After his and 8Star Motorsports’ first win in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course earlier this year, Sean Rayhall launched a crowd-funding campaign to ensure they made it to the next race, the Freedom 100 on the IMS oval.
It worked, and Rayhall was back in action for his oval debut in the championship.
There was a couple-month hiatus for both driver and team between the Freedom 100 and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course earlier this month, but Rayhall and Enzo Potolicchio’s team, led by team manager Gary Neal, didn’t miss a beat at Mid-Ohio.
Rayhall emerged victorious in the second race of the weekend at Mid-Ohio, and as after the Indy GP another campaign has been launched to ensure they make it to the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in September. A link to the new crowd-funding campaign is here.
Rayhall capitalized on the contact between Indy Lights title rivals Jack Harvey and Ed Jones in order to seize the lead at Mid-Ohio, but he’d fully positioned himself to be in that position with faster laps in the early stages of the race.
“There were times I had the pace to reel them in,” Rayhall told MotorSportsTalk after the win at Mid-Ohio. “I tried to be a bit on the conservative side, save my tires, have something to go with at the end.
“When I saw lockup at the position of track they were, I drove off deeper than I’ve driven all weekend and said, ‘We gotta go.’ Usually they stay on track. They didn’t there.”
One final restart after a spin by Belardi Auto Racing’s Juan Piedrahita meant Rayhall still had to hold off Carlin’s Max Chilton and Juncos Racing’s Spencer Pigot, and maintain the car’s balance over the bump on the front straight.
“It’s really hard because of the bump and that upsets the car. It’s so hard to be patient with the throttle,” Rayhall explained. “It’s a difficult place to restart. You have to play the cards right. It’s a lot of laps to be considered a sprint race. You go with an endurance strategy: tire saving and boost saving.”
In the interim two months between Rayhall’s Indy Lights starts, he was still busy. He made a pair of PC class starts in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, tested a Ferrari 458 Italia and IMSA Prototype Lites car, and had one additional secret test.
He is now set to test for Chip Ganassi Racing later this week in Sonoma, as part of the Indy Lights driver test.
It hasn’t necessarily been the year he drew up at the start of the year, but Rayhall has been seizing the opportunities when he has them.