By Doug Gorman
Fifteen-year-old Sean Rayhall proudly proclaims his small-town roots, hailing from the west Georgia town of Winston near Villa Rica.
Small-town or not, he's quickly becoming one of the rising stars on the Thursday Thunder Legend's series at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Even though Rayhall had never raced a Legends car until a few months ago, he has taken the Young Lions division by storm, winning two of the first three races in this season's 10-race series.
It was the same story Thursday night as Rayhall spent most of the evening with a big lead in the first race on a night when each division raced twice at AMS.
In his first race Thursday, he took his No. 14 red and white machine to Victory Lane with room to spare.
"That car was hooked up tonight," he said. "Once I got into the lead, it was smooth sailing. You can't ask for more than that."
Rayhall is quick to give credit to former Atlanta Motor Speedway champion Doug Stevens, who spends the bulk of his time these days setting up cars for other drivers.
"I wouldn't be anywhere with out him," Rayhall said. "He has done a good job helping me with the car and also coaching me along the way."
Rayhall was not totally green when he buckled himself into his No. 14 Legends machine for the first time nearly six months ago.
After all, he had raced other types of cars on other circuits, but nothing like this.
The talented racer cut his teeth in the sport as a 12-year-old on the Formula Enterprise Series, even competing as a pro in that division.
"This takes a lot more concentration, but there is a lot better racing and you can't ask for more from the competition out here," he said. "It's all new to me, but I am loving it.
And what's not to love. Rayhall has obviously become a fast learner, quickly becoming one of the early favorites to win a points title in his debut season on the Thursday Thunder series.
But racing is more than just a hobby for the newest Thursday Thunder star. Like NASCAR drivers Joey Logano, Reed Sorenson and David Ragan did, Rayhall wants nothing more than to spring board his young Thursday Thunder racing career into a full-time ride on the sport's top circuit, NASCAR.
"We want to win a Thursday Thunder points title, and contend for a national title," he said. "Hopefully, we get a Late Model or Camper World ride next year out of it."