Nevertheless, all of his combined experience gives Rayhall a résumé that makes the Georgian one of the nation’s most multi-talented drivers, even if dirt-track racing isn’t yet among his varied list of skills.
“I know I have a lot to learn on dirt. I was pretty fast the one night that I went and ran one, but passing is a really difficult deal in those cars,” Rayhall noted. “From asphalt and road course racing, there’s a lot (different) to figure out, and it’s not like on a short track, where you can just put a bumper to someone.
“That’s definitely going to be a learning curve, so I’ll be leaning on T.J. to get some knowledge and feed off of him, but I’m really looking forward to this and I think it will be a lot of fun.”
Rayhall’s varied list of racing accomplishments provides a motivator for him in this new endeavor. He desperately wants to add “dirt sprint car winner” to his career timeline.
“The one place I haven’t won on is dirt,” Rayhall explained. “I’ve won on short-track asphalt ovals in late models, I’ve won in Indy Lights, I’ve won a European Le Mans title in sports cars, but I’ve got a goal here and I want to win on dirt. I think that would be a nice full-circle thing, with me being so versatile.
“If I get to running pretty well, we’re going to try and run some more, because I want it just as much as they do,” Rayhall continued. “We’re going to focus a lot on testing the first year, as a team, because I have to get my feet wet and figure out how to chase the tracks. Next year is when we hope to be flat out.”
Rayhall doesn’t have a schedule set, mainly because he knows he’ll need to get up to speed and because he’ll still have a lot of his focus on his business endeavors in the real estate world when he’s not behind the wheel of a methanol-fueled sprint car.
However, if all goes according to plan, Rayhall isn’t ruling out a future pursuit of top-level dirt racing, such as a run at the Knoxville Nationals or even chasing the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series championship.
“I think it would be cool to pursue a goal like that, but I would still – I’ve told everyone as I’ve gotten back into this, that whatever I do, it’s going to be for fun and because it’s something I’m enjoying doing,” said Rayhall. “But yeah, if things go well, maybe we will look at doing Knoxville in the future or considering a run at the World of Outlaws (schedule) a few years down the road. We just have to see.
“As long as we’re having fun, we’ll be doing what we’re doing and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Regardless of where the future takes him, at least in the short term, Rayhall is focused on enjoying the ride and having fun.
“I’m telling everyone that I’m going racing with family. It might be two different last names, but I’m really close with that bunch and have always been,” said Rayhall. “I’m coming back to racing for the love of the sport and to chase some wins.
“I’m going trophy-hunting. I’m not here to make a buck.”