Greg Ray Relishes Owner/Driver Indycar Role, Set for Texas FORT WORTH-DALLAS (June 4, 2004) -- Greg Ray has never shied away from a challenge. The same drive that took the Texan to the 1999 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series championship is ...
Greg Ray Relishes Owner/Driver Indycar Role, Set for Texas
FORT WORTH-DALLAS (June 4, 2004) -- Greg Ray has never shied away from a challenge. The same drive that took the Texan to the 1999 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series championship is pushing him now as he prepares his Access Motorsports team for the Saturday night, June 12 Bombardier 500k at Texas Motor Speedway.
Ray expanded his role as an IRL IndyCar Series driver to the status of the only full-time owner/driver on the circuit last season. The effort required to maintain and expand the smallest full-time series team is mindboggling.
"IndyCar racing is more competitive today than it ever has been," said the pilot of the Access Panoz G Force/Honda. "The teams are more equal than they ever have been. There are more high caliber drivers in this series than there ever has been in an open-wheel series. The rules are very, very tight. To do all those things well, the most difficult thing is balance.
"How do you do all those things, and do all those things well? For me to really push my team, the business, the sponsorship along, I've got to make sacrifices with my family and my children. That's a difficult thing for me to agree to.
"For me to be the absolute best father and husband, I have to make sacrifices to the race team. That's a hard one for me to swallow too.
"I've tried to tackle all these things. It's like trying to stack 20 balls into a slot that holds ten."
Ray has been an American Indy Racing League success story since the first series race at "The Great American Speedway." He steered Thomas Knapp's Dallara running on a limited budget to a thrilling runnerup finish in IRL's 1998 Texas event.
Ray and the Access Motorsports team have relied on hard work from a limited staff led by crew chief Jamie Nanny for their results, highlighted by a front-row starting position in April's IRL IndyCar Series run at Japan's Twin Ring Motegi.
"No matter what happens on any given day, they are there with smiles on," commented Ray on his crew. "That passion is completely contagious. We have three full-time guys that really work on the car, some other teams have 30.
"In short, even though we are a small team, we take a lot of pride in doing it ourselves. It's a very traumatizing experience but very rewarding."
Ray certainly isn't afraid of working hard to achieve his dream. A "typical" day begins in the dark of the morning and ends hours after the sun has set.
Keeping up with Greg Ray for a day would entail: <pre> 5 a.m. Alarm goes off. 5:30 a.m. Three to five-mile run. After run Get ready for day, time in the office prior to kids waking up. 7:15 -- 7:50 a.m. Spend time with children, finish homework. 8 -- 8:30 a.m. During school year, take kids to school. 8:30 -- Noon Work in office. Noon Lunch 12:30 -- 3 p.m. Work out with weights. 3:30 p.m. Pick up kids from school. 4 -- 4:30 p.m. Time with children after school. 4:30 -- 7 p.m. Office work, return e-mails, prepare proposals. 7 p.m. Dinner 7:30 -- 9 p.m. Work in office. 9 -- 9:30 p.m. Family and spiritual time. 9:30 -- Midnight Wrap up office work. Midnight Lights out.
</pre> Ray will be seeking his first checkered flag at Texas in the Bombardier 500k. He will be challenged by Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice, defending series champion Scott Dixon, former Indianapolis 500 victors Helio Castroneves and Al Unser Jr. along with two-time Texas winner Sam Hornish Jr.
Tickets for the Bombardier 500k are available daily at the speedway, by calling (817) 215-8500, online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com and at Ticketmaster locations. The Fast Pack 4, offering fans 2004 season tickets that include two IRL IndyCar Series races and a pair of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events, are on sale at the speedway or by calling the ticket hotline. The Fast Pack 4 season tickets will be renewable for the 2005 Texas Motor Speedway season.