Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – The 2019 Late Model season at Stafford Speedway will see brothers Dave and Mike Wray racing as teammates for the first time in their racing careers.
Dave Wray raced Late Models at Stafford from 2000-2010 while Mike raced Limited Late Models in 2009, 2010, and 2012 before racing the past 4 seasons in the Late Model division.
Both brothers are looking forward to the new partnership with Mike driving the #42 DMW Graphics Chevrolet and Dave behind the wheel of the #44 DMW Graphics Chevrolet.
“It should be interesting,” said Mike Wray. “Being a two car team now will definitely help us out. We’ll both be able to try some different stuff on the cars rather than trying one thing at a time. We both have pretty similar Jay Stuart chassis although Dave’s car is a bit older than mine. It’ll be nice to be able to bounce some ideas off one another. Our family is excited but at the same time a little nervous to have us both out there at the same time. Dave’s car is the same car that I used last year for our first win after we wrecked at the Sizzler and we ran 4 or 5 races with that car before I got my car back. We had good runs with both cars last season so hopefully we can continue that this year. I can’t wait. It’s funny how that works. When the off-season is approaching, especially a year where there aren’t a lot of rain outs, you’re ready for a break but now I’m itching to get back racing.”
“It’ll be interesting to see how it works,” said Dave Wray. “The last time I drove Mike’s car I wasn’t very comfortable in the car because his legs are a little shorter than mine. When Mike drove my car last year after he wrecked at the Sizzler, he put his setup in the car and he liked it so we’re probably going to start off there and make adjustments. I can’t wait. We’re already counting down the days. Both cars are in good shape in the garage, we’re just waiting on some parts. Now that the holidays are over, hopefully the time will pass by quickly and we’ll be back at the track before we know it. We’ve never raced together at the same time other than go karts so it should be fun as long as we can stay away from each other.”
Mike is coming off a 2 win season that saw him finish third in the points, while Dave will be making his first Late Model start at Stafford since the 2010 season. Mike has won a race in each of the 4 years he has run in the Late Model division while Dave is still in search of an elusive first career victory. Mike is looking to win as many races as he can to once again be a championship contender while Dave’s goal for the 2019 season is to have fun while racing a partial schedule that could turn into a fuller schedule, depending on his results.
“I’m feeling good,” said Mike Wray. “We learn things every season about the car and we’ve improved our ability to make adjustments on the car each year. It’s pretty tough to beat Tom Fearn right now but we have a pretty good program and I’m looking forward to getting back to the track. I’ve always said I’d rather win a bunch of races than the championship so our goal is to bring the fastest car that we can every week and try to win every race and see where the chips fall for us. I think we can be championship contenders this season. With the people we have in our corner, we know we’re bringing good stuff to the racetrack every week and it’s just a matter of us going out and executing.”
“This year for me is all about having fun,” said Dave Wray. “Back when I was racing full time I put so much pressure on myself to get better and bring in sponsorships but my family put the car back together for me to just go out and have some fun with no pressure. Of course I say all that now but we’ll see how things go once we get out on the track for the first practice.”
Mike Wray has finished in the top-7 in the points standings in each of his four seasons of Late Model completion with a best finish of 2nd back in 2016. Wray has 6 career Late Model wins thus far and with 4 years of experience under his belt, he is looking to improve his consistency on the track to help elevate him to a championship level.
“I think the biggest thing for us to improve is our consistency,” said Mike. “Last year we had a mid-season lull where the car kind of went away on us. There were a couple of adjustments that we missed with shocks but once we got that figured out, the car came back to life for us and we clicked off some good finishes and won the Fall Final. It’s going to be tough this year. I see Adam Gray is coming back, Tom Fearn is tough, Kevin Gambacorta is fast, the Saunders brothers are going to be fast, Paul Arute is really coming on, and Tyler Leary is quick, so it’s going to be tough but I’m hoping that with all these fast cars that we can put on a great show for all the fans every week.”
Despite the long layoff for Dave Wray, he is confident that he won’t’ show any rust when he returns to the track.
“I ran an ACT car at Thompson and I was actually about a half a tenth of a second faster than Mike was so I think I should be ok coming back to Stafford,” said Dave. “Mike and I have done some iRacing so I remember all the points and getting a feeling of where you’re supposed to be on the track so I’m not to worried about that. I’ve been telling Mikey to not let me get to his bumper.
In addition to DMW Graphics, the Wray brothers will carry sponsorship from Torino Services, JMD Chassis, and Auto Machine.
“DMW Graphics, our brother Dennis always puts a great wrap on the car, Torino Services always hooks up with some nice cameras we use for in-car footage that we post on Facebook, Jay Stuart and JMD Chassis, and Dave Miller from Auto Machine, those guys give us a fantastic chassis and great power,” said the brothers. “Thanks to our Dad, Mom, and brothers. We’re a family operation so without them we couldn’t be where we are.”
The 2019 Late Model season will kick off at the 48th Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler® on April 26-28. Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now by calling the Speedway Box Office 860-684-2783 or online at www.staffordspeedway.com.