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Bobby Rahal became the majority owner of the newly-christened Team Rahal in 1996 with David Letterman and brought Californian Bryan Herta on to replace Raul Boesel – a move that saw the five-year old team put both cars in the top 10 of the final standings for the first time. Rahal used a strong late-season run to claim the seventh spot in the standings, closing out the year with four straight top-seven runs – capped with back-to-back season-best second-place runs at Road America and Vancouver. Herta also finished strong, scoring seven consecutive top-six finishes to close the campaign. Herta nearly scored his first win of his three-year CART/Indy Car career when he paced 40 of the last 41 laps at Laguna Seca, but was pipped on the last lap by Alex Zanardi’s legendary ‘Pass in the Grass’ in the famed Corkscrew turn. Both Rahal and Herta earned two runner-up finishes and five top-five results. Rahal qualified in the top nine in 10 races, including the last six of the season, while Herta had eight top-six starts including the last four in a row to end the year.