Ralph Ray is the paternal Grandfather of third generation racer, Davey Ray. In 1944 Ralph enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17 and served in World War II. Ralph was always a perfectionist in everything he did, including running Inter-City Builders, a roofing and siding business he owned.
Ralph always had a passion for racing. He drove and owned stock cars in the 50's and 60's, and took much pride in building his own engines. The stock block flathead in his 1937 Ford Coupe was hand ported and relieved. It had Edelbrock Aluminum cylinder heads, Jahns Racing pistons, Twin Stromberg 48 carburetors, and a WHN duo coil ignition.
Along with friend, Dayle Ahrens and sponsor, Everett's DX, they raced at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport and Bluegrass, Iowa, Sterling, Illinois, and many other local tracks.
In 1964 Ralph started his sons, Dave and Mark, in go-kart racing. They won several local and regional championships and in 1966, the National title in Quincy, Illinois.
In 1972 they bought their first midget from Mel and Don Kenyon, a former Howard Linne owned Edmunds 4-Bar chassis, with a Chevy II engine built by Ralph. In 1973, son Dave would compete in the Badger Midget Auto Racing Association, and finish 6th in the year end point standings, winning his first feature on the 1/2 mile in Wausau, WI, on his way to the Rookie of the Year title.
In 1975 they finished a highly respectable 2nd place in the Badger points, and in 1976, son Mark started his midget debut behind the wheel of the family owned car.
When Dave started building his own chassis, and Mark the VW engines, Ralph helped his sons compete all over the Midwest, taking the 1981 MARA Championship and finishing 1-2 in the 8-race UARA/MARA Challenge Cup series the same year. Ralph was active in the MARA midgets, working closely with promoters in signing races with the club, and getting lap sponsorship money for many of the major races.
They would go on to run the full USAC series in 1985 and 1986, finishing 4th and 5th in the year end season points, behind USAC greats, Rich Vogler, Mel Kenyon, and Tom Bigelow.
In 1990, the racing would start all over again, as he started the racing career of Grandson, Davey, getting him started in the go-kart division. Grandchildren, Heidi, Laura, and Robbie would follow in his footsteps. Ralph passed away in 1994, the day Heidi clinched her first go-kart championship. Ralph was so proud of his children and grandchildren, and passed on his knowledge and love of racing to all of them.