Monday, December 18, 2017

AWARDS: A Forgotten Winner, The 2015 nifSTAR edition...



Shawn Rayhall capping off his successful 2015 Indy Lights campaign at Laguna Seca for 8 Star Motorsports. (Image source: motorsport.com)
Yeah, it's that time again, for another riveting round of Blarney from thou Isle 'O Nofendersville...

Ah, it must be Midland to Ye Bloomin' late December, when I'm already gone; Err, Uhm, Yuhs know, Off to the New Year's, thinking of warmer days with longer Sunlight and the sounds of multiple racing engines reverberatin' off Daytona's High-banks during thou season opener Rolex 24.

Hence I'm left playin' Ketsup' momentarily, and now posting my thoughts upon some deserving racers, even if Thar off in Never-neverland now.

Per tipicali, my eclectic, very non-scientific trophy winner's name was drawn from thy list of (2015) rising stars chronicled briefly in; Uhm, which means I'd better get Kurr-rackin' upon 2017's list, Eh!


WINNER
Shawn Rayhall , Age: 22
Born: March 10, 1995
Birthplace: Winston, Georgia (USA)
2015 Indy Lights Results: 12th*; 188-points
(* = Partial Season)


Whale', Wadda Yuhs know? They've got go Kart racing Down South in Georgia? Where this young Rayhall Chap, not to be Cornfuzed with Bobby & Graham; Hya! Began racing at the tender age of seven, before winning multiple Georgia Karting titles before making his Single Seater debut in the vaunted Skip Barber series in 2007.

Yet he did dabble in the world 'O Fenders, nee Taxicabs; Err "bombers," by racing in the Legends series, winning the 2010 SCCA Pro formula Enterprises title before moving onto Sports Car racing in 2013 with dramatic results.

Shawn made waves by winning the 2013 PC Lites title with six wins before graduating to the PC Class with 8 Star Motorsports debut at the 2013 ALMS season finale's Petit Le Mans with veteran Oswaldo "Oz" Negri Jr. as his co-driver. With the duo driving Team Owner and racer Enzo Potolicchio's (Prototype Challenge( PC Class Spec ORECA FLM009/Chevrolet V-8 racing car.

For 2014, Shawn contested the entire newly Mergified Tudor United SportsCar Championship (TUSC) series in the PC Class for BAR-1 Motorsport & 8 Star Motorsports, finishing sixth in class.

And thee "Other Rayhall" definitely lit-up my radar in 2015, when he went Indy Lights racing, although I swear I knew of him before his 2015 Lights campaign with 8 Star Motorsports, which is now Team Pelfrey.

Ah, it's slowly comin' back round, as now I recall it was The Freaks breaking in this Rayhall Chap after he'd won a Sports Car race...


Shawn made waves by winning not once, but twice during an abbreviated 2015 Indy Lights campaign! Taking part in just approximately half of the season, beginning at thee most Booty-full Barber's Motorsports Park, scoring his maiden W' at NO less than Mother Speedway, albeit on the Road Course when he won the second day's outing, leading Flag-to-flag, during the Indy GP weekend.

Then he was sidelined until August, as the team was suffering financial woes, before returning to action at Mid Ohio, where he followed up his earlier triumph by emphatically scoring his second Lights victory! Along with scoring two runner-up finishes, giving him a nearly 50% Podium finish result over his nine races.


As the last I heard 'bout Shawn's Open Wheel Racing exploits was his getting to run with the B-I-G DAWGS' in a day's partial outing piloting "Narly Pinballs" #83 (Charlie Kimball) Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar during the Young Drivers test outing at "sleepy Hollow," CA. Where the IndyCar teams get extra track-time at Sonoma by running Lights drivers...


For 2016, Rayhall joined Don Panoz's Delta Wing racing squad, beginning with the Rolex 24, where he co-drove with Thy Leggy Juan', aka Katherine Legge and Andy Meyrick.

Which for some reason, I seem to think that Meyrick crashed the Delta Wing during the race...

While his "Day Job" consisted of piloting the No. 10 Graff Racing Ligier JSP3/Nissan LMP3 "Junior" Prototype with ex-Boss Enzo Potolicchio and John Falb in the European Le Mans series. (ELMS)

Rayhall's 2017 exploits seems a little harder to sus out, albeit he began the year by contesting the first two Weathertech SportsCar Championship endurance rounds in Florida, driving both of Starworks Motorsport's Prototype Challenge cars at Daytona and Sebring.

Then by snooping round the 2017 European Le Mans series, I noticed that Messer Rayhall and steady team-mate Falb drove the entire season for United Autosports; Huh? As Y'all know who's team that is right? As think Zack Brown. As perhaps Y'all have heard of the current McLaren Formula 1 Team Supremo, eh?

And it gets better yet, albeit I certainly had to hunt for it. But Rayhall & Falb were not only part of United Autosports consecutive winning ELMS LMP3 Team Champions, but won the Drivers title!

Hence, obviously, the Young Rayhall's future appears quite bright, even if it's in Sports Cars...

For the 2014 nifSTAR edition's winner's selection, see; 2014 nifSTAR winner announced as the Inaugural EuroNifStar trophy is unveiled...

NIFSTAR WINNERS
2015: Shawn Rayhall
2014: Jack Harvey
2013: Conor Daly
2012: Tristan Nunez
2007: Marcus Wilkinson

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