- August 03, 1966
- United States
- Not Active
Greg Ray is an American former racing driver who reached a peak in 1999 when he was the Indy Racing League champion. In 73 Indy Car starts between 1997 and 2004, Greg Ray scored five wins. He retired from racing in 2004, after spending two seasons in the IndyCar Series with his own team Access Motorsports.
Greg Ray was born on August 3, 1966, in Dallas, Texas. Ray started his career by SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) driving school in 1991. Next year, he was competing in several SCCA-sanctioned Formula Ford 2000 competitions, driving a Van Diemen RF92 for Primus Racing. At the end of the season, he was the 1992 SCCA American Continental champion.
The next success came in 1993 when Ray won the annual SCCA National Championship runoffs at Road Atlanta. He was driving Formula Atlantic-spec Swift DB4 (Toyota).
In 1994, Greg Ray spent a full season in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, finishing in the third place at the end of the season. In eleven races, he won three times at Phoenix International Raceway, Mosport International Raceway and the Milwaukee Mile.
The next competition for him was the 1996 PPG/Firestone Indy Lights Championship. He was driving the #27 Lola-Buick for Team Green in the #27 KOOL Lola-Buick V6. His best result during a season was the second place at the Milwaukee Mile. He finished 12th in the championship.
Greg Ray made his debut in the premier racing competitions in 1997, during the 1997 portion of the 1996-1997 Indy Racing League season. He was driving the #97 Dallara-Oldsmobile for Thomas Knapp Motorsports in five events, including Indianapolis 500.
In a fact, his Indy Car debut was at the Indianapolis 500, where he finished 25th due to a water pump failure. His best result was 8th place at Texas Motor Speedway.
In the 1998 Indy Racing League season, Ray continued to drive Knapp's #97 Dallara-Oldsmobile. At Indianapolis 500, he sensationally managed to qualify second. In the race, he was leading for 18 laps before retiring on lap 167 due to a gearbox failure. In the next race, at Texas, Ray finished second.
Knapp Motorsports was skipping some races due to a lack of sponsorship so Ray participated in two races with AJ Foyt Enterprises' #11 Dallara-Oldsmobile, as a replacement to the injured Billy Boat. Ray rejoined Knapp for the final three races of the season. He finished 21st in the championship standings.
For the 1999 Indy Racing League season, Greg Ray joined Team Menard to drive the #2 Dallara-Oldsmobile. Early in the season, he scored two pole positions at Phoenix International Raceway and Lowe's Motor Speedway. At Indianapolis 500, he started second and finished 21st.
After finishing second at Texas, his maiden Indy Car victory came at the Pikes Peak International Raceway. After that, he won at Dover International Speedway and then again at Pikes Peak. At the end of the season, after ten races, Greg Ray became the champion, beating second-placed Kenny Brack by 37 points.
The defending champion continued to drive for Team Menard in 2000, having a number 1 on a car. During a season, he scored six pole positions, including the best starting place at the Indianapolis 500. Ray was leading for 26 of the first 66 laps before crashing out on lap 67.
Later in the season, Ray would win the Midas 500 Classic at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He was 13th in the points at the end of the season.
Ray started his third season with Team Menard scoring a pole in the first race at Phoenix. In the third race of the season, at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he scored his fifth Indy Car win in a career. It turned to be his last victory. At Indianapolis 500, he qualified second and finished 17th. Ray left Team Menard after tenth round, rejoining AJ Foyt's team for the last round at Texas Motor Speedway.
Ray started the 2002 season without a ride. For Indianapolis 500, he was hired to drive the #11 Dallara-Chevrolet for A.J. Foyt Enterprises. He crashed out after 28 laps. Ray continued to drive for A.J. Foyt in eight more races. For the last two rounds, he joined Sam Schmidt Motorsports in the #20 Dallara-Chevrolet.
Geg Ray was again without a ride ahead of the 2003 IndyCar Series season. He started his own team Access Motorsports, fielding the #13 Panoz G Force-Honda from the third round of the championship. His best result was 8th place in four races (Indianapolis 500, Kansas, Gateway, Texas) and he finished 15th in the points.
During the 2004 IndyCar season, the team struggled with sponsorships. Ray reached seventh place in his Texas as the best result before withdrawing from the championship after six races. The team closed up its doors at the end of the season and it was also the end of Ray's career.