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'Lil Sassafrass' to race in the NPK Invitationals in Arkansas


In August of last year, we introduced our readers to 8-year-old Buna racer Aliyah Rayon, better known as Li'l Sassafrass. She had been racing for a grand total of only six months at that time, but that's all the experience she needed because she won the "660 Wars Race" at Evadale Raceway last year! This was Aliyah's first win, and she raced against all boys from the ages of 6 to 18 years! Her winnings? $200, and in 8-year-old-girl talk, that's big money!

But wait, theres more!

The now 9-year-old 4th grader at Buna Elementary has a few more tricks up her sleeve. Danica Patrick is so last year! Now the field is wide open for Aliyah to blow the doors off the racing world!

Aliyah's dad, Tre Rayon also of Buna and a former racer himself told ETB that his little girl, has been invited to the biggest race of her career. NPK or No Prep Kings Invitational on October 14th in Newport Arkansas is by invitation only and out of 736 racers, they selected Aliyah as #7 out of 32 chosen. And to make it even more of a 'Wow' moment, she is also the youngest racer on the track with the oldest being 18-years.

The race guarantees a $3,200 haul plus bragging rights to the fastest driver and Aliyah has just as good a chance as any.

When asked what she thinks about not only racing in such a big race, but being invited to do so, Aliyah said, "It's really cool! I'm kinda nervous but very excited!" She's only been racing since she was seven, but she already has plans for the winnings. "I'll probably spend some on my race car, but I don't know what to do with the rest." Aliyah said that in her previous win she ran 11.90 seconds from the starting line to the 8th mile mark. This time however, her plan is simple; to race as fast as she can!

For any aspiring racers out there, Aliyah has a word of advice, "Don't worry about who or what is beside you. It will just make you more nervous. Just focus on the track ahead."

East Texas Banner can see a lot of really good things in her future. We will be following her career and updating our readers as she grows and wins her way to Daytona and beyond!

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