Dave Ray started his racing career at the age of nine racing go-karts in his hometown, Davenport, Iowa. He won several local Championships, and showed talent at a National level winning the National go-kart Championship in 1966 in Quincy, IL.
In 1973, at the age of 18, Ray started racing midgets in the family owned No. 33 car (an Edmunds with a Chevy II engine built by his father, Ralph.) He finished sixth in Badger points and was named "Rookie of the Year." After a second place finish in the 1975 Badger points, Dave stepped out of the family car to allow his brother, Mark, to start his career.
In 1976, Dave was hired to drive for car owner, John Heisdorf out of Kewaskum, WI. The new team was a success from the start as they went on to win the Badger Championship title in 1977. 1978 saw Dave again behind the wheel of a Heisdorf Racing Team midget along with teammate, Ken Biertzer (both son-in-laws to John). Ken claimed the Championship with Dave finishing in second place. The Championship was just as sweet for Dave as he designed and built his first midget chassis, the "Brand X," that claimed the Championship title.
Dave then started building more cars in his shop in Davenport, Iowa, and won the 1981 Midwest Auto Racing Association (MARA) Championship with a VW engine built by brother, Mark. He is only one of two drivers to win both the Badger and MARA midget Championships, the other being the late, Kevin Doty.
In 1983, Dave finished third in the Badger Championship before going on to concentrate on running a full time USAC schedule in the late '80's. There, he finished a career best of fourth place behind USAC greats, Rich Vogler, Mel Kenyon, and Tom Bigelow. They ran the full season coast to coast with Dave's chassis and VW engines built by Mark, all while holding down a full time job to support his family.
Dave won a total of 24 features at 14 different race tracks around the country before stepping out of the car in 1997 at the age of 42, for son Davey to drive.
Dave also built go-kart frames for his son and two daughters that also won several go-kart titles, and the chassis and Sesco engine son Davey drove to the 1997 MARA "Rookie of the Year" title. He built a three quarter midget chassis for nephew, Robbie, who won several winged three quarter midget titles with it. Most recently, Dave built the Chevy engine Davey won the preliminary feature with at the 2007 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals.
Dave retired from the Rock Island Arsenal (Rock Island, IL) in 2010 after 37 years as a tool designer, and now resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife, Debbie, where he runs his own business, RayPro Engineering. Dave and Debbie continue to support their son traveling to as many of his races as they can. In his spare time, Dave enjoys spending afternoons giving his grandchildren, Cali Malone and Layne Light tractor and 4-wheeler rides, and letting them tinker with tools in his shop.
Dave's Rookie season in 1973 at Shawno, WI
Dave in car with brother Mark, Father Ralph and family friend, Burly
Badger race in Wausau, WI 1973
Dave in car in 1978
Dave, Rich Vogler and Mel Kenyon racing in St. Charles, MO
Lars Lein, Dave Ray and Kevin Olson
Car owners, John and Arcella with Dave
1976 Angell Park Speedway
Teammates, Dave Ray and Ken Biertzer in the John Heisdorf owned midget cars
Dave and Ken Biertzer
Tri-City Speedway win, Ralph, Dave and Debbie in victory lane
Angell Park Speedway Feature Win 1978
1978 in John Heisdorf owned car
Mark and Dave with Tom Sneva
1977 Dave building his Brand X chassis in his garage
Hales Corners Speedway feature Win 1977
Angell Park Speedway
Dave and his father, Ralph
1985 Terre Haute Action Track
1980 Dave and Mark with their parents, Ralph and Donna and the family owned midget cars
Dave and Debbie with Davey
Dave, Debbie, Davey and John in victory lane
Angell Park Speedway Feature win in 1983
USAC Kokomo Speeday 1986
Mark and Dave after a race
Dave and his brother Mark in 1982
Ralph Ray with his two sons
Dave and his family at Angell Park Speedway
Dave in victory lane
Dave's 1993 Tom Knowles Memorial feature win