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RAYHALL: Road America Debrief

8Star Motorsports’ Sean Rayhall files his latest Sportscar365 column…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Road America was good to us but man I am glad to be home! The week started on a rough note for us.

We really struggled with our car in the first practice and getting any pace whatsoever out of it. But my guys at 8Star Motorsports always get it figured out in time for the race

The track was very interesting to get used to in the car as well, especially with the track surface coming apart.

By the end of the practice sessions we had good pace, maybe not the same as the RSR cars, which were very quick, but we knew we would be solid on the long runs.

Quick calls were made heading into qualifying and Luis put us P3. We made some more changes before race time and sent it.

We were off to a good start. Luis had a nice battle getting back into the lead to turn the car over to me, which took some pressure off.

Road America is an insanely fun track to drive on, but very difficult to race and pass on. I got in for my stint in the lead and maintained it for a good bit until the pit stop.

We struggled with the pit lane speed and ended up getting passed in the pits by Starworks, which Renger and I had a nice little scuffle coming out of the pits fighting hard for the lead.

It was a close one, down to inches for sure.

After the restart we pushed very hard to get past Renger and I was working hard on him. It was difficult with the Prototype traffic because they were holding us up a bit initially. I fought hard but he defended on that one.

We had a few more restarts after that until the final one came out with 10 min remaining when we went green.

I pushed and pushed trying everything I could. I even drove off the track three times and about lost it in the Carousel trying to get it done.

It is very difficult to get close because this track is so high speed and you lose the front end in the corners due to the loss of front downforce being close to the car ahead of you.

All in all, I am super proud of my 8Star Motorsports team. We are so close to getting on the top step and these guys have done a phenomenal job being their first season in PC against some teams who have ran for four seasons already.

Our guys work so hard and honestly I was more frustrated that we lost for them than I was for myself.

I can’t put into words how thankful I am to my entire team, Takis, Robert Talbott, and everyone else involved with this effort!

Hoping for a strong run at VIR…

Sean Rayhall (@SeanRayhall) is the 2013 Cooper Tires IMSA Prototype Lites champion, driving for 8Star Motorsports in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

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