If you knew him you got the Smile, and the thrill of him up on the wheel!
As everyone that knew Donnie Ray Crawford, I too was deeply saddened to hear of this tragic loss of life. Some of us will play the “would haves” and “could haves” concerning his life. But this fact remains; the man was a racer, and he lived his life to the fullest. After watching Donnie Ray race for several years, I had the pleasure of meeting him face to face at the famous Devil’s Bowl Speedway, in Mesquite, TX. It was a typical hot, sultry June day, with no clouds in the sky. Upon my arrival, I could see many teams that were familiar to me readying for the ASCS race that would take place in a few hours. As I walked through the pit area, I asked, “Who drives this 55 car?” His crew members were quick to reply, “This guy!” There was a quick introduction, and a friendship started with a handshake and his famous smile.
I found out that Donnie Ray’s dad and grandpa were both racers, and he was carrying on a family tradition. As with most racers, Donnie Ray would never admit to any real greatness in his career, but he was very proud to have won six “Golden Drillers” at the Tulsa Shoot-Out over the years of this shortened career. He was the first to admit that wins are few, and you never realize how tough your competition is until you see who you are stacked against. But that never stopped him from climbing into the racecar.
As a special personal note to Donnie Ray, I know that he was a Christian. If you asked what the fish decal on the side of his car was, he would tell you. He knew there is a real heaven to gain, and a hell to shun. Death to a Christian is a promotion day. He has simply graduated to another location. There is no need to feel sorry or have sympathy for him. We can all certainly pray for his family members, which are left behind, as they deal with the terrible loss. But one day, those of us that understand this, will see him again. And let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Heb 12:1-2
Donnie Ray, as a member of the racing community, you will be missed. Hoping to see you soon.