Rayhall, 8Star look to finish strong at MRLS; second crowd-funding campaign launched


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.

Texas starting lineup: Felix Rosenqvist back on pole; Scott Dixon qualifies second


FORT WORTH, Texas — For the second consecutive year, Felix Rosenqvist will lead the NTT IndyCar Series starting lineup to the green flag at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Arrow McLaren driver is hoping the third time will be the charm at the 1.5-mile oval, where he has run extremely well but has only a career-best 12th in five starts.

“We’ve always been good here, but this is a whole different confidence level compared to last year,” Rosenqvist told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “Let’s try to wrap it up (Sunday).”

In 2020, Rosenqvist was competing for a podium when he crashed with 10 laps remaining at Texas.

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for speeds from Saturday’s time trials

INDYCAR AT TEXASSchedule, start times, how to watch on NBC, Peacock

Last year, he started first on an oval for the first time in his career but finished 21st because of a broken halfshaft.

“It’s definitely one of my favorite tracks, and naturally, I’ve always been OK here,” Rosenqvist said. “It was the first oval that made sense to me. Every year I’m building on that. But looking at the results, they don’t represent the speed I normally have.

“I don’t want to jinx anything, but I hope tomorrow is going to go a bit better and some luck our way would be nice. It’s been feeling super good. Arrow McLaren has been mega every session, so just keep it rolling.”

Arrow McLaren qualified all three of its Chevrolets in the top five, building on a second for Pato O’Ward and fourth for Alexander Rossi in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The March 5 season opener was a disappointing start for Rosenqvist who was squeezed into the wall by Scott Dixon on the first lap.

Dixon, a five-time winner at Texas, will start second Sunday, followed by Rossi and Josef Newgarden. O’Ward will start fifth alongside Takuma Sato, who will start on the outside of the third row in his Chip Ganassi Racing debut.

During nearly four hours of practice and qualifying (including a special high-line session), Saturday’s lone incident involved Conor Daly.

The Ed Carpenter Racing driver spun three times but stayed off the wall and in the frontstretch grass. Aside from a front wing change and new tires, there was no damage to his No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet during the incident midway through the 30-minute session in which drivers were limited to the high line.

“I hadn’t really had a moment before, but it snapped really aggressively,” Daly told NBC Sports after final practice. “Not ideal, but I do know my way around correcting a spin it seems like. I drove NASCAR last weekend and that seemed to help a little bit. I drove in the dirt a lot in USAC Midgets and seemed to be able to save something but not ideal or what we wanted to have happen.”

Daly will start 25th of 28 cars alongside teammate Rinus VeeKay in Row 13. Carpenter qualified 18th.

“Our three of our cars were clearly looking for something. Mechanical grip is for sure what we need. Qualifying we actually expected to be a lot better, but we found an issue there. We’ll see what happens. This race can change a lot. I’m confident in the team to hopefully figure some things out for tomorrow.”

Here’s the IndyCar starting lineup for Sunday’s PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway (qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine and speed):


1. (6) Felix Rosenqvist, Dallara-Chevy, 220.264 mph
2. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 219.972


3. (7) Alexander Rossi, Dallara-Chevy, 219.960
4. (2) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Chevy, 219.801


5. (5) Pato O’Ward, Dallara-Chevy, 219.619
6. (11) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 219.508


7. (10) Alex Palou, Dallara-Honda, 219.480
8. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 219.355


9. (18) David Malukas, Dallara-Honda, 219.256
10. (26) Colton Herta, Dallara-Honda, 219.184


11. (28) Romain Grosjean, Dallara-Honda, 219.165
12. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Dallara-Honda, 219.146

ROW 7 

13. (55) Benjamin Pedersen, Dallara-Chevy, 219.100
14. (14) Santino Ferrucci, Dallara-Chevy, 218.892


15. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Dallara-Chevy, 218.765
16. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Dallara-Honda, 218.698


17. (77) Callum Ilott, Dallara-Chevy, 218.427
18. (33) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 218.375

ROW 10

19. (78) Agustin Canapino, Dallara-Chevy, 218.367
20. (27) Kyle Kirkwood, Dallara-Honda, 218.227

ROW 11

21. (06) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 218.196
22. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 218.103

ROW 12

23. (51) Sting Ray Robb, Dallara-Honda, 217.676
24. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 217.611

ROW 13

25. (20) Conor Daly, Dallara-Chevy, 217.457
26. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Dallara-Chevy, 216.880

ROW 14

27. (45) Christian Lundgaard, Dallara-Honda, 216.210
28. (30) Jack Harvey, Dallara-Honda, 216.103