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Published: Monday, 7/21/2008

Buyer of Newman's helmet gets little piece of his movies

BY MATT MARKEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

LEXINGTON, Ohio - Graham Rahal, the son of former Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, came up with a unique idea that allowed him to honor one longtime racing supporter, and likely help out a bunch of kids with serious illnesses in the near future.

Rahal, who finished 16th in yesterday's Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, wore a one-of-a-kind helmet in the race, a custom design that displayed the movie posters from many of the films that starred Paul Newman.

Newman, the 83-year-old actor and philanthropist, also is one of the owners of Rahal's Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team.

The artwork on the helmet showed scenes from The Sting, Cool Hand Luke, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Hustler, The Long, Hot Summer and Slap Shot.

Now that word about the helmet is circulating throughout the racing ranks, Rahal plans to put it up for bid on e-Bay, with the proceeds going to the Hole in the Wall Camps, a group of children's facilities started by Newman, with the intention of providing these children some of the joys of childhood they might have missed during extended medical treatment.

The camps are supported by donations, and all children attend the camps free of charge.

"My mom is involved in the Hole in the Wall Camps," Rahal said, "so we can auction it off and see how much it goes for."

MEIRA WAITING: Vitor Meira, a veteran of 88 IndyCar Series races, is still looking for victory No. 1.

The Brazilian, who was fifth in the points race in 2006, has 26 top-five finishes, and has consistently led races, only to fall back before the finish.

Yesterday in the Honda Indy 200, Meira was out front for 21 laps - a quarter of the race - but finished sixth for the second straight week.

It was the fifth race this season that Meira has led, and he has accumulated 76 laps in the lead to date.

The Panther Racing driver tried to stay upbeat as his victory drought continued.

"The car was good, but coming out of the pits on the last stop I had contact with one of the Ganassi cars," Meira said. "We would have been a position or two better. With our luck, we need to keep finishing races. Again, we were in position to win, and that's going to go our way soon."

PENSKE COUNT: The victory by Ryan Briscoe in yesterday's Honda Indy 200 was win No. 301 for Penske Racing.

The 1-2 finish by Penske drivers Briscoe and Helio Castroneves marked the 35th time in Penske's long open-wheel history that drivers from the powerhouse team have swept the top two spots.

Briscoe's second IndyCar Series win of the season was also the seventh win for Penske on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course layout.

NEXT STOP: The IndyCar Series has the final installment of six straight weeks of racing when it moves to Canada on Saturday for the Rexall Edmonton Indy. The race will be a road course event based at the Edmonton City Centre Airport. The race will be telecast live at 5 p.m., Toledo time, by ESPN.

The series returns to the Midwest in August with a stop at Kentucky Speedway Aug. 9, and at Detroit's Belle Isle Park Aug. 31.



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