participating Central Indiana area hospitals with $1,053 to open a college savings account, as well a gift card and essential baby needs.

“Well, I think it’s pretty special,” Graham Rahal told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “As I said in the moment, for Fifth Third Bank to do that, it really opens and sheds a lot of light to parents on a really important day in their life in having their babies, but also understanding 20 years from now where you want that child to be and setting them up for success early on with the 529 saving plans and everything else is super important.

“I’ve been capable and fortunate enough to do that for my daughter, and I think it’s great to see Fifth Third Bank to step up and help families like that. I know it will changed lives. I was excited and honored to be a part of it, and really proud to be associated with Fifth Third and what they’ve done.”

Rahal knows what its like being a parent, with his daughter Harlan Ann Rahal being born in November 2020.

“I think the most surprising thing about being a parent is the love, the loyalty you feel towards that child,” he expressed. “Every parent says ‘oh you don’t understand until you have your own,’ but it’s just the truth to the core – you don’t understand. you have your own and it changes your whole world. It changes your outlook about everything. there are no bad days when you get to come home and see a healthy baby girl in my position, hopefully number two. That’s what it’s all about.”

Now watching other parents begin to experience the joy the first time, his experience thus far has taught him to keep it simple.

“Care for them as you would care for yourself, if not better, and a lot of people will scare you,” he commented. “They say ‘you need to do this, ‘you need to do this, and this, and this’ and it starts to pile up and you feel overwhelmed and inundated in things that you have to remember. The truth is they’re extremely resilient. If you take good care of them and give them good nutrition, you bathe them, get them in a routine, it’s actually simple. I think I’m very fortunate with Harlan, but it’s actually a very simple thing. I think a lot of people scare you into believing it’s much more intense.”

Rahal will now turn his focus to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, beginning with the GMR Grand Prix, followed by the Indianapolis 500.

“I feel good about Indy this year,” he expressed. “I think we’ll be very competitive based on the last couple of years, and how well we’ve performed there. I do feel good about it. It’s an opportunity that’s ahead of us that we need to go out there and grab. Clearly there’s a lot of guys that are good and competitive there, but we as a team, have certainly been one of the best and consistent over recent years, and we’ll try to do that again.”

Calling it a solid season so far, Rahal has backed up those sentiments with three top-10 finishes through four races.

“Clearly, we would like to have had a win or running a little better than we have,” he added. “Having said that, I think we are improving. We’re going down the right path, that’s all we can ask for at this time. If we can get a win in the GMR Grand Prix – we’ve been close many times before, it’d certainly mean a lot to break through.”

As for what it’s going to take to make that happen, it seems to be the million dollar question.

“If I knew I would’ve done it by now,” he commented. “We just have to keep knocking on the door. I’m as frustrated as everybody else. It’s great to have top-10’s, it’s great to be consistently a front runner, but trust me, we all want to win and if we knew, we would’ve done it by now. We just have to keep knocking on the door and eventually it will fall.”

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