Last season I saw a driver who had lots of talent, he had that burning desire to not just race, but race to win. So I tracked him down and today I want to introduce you to him in my Driver Profile, of racer Lee Gray.
Lee is the 23 year old son of local racer Jimmy Gray, who along with his son and Ike Braley own North Georgia Motorsports. Lee works as a Financial counselor at Medical Services of Chattanooga. He is in his 8th year racing and if he isn’t racing you can find him hunting or fishing or in the shop working with his dad on race cars.
Lee races in the Limited Late Model class at his favorite track North Georgia Speedway, he also list Rome Speedway as a close second favorite.
Lee said his dad bought his first race car from long time friend and local racing star Delbert Haynes when Lee was 2 years old and he has been around it ever since. Lee gave up high school sports when his dad Jimmy gave him the chance to drive one of his cars and he has just gotten better and better ever since.
When I asked Lee what his goals were for this year he said “Goals tend to hinder my focus on racing as a whole and I begin to let other things slide because I become too focused on not let myself fail. Then racing becomes a job and stops being fun. So I just want to finish races.” Pretty deep thinking for a young man of 23.
I asked Lee if he could walk up in the stands and tell the fans anything at all what would he say, and his answer was again wise beyond his years, when he said “ I would have to tell them how much it means to me to see the fans come out sit through the heat to watch the races. It means a lot to have people wave and cheer the drivers on because without them we would not be able to race every week!”
When I questioned lee about his favorite drivers he said “ I really have two favorite drivers. First is the original outlaw, Billy Moyer. And the second would have to be Mr. Ronnie Johnson who is like a bottle of scotch; he only gets better with time! “
Who would you most like to race against? “I don’t really know if there is I would like to race against but I would like to give credit to one of the cleanest drivers I gave ever ran against. This would be Devin Delbeck. He will run door to door with you and give room as long as you do the same. Had a few good battles with Devin and hope to be up there with him some more.”
I asked Lee to tell me and the fans something that most people don’t know about him and he said “The only thing I can think of that might not be well know is that fact that I am a college graduate who was and is still active in a Fraternity at the University Of West Georgia. Ha-ha the perception of a fraternity does not sit well with many people. And last year I went overseas to London for a few weeks to study abroad while earning my bachelors in business management…” he says his favorite memory in racing was “ My favorite memory is the second win of my career. Started fourth and stayed there till about five to go, then picked each car off and made the pass for the win on the last lap. Don’t know if I have ever seen my dad so happy.”
“The best part of racing is the speed. “ Said Lee ”Nothing beats mashing the gas in hot laps and feeling yourself pushed back in the seat.”
Lee also wanted to add this “ I would like to thank my aunt and Uncle Frankie and Charlie Whitmire of Whitmire Construction, Dependable Security Systems, the Lana’s Love Foundation and dad and Ike at North Georgia Motorsports. Without their help I would not be able to race as much as I do. Second I would like to thank my mom and dad for pushing me to always improve on my abilities to drive. My crew has several people: Tim Cruse (who is the right hand man at the track), Danny Hollifiled, Scott Whitmire, Dad, Ike Braley, and a special thanks to Tony Burrows for his help both at the shop and the track.
I would like to add that you would be hard pressed to find a more friendly and approachable driver anywhere than Lee Gray, and with his talent and racing genes, this young man is going to go far. I wish him all the luck in the world, but he ain’t going to need it.
If you see Lee at the track or at North Georgia Motorsports shop walk up and shake his hand he loves to talk to the fans.