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Sean Rayhall makes Indy Lights return with Pelfrey in Monterey

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Sean Rayhall won twice in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires last year and also made the podium at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca; he’ll have an opportunity to repeat the Mazda Raceway feat this weekend.

The talented 21-year-old Georgia native will step back into the second Team Pelfrey Dallara IL-15 Mazda, essentially with the same team and personnel he worked with last year when it was 8Star Motorsports. This was also a track where Rayhall starred in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2014, in an 8Star Prototype Challenge class car.

Rayhall adds an Indy Lights car to his diverse range of machinery he’s driven this year, which has also included the DeltaWing prototype, a Starworks Motorsport PC car, a Graff Ligier JS P3 LMP3 car in Europe and, most outside the box, a 360 winged sprint at Plymouth Speedway outside of Road America.

“I am extremely excited to return to Indy Lights this time with Team Pelfrey IL even though it’s the same group of guys,” Rayhall said.

“It’s been a busy year for me and I am blessed to add this [Indy] Lights weekend to the schedule. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has always been a great place for me as a driver and I hope to deliver a good result for Dale [Pelfrey] and the rest of the team.”

Team manager Gary Neal expanded on the team running two cars for the first time since Toronto, the last weekend for Juan Piedrahita then alongside Garett Grist. Grist continues once again but has run as a solo act at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Watkins Glen International.

“We are excited to work with Sean again as we have had two seasons together at 8Star Motorsports and with the help of our engineer, Yves Touron we achieved several wins and many podium finishes,” Neal said. “It will be very beneficial having two cars and being able to compare notes from both drivers and to find good setup for the final two races.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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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.