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Bomber driver loves All American Speedway

By: Jeannie Broussal, Special to The Press Tribune
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Bomber driver Erick Ray has been going to All American Speedway in Roseville since 1993. He first came to the track with his brother Rick Anable, when Anable raced mini-stocks and Bombers, and now Ray comes to race his No. 77 Bomber week in and week out. He hardly ever misses a race and it shows. Ray lost the 2009 Bomber championship to Adam Chapman by 12 points. He ran a few races in 2002, then didn't start again until 2007. He raced a 2001 Chevy Nova for half a year in 2002 team driving with his brother and leading in the points for most of the season. The track changed the team points and gave half to Ray and half to his brother. This moved him to sixth in points. After that, he bought a 1977 Camaro, which is the car he presently races. He had a lot of trouble in the first year with the Camaro. He had engine, transmission and mechanical problems. He went through three transmissions and two motors. Then he got sponsorship from California Transmissions, built a transmission for 2009 and has not had any problems with it since. Ray started off this year winning the season-opening race. Everything seemed to be going great until last Saturday, when he lost an engine. He is currently putting in a new engine in his car so he won't miss a race. Ray's other brother, Gene Van Zandt, has helped tremendously by going for parts and tearing the car apart and putting it back together. He has also helped financially on the new motor Ray is getting, and even helps watch Ray's kids. Ray gave him his main event trophy when he won the first race at Roseville this year. Dave Thompson, who drives the No. 37 Bomber and Ray have been helping each other and a friendship has developed between the two. "I helped him with the whole set-up thing and putting it on the scales and chassis work,” Thompson said, “and he has helped me by helping pulling my engine and putting it back in.” He also loaned Ray an engine. Ray does all the work on his car except for the machine work. Ray loves racing at Roseville and plans to race there for the rest of his life. He said he feels like he got in to racing a little late to move up, but he said he'll go as far as he can take himself. "Bomber racing is really fun," Ray said. "It's less expensive, you can take someone out for a ride and share a good time." He has also raced Street Stocks and Modifieds. Last year he took his No. 77 Bomber to different Open shows and won at Lakeport and All American Speedway. "I've got way less of a car than most people out there, but I still get out there and get the job done," Ray said. "I make what I have work. We feel like underdogs as far as equipment goes." He said this year he went into the season knowing he has a very good chance to win the championship, but he wants to have fun doing it. "I'm focusing on having fun this year,” he said. “Last year was stressful. I love the competition and winning amongst friends and other competitors. I like it all, the camaraderie, the friendships, and the whole package. I get nervous before every race, but once I'm on the track I'm fine." Ray works at Sierra Auto Care in Loomis as a mechanic. He is married to Shelly and is the father of four children - Claudia 14, Ericka 7, Billy 5 and Hannah 2. His wife and children are at the track most Saturdays. Ray's No. 77 Bomber car will be on display at California Transmissions Car Show and BBQ at 6037 Pacific Street in Rocklin from 8 a.m. until noon. He will also be racing this Saturday night at All American Speedway.