Rahal's spoiling for a fight

Graham Rahal drives his Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara during practice for the...

Graham Rahal drives his Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara during practice for the IZOD INDYCAR Series Honda Indy Toronto on July 6, 2012 in Toronto. (Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images/AFP)

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:20 PM ET

TORONTO - What if they held a Honda Indy Toronto and a hockey game broke out?

Well Graham Rahal, for certain, would want to be part of it and he would want to play the enforcer's role.

The driver of the No. 38 Ganassi Racing Honda is a huge hockey fan and is a long time season ticket holder for his hometown Columbus Blue Jackets.

On Saturday Rahal teamed up with New Jersey Devil winger David Clarkson, a native of Toronto, to promote a pair of kids charities -- Clarkie's Kids and the Graham Rahal Children's Foundation.

Both organizations help sick and disadvantaged children take part in activities -- like going to National Hockey League games or IZOD IndyCar Series races.

"I started doing it when I played junior for the Kitchener Rangers," Clarkson said.

And Rahal began his foundation to follow in he footsteps of his first team owner, the late Paul Newman, who founded the Hole in the Wall camps for sick kids.

Not only do Clarkson and Rahal share a passion for hockey, they have mutual pals in the sport like Blue Jackets star Rick Nash.

"I'll tell you it hasn't been easy being a Blue Jackets fan the last couple of seasons," Rahal said.

And Clarkson said that one of his parents' fondest sporting memories was being at the very first IndyCar event in Toronto in 1986 where Bobby Rahal -- Graham's dad -- won the race.

"When my dad met Graham (on Saturday) he was excited," Clarkson said.

Oh, and why would the younger Rahal like to be a hockey enforcer?

"Because I'd like to hit people."

TAGLIANI APART OF THE FAST SIX, BUT ...

Alex Tagliani made it to the Fast Six in the final qualifying session for Sunday's Honda Indy Toronto but will have to take a 10-spot penalty when the race starts.

The penalty comes because the No. 98 Barracuda/Bryan Herta Autosports Honda team put a new engine in the car prior to coming to Toronto.

But the Montreal native, was still happy with his performance Saturday, finishing sixth with a lap of 59.5616 seconds.

"Our guys are working really hard," Tagliani said. "Slowly but surely we¹re making improvements to the car.

"It's always good to always consistently be in the front and fight with the top guys," he added. "That's what we need to be doing to give ourselves a chance to score some better results in the season."


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