By BILL FOLEY
Less than 30 days before the Super DIRT Week big-block car owner Ray Graham had never met Billy Whittaker Cars 200 runner-up finisher Peter Britten.
However, they’ve came out of the box as a success and are looking to build upon that story at this year’s World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Graham said, “I read a story during the off-season where Peter was let go by HBR. He was gracious, appreciative and thankful. He had lost a ride and praised the people who let him go. That story goes a long way and says a lot about Peter Britten.”
Ray had run a fleet of Supermodifieds at Oswego and had a tremendous amount of success, but this year he made a change and put his son Kody behind the wheel of a big-block.
Graham explained, “This isn’t an apples to oranges thing. It’s more like apples to pick up trucks. It was and is a big learning curve.”
Kody has gotten a taste of big-block racing this season and his dad said, “He kept his nose clean and finished both of the races at Super DIRT Week. He ran just about all of the laps. The driver is doing his job and we just need to work a little more.”
However, he followed Kody to Fulton on a regular basis, but suddenly there was another opportunity.
Ray said, “I recently moved to the Rochester area and I am about 15 minutes from Troyer and got talking with Billy Colton. I had a couple of ideas. We’ve had Bicknells, but that is a mass market type and there really isn’t an opportunity to try new stuff. Well, Billy was interested and we had the TD4 with a couple of changes. Peter was close by and we met.”
Entering the Super DIRT Week finale where the brand new team nearly stunned everyone, he said, “We had a business plan and it was nearly perfect. We raced hard, had the car, the driver did what he was supposed to and that’s racing. We were a half lap away from perfection. We understood what happened. It is what it is. It was a great race with two great race drivers, but the guy with the fresher tire wins.”
Will this relationship continue?
Ray explained, “We’ll see. We want to get through this weekend. We can talk later.”
Graham is a successful racer and this is the first time in several years that he has taken on the ownership role and not driven.
He said, “I don’t want to detract from Kody. It is tough not racing, but I could do a couple of Supermodified races next year.”
Ray and his Supermodified team had a tremendous amount of success.
Graham said, “I grew up going to Oswego and I would stay awake at night thinking about racing there someday.”
He received that opportunity and won his share of races.
However, Graham explained, “You always stop and reevaluate what you are doing and sometimes you want to do things that are different. Last year we won half the races at Oswego. It is a great track with the best owners. I do this to have fun and it was getting to a point of non-stop complaining and drama. It could have been a soap opera.”
Of the dirt racing he said, “This is totally different. You come to the track and if you need help someone helps you. Then you load up and go home to get ready for the next race.”
So Ray Graham and Peter Britten are ready to give it a shot at the World Finals and no matter what happens this team has a plan and is prepared to give it their best.