Only a few lucky drivers get to race in both desert racing and short course and Ray Griffith is one of those drivers. Racing both his Class 1500 car in BITD and his Prolite out at the LOORRS series, Griffith has made a name for himself as being one to look out for on the track and in the desert. The fast but humble Griffith took some time out of his schedule in between two race weekends to sit down with us and let us pick his brain.
RDC – Now that you are racing both short course and desert racing, which one to you prefer and why? How does racing one benefit you in the other?
Ray Griffith – Well that’s a hard question as they are both such different animals. Desert has the high speed whoop sections and hours worth of running as fast as you can through the desert while short course is 30 minutes of action door to door chaos! I would have to say they both have there plus sides. All the seat time is always a benefit from one to the other but honestly they tend to hurt each other sometimes. Buggy to truck is different and the mind set on saving your equipment and vehicle to let it all hang out in short course is tough.
RDC – Who are some people you look up to for inspiration both in the sport of offroad, and also outside of it?
RG – People I look up to are guys like Curt Leduc, Kyle Leduc, Ricky Gaunt and many other guys unnamed.
RDC – You and your family have always been hands on in your racing program starting back in the Jeepspeed days prepping and building your cars. Give us a little history on how you got started racing at an early age.
RG – I got started racing young on bikes and sand rails putting my first buggy together at age 12. By 16 a family friend got us into Jeepspeed and it has just snowballed since then. I love working and learning as we go and I’m always asking questions and looking for ideas. We are a low budget team looking for a sponsor and the only way to get there is to dive in and get dirty.
RDC – In 10 years where do you see yourself both in racing and in your personal life?
RG – 10 years is a long way to go we will see where the road takes us. Hopefully have a full time sponsor and quit my day job! lol
RDC – When race day comes, do you have an rituals before the race starts or any superstitions?
RG – Get a little sugar high and pray I don’t break too much stuff out on the track!
RDC – What are you goals in your racing career in both desert and short course?
RG – Goals are always to win, get a championship, a sponsor, and always improve the cars even when they good! Fast can always be faster!
RDC – If you could sit co-dawg with any racer who would it be, and on what race course?
RG – I would have to say Robby Gordon in Parker that dude can lay it down!
RDC – Which desert course and short course track do you like racing on the best and why?
RG – In desert it’s the Parker 425 it’s a huge race, the course has fast sand washed fun technical sections and flat out whoop sections. In short course Lake Elsinore has huge jumps and close to home! I also want to get out and race Crandon that could possibly steal the short course favorite.
RDC – You spend a lot of time at the shop prepping all your vehicles, when you aren’t there or at a race how do you spend your time?
RG – When I’m not at the shop I like going to the river, mountain biking, or visiting with my friends and family doing anything.
RDC – If you could be Roger Norman, Casey Folks, or Ritchie Lewis for a day, what is one thing you would do to change the sport or help make it grow?
RG – These guys do a hell of a job I would just hustle to get more following on the sport. Fans and viewers are everything and that’s how we will make the sport grow. Nascar in the dirt!
RDC – How much strategy goes I to each race? Does it depend on how you qualify? With Vegas to Reno coming up what will your game plan be?
RG – There’s definitely a lot of strategy. Qualifying well always plays a key in how I plan to run. Vegas to Reno is completely different to get ready for as qualifying isn’t really as important with such a long race. Your mind has to be on finishing the race not worried about leading it and if your there at the finish you will be leading it! For V2R I’m going to save the equipment for the last 100 miles and if I have to charge there I will.
Keep an eye out for Ray Griiffth this weekend in his Prolite out at the LOORRS race at Glen Helen, and then changing gears and piloting his Class 1500 car in the BITD Vegas to Reno race.