In September 1988, Heifner built his first dealership, a Hyundai store in Columbus for Germain Motor Co. One year later, he built one of the first Lexus stores -- Lexus of Dublin, outside Columbus -- also for Germain.
The next summer, Heifner signed a contract to build Lexus of Dayton for Rahal and his partner John Higgins. Heifner had met Rahal a few years earlier at a social event. "I have goose bumps right now thinking of it," Heifner recalled. "Bobby was my hero."
Higgins, 68, also a vintage racer, now owns Lexus of Dayton, which has undergone three Heifner-built expansions.
In 2007, Rahal called on Heifner to build a 10,000-square-foot personal race car garage near Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. It includes Rahal's favorite cars, racing memorabilia, artwork, car service bays and a two-bedroom apartment.
Heifner's friendship with Rahal and Higgins allowed him to travel the racing circuit with them and inspired him to enroll in high-performance driving lessons. In the spring of 2012, Heifner completed his rookie race, earning his "hard card," or competition license.
"I thought, "Holy crap!'" said Heifner. "That's a big deal!"