When 8Star Motorsports announced its program in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship this season, logic would have dictated the team’s standout driver from the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Sean Rayhall, would have moved up with them.
Alas, despite a seat fit and signs pointing to him having the shot, he was unable to strike a deal ahead of the season-opening round at St. Petersburg. The Enzo Potolicchio-led team made it to St. Pete with Scott Hargrove, another talented young prospect, who had done well in winter testing.
But Rayhall will get his first shot this weekend, in 8Star’s entry for the pair of races at Barber Motorsports Park, for what both hope will be the first of many more weekends together in the series.
“I am so excited to have this chance to be back with 8Star Motorsports and to make my Indy Lights debut. I am very fortunate to have Bass Egg and Edvisors who believed in me to put together the funding for this event. I am beyond grateful for their efforts! ,” Rayhall said in a team release. “I am really looking forward to get back on track at Barber where I have had experience before and get my first laps in the Dallara IL-15!”
Added team manager Gary Neal, “After a succesfull 2014 season with Sean, it is good to have him back, this time in the 8Star Motorsports Indy Lights. Even though we missed the Long Beach race and lost a little room against the other teams, we are now back on track with Sean (Rayhall) and his effort to be at Barber. Sean is very talented and we will work hard in the practices leading up to the race to make him as comfortable as possible in the car and have a good, clean race.”
The Rayhall confirmation will leave the Indy Lights field at Barber at either 12 or 13 cars, depending now if Andretti Autosport confirms Matthew Brabham for a third consecutive weekend. The series is yet to release the entry list.
The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.
IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.
This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.
INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists
IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.
“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.
“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.