California Masher Johnny Gray
How we doing Johnny!
JG: Oh not to bad. Just working on winter time stuff like
putting new cars together and fixing up the mule for a another
Can you give us fans a brief history on yourself?
JG: I have been racing since I was about 12 or 13, but I
have had many hobbies since then. I love to hunt and fish with my
friends and family. I also like to work on my '79 Ford pick-up, or
just go for a ride on my Harley.
You started racing Outlaw Karts at 13....
JG: When I was 12 I had enough of watching racing and just
wanted to do it! So I talked my dad and mom into getting me a
Outlaw Go-Kart. Since my father and I had no clue what to do with
it once we got it, we went to someone who did. That was George and
Daniel Becker. After a season of help from them, they offered me
to race with them. That is how I met Sean, Daniel and Jamie
Becker. They really are the ones who taught me what I know about
this great sport! After some years of getting my butt kicked by
Sean and Daniel in Go-Karts, I got a Sprint Car. Then it wasn't
too long before Sean and Daniel got sprint cars and here we are
You chose a pretty good group to help you!
Then the jump to the Sprint Cars in '99......
JG: I found it to be a little easier than a Go-Kart because
it had power steering and shocks. Anyone who has raced a Go-Kart
knows they are pretty rough! After flipping 5 out of 6 weeks in a
row I think I may have got the hang of it!
Can you share something from that first race?
JG: In my first race, we broke a drive line and sat stopped
on the back stretch of Silver Dollar, until a lap later when
someone not slowing for the yellow hit me and destroyed my first
car. I learned a lot that night. Don't stop on the track!
Talk about a learning lesson, an expensive one at that!
You earned Rookie Of The Year honors at Silver Dollar Speedway
that same year!
JG: I somehow ended up 6th in points, earning me Rookie Of
The Year. I would say that's one helluva accomplishment, Chico can
bite a guy big time. After I won rookie of the year it was time to
look for my first win.
Care to share what thoughts and feelings you had when you
flashed under the checkered flag for the first time that August
evening in 2003....
JG: We had so many races we should have won, but lost to
mechanical problems. So when the day I finally won, it felt like
my greatest accomplishment. It was great to see the look on my
Fathers face. It meant just as much to him if not more.
In your brief career as a Sprint Car driver, you seem to keep
improving. What would you say is the contributing factor(s) to
JG: I hate to lose! And second is the worst loser because
you were so close but it was you that didn't pull the win off.
You've done some racing in New Zealand and bagged one main
event win too!.....
JG: I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to race
down under because I met so many great people. I went to New
Zealand to surprise my little sister who was going to school over
there, and with some help I found a car to drive!
Let's talk about your 2004 season for a moment.....
I would like to congratulate yourself, crew and your
sponsors a belated, but well deserved congratulations on being the
2004 Silver Dollar Speedway Champion!
JG: This was one of the toughest seasons I've ever had. We
had a new crew chief part way through the season, which made an
awesome change for the team. It took a lot of hard work for all of
us, but I was probably the most relieved to have it all over.
"Silver Dollar Speedway Champion", it has a good ring
to it doesn't it!
JG: It is great to be the Champ, but it's over and time to
look at something more like "The King of California" and
"20005 Silver Dollar Speedway Champ!"
Your weekly '04 stats from Chico are stout. In 16 starts you
racked up 5 wins, 13 times you finished in the top 10, and 11 of
those finishes weren't outside the top 5!
JG: Hey, all I can say is I had an awesome car all year. My
crew chief Randy V. gave me good cars all year, along with a great
crew that put my broken cars back together! My car owner (dad) is
one of the best! He always keeps great cars and motors under me.
During the '04 season, was there any point during the season
you changed you driving style for the Championship, or did you
just let it hang out and let things fall where they may?
JG: You can only do so much on the track as a driver, so I
take what I can get and then some!
Your name will forever be etched on the list with past Silver
Dollar Speedway Champions. And those listed are an extremely stout
JG: It is pretty awesome to see my name in there with them.
I hope I can put it on there again, but on the other hand I don't
want to start and end my carer there either.
Are you running the entire Golden State Challenge Series this
JG: We hope to run most of the GSC, but I don't want to
burn my crew and pops out. We hope to do a little more traveling
with the Outlaws at the end of the year, so we are trying to save
some money and just not get burnt out.
What do you feel is going to be the biggest adjustment running
with The GSC, besides the different tracks?
JG: The biggest change will be all the traveling! Here in
Chico we are a block from the track so it's not too long of a
drive for us.
Any future goals you may be working on?
JG: Just as long as I am racing whether it is dirt or
pavement it doesn't matter.
Anything else you would like us fans to know about you. Or
share something that I didn't touch on?
JG I would like to thank all the fans, not just mine. If it
wasn't for them their wouldn't be racing. My family is another big
help to me. They have backed me a 100%.
I wish you the best this year, and I thank you again for taking
the time for us fans to get to know Johnny Gray a little bit
better. It truly has been an honor...
JG: Thank you for taking the time to get to know the real
me, and not just the driver.
For the latest news regarding Johnny be sure to check him out
To contact Gary firstname.lastname@example.org