Sting Ray Robb in Victory Lane

Episode 326

August 2, 2020

Sting Ray Robb wins his first The Road to Indy Pro2000 race

In Episode 286, October 20, 2019 titled “Sting Ray Born to Drive”, I wrote about Sting Ray Robb. The Payette, Idaho, 18 year old racer caught my eye for a couple of reasons the most obvious his name, Sting Ray.

Sting Ray’s dad Larry was a drag racer and his mom, Kimmie was an autocross racer.  Neither raced anything above the local level but both enjoyed racing and fast cars!  Obviously Corvette’s were amongst their favorites as they named their only child, Sting Ray.

As a former FFA Advisor/Agriculture Advisor I noticed that Sting Ray was an active member, now Alumni of the Payette FFA Chapter. He served as a chapter officer and attended the FFA National Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, where his race team, Juncos Racing, is headquartered. I not sure if he was racing for Juncos when he and his fellow FFA members visited the National FFA Convention.

Another reason I was interested in his career was one of his sponsors, Idaho Big Potato. I am unsure how many racers have such a unique sponsor. And as stated in October episode, I think Maine Potato Board needs to step up and sponsor the County’s own, Austin Theriault!

Sting Ray Robb with Famous Idaho Potato Tour mascot. The Idaho potato group is one of his sponsors. (SR2 photo)

The Maine Potato constructed by Moir Farms in Woodland. I sent Sting Ray Robb a copy of this photo to show that Maine has “big” potatoes also. (HTF Motorsports photo)

The Race Win

Sting Ray Robb began in The Road to Indy Pro 2000 Series two years ago at the age of 16. In his 49th start July 30, 2020 he won his first race. He has multiple podium finishes with many of those the runner up spot.

Due to COVID 19, the Pro 2000 has had to juggle their schedule to salvage the 2020 seventeen race season. This past Wednesday and Thursday the teams were at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio for a triple-header. That is correct, a triple header.

Juncos Racing’s Sting Ray Robb in prayer prior to racing in the Road to Indy Pro 2000 Series races at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio. (SR2 photo)

Sting Ray Robb finished tenth in the first race on Wednesday July 29. He started in third place. Robb mentioned that after the race he relied on a short memory of the mediocre finish and knew that the Juncos Racing team would help him improve in the doubleheader on Thursday.

Thursday brought new hope and encouragement when Robb missed a pole position start by less than .02 seconds to pole winner Braden Eves, from New Albany, Ohio. Robb’s team mate, Artern Petrov, St. Petersburg, Russia, won race two with Robb finishing third.

In Victory Lane after winning his first Road to Indy Pro 2000 Series race at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course. In his fourth Pro 2000 season, Robb (18 years old) won by .6 seconds over Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing). Robb currently is second in Pro 2000 Series standings one point behind leader Devlin DeFrancesco after 5 rounds in the scheduled 17 race series. (SR2 photo)

With help from race reporter, Steve Wittich, this is how Sting Ray Robb’s finish on the top of the leaderboard happened.

After two races were in the books of the Mid Ohio Tripleheader some may have been thinking race three may be anticlimactic. Juncos Racing veteran Sting Ray Robb and the 16 other drivers made sure that wasn’t the case. Robb, who made his Indy Pro 2000 debut in 2017, drove from fifth to victory lane to celebrate an emotional first win.

“What a turn of events from yesterday here at the Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio. It was an amazing ride that resulted in a P3 finish in Race 2 and the long awaited TOP OF THE PODIUM P1 finish in Race 3!”
“A huge thank you to Juncos for rallying back and giving me a car that could fight the battles thrown at us today! I am so very grateful for my amazing family, friends, fans and financial supporters – there is no doubt that I wouldn’t be here today without each of you! All the glory goes to God! Back to Mid-Ohio next week for Race 6 & 7, tune in everyone for all the racing action.” (As of press time I am unsure whether the postponement of the NTT INDYCAR races at Mid Ohio will alter the Pro 2000 schedule)

“I started crying halfway through the in-lap, so that’s the only explanation I have for the emotions right now! It’s almost overwhelming,” said Robb. “All this time we’ve been waiting and working hard and finally our day came. I’m so thankful for all the opportunities I’ve gotten in the Road to Indy the last few years. The car was stellar, we should have been on pole, but we were able to get into the lead and hold on. But Hunter was hot on my tail, huge props to him.”

Regarding the mayhem of the first few laps, Robb said, “I think it actually helped calmed me down, kind of the calm in the storm. I think that comes from all my experience here over the past few years. I’m thankful that I got through all that, so hopefully it opens the floodgates.”

Cumberland Motor Club Mega Autocross August 7-9 at Loring

Some of the Cumberland Motor Club members posing at the Arch Hangar at the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine. (Patrick Dooley photo)

The Annual CMC Mega Autocross at Loring will be a non spectator event for the first time due to COVID restrictions. The ride along portion will also disappear. However, the folks who want to see the cars may be able to see them at Burger Boy in Caribou Friday evening when they cruise into town.

One sure way to see the event is to enter a car for the three day event. Friday will be a test and tune for free while the autocross takes place Saturday and Sunday. On-line registration is recommended and can be done until midnight August 5, 2020

On site registration is an option for each of the three days if you get to the venue on the north end of the runway early in the morning. More information may be obtained on the Cumberland Motor Club Facebook  page:

IMSA Road America race best of the day

In my opinion, the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship action at Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Sunday was some of the best racing I have seen in a long time. Races in each of the four IMSA classes, DPi, LMP2, GTLM and GTD were close. A downpour with less than one hour to go in the 2 hour 40 minute race changed the results dramatically.

The press releases from Team Penske/Acura and Corvette Racing tell the stories well and are presented here:

Helio Castroneves on left and co-driver Ricky Taylor celebrate in Victory Circle at Road America after winning the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class (Honda Performance Development photo)

In the premier Daytona Prototype International category, the Acura Team Penske duo of Taylor and Castroneves claimed their first victory of the 2020 season in come-from-behind fashion, as Castroneves passed Renger van der Zande’s Cadillac in the final 10 minutes of the race.  Once in front, Castroneves quickly opened up a half-second lead, then held on as the heavy rains returned and the race ended under caution.

The fourth race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season started under partly cloudy skies and remained dry for the first 90 minutes.  Starting from the pole, Taylor had an early race lead of just over three seconds, while Dane Cameron in the #6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 battled the Mazda of Harry Tincknell for second.

Cameron and Tincknell continued to duel following the first round of pit stops, and eventually made contact, resulting in another stop for Cameron to repair damaged bodywork and a cut tire.  The unscheduled stop and a drive-through penalty for contact effectively ended the victory hopes for the #6 Acura, with further damage sustained when co-driver Juan Pablo Montoya had late-race contact with an LMP2 entry in the rain, and had to stop again for repairs, leading to a disappointing eighth-place finish.

At the front of the field, Taylor continued to lead through the first hour before handing over to co-driver Castroneves.  Briefly dropping to third following the driver change, Castroneves pulled off a clever inside/outside pass of both Mazda prototypes in the downhill run to Turn Five to regain the lead.  With just under an hour remaining, a light rain turned into a downpour in the middle of scheduled pit stops, and officials halted the race for 21 minutes following a nearby lightning strike.

The race resumed with just under 30 minutes to go and Castroneves running second to van der Zande, both on wet-weather “rain” tires.  When the latter ran wide exiting the final corner, Castroneves moved into the lead for the third and final time, as the rain returned and a multi-car GT crash resulted in the race ending under caution.

GT LeMans class winners, Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor in the Corvette Racing C8.R #3 survived the rain slickened track at Road America Sunday to make Corvette Racing’s three for three this season. (Chevrolet Racing photo)

Things weren’t looking positive for the first half of the race. Taylor, who qualified second, led early but the expected tire degradation reduced the pace for the GTLM cars. Adding to the problems for the team were electronics issues on the No. 4 Corvette that left both Gavin and Milner without traction control.
The predicted rain for the race came with just under an hour to go. Antonio Garcia, who took over with two hours left in the race, was the first GTLM runner to pit for rain tires and stopped from sixth place. Two other GTLM cars followed suit but three others stayed out, including the then-leading Porsche which skidded off-track during a downpour at Turn One.
Milner remained on slick tires during the first deluge as officials halted the race with 43 minutes left. The rain let up initially before cars returned to the track with about 25 minutes to go once the red flag was lifted. Following the final pit stops for wet tires, racing resumed with seven minutes left and Garcia in second place.
An even more intense rain began to fall with just minutes left in the two-hour, 40-minute race. Garcia was locked in a back-and-forth duel with Porsche’s Nick Tandy just before the GTLM leader and the third-place Porsche went off-track late in the lap. Both Garcia (Corvette #3) and Milner (Corvette #4), who did a masterful job on a wet track with no traction control, were able to get through the chaos and took the checkered flag under a race-ending, full-course caution period.
Edwin Walker photo shoot
You may recall the story about Caribou’s Edwin Walker who restored one of the 1983 Rabbit GTI cars  in last week’s episode. Walker received four new Felgenwerks rims and Achilles tires which changed not only the looks but the handling on his car.
Walker invited me for a ride in the car. This was the first time I sat in a running GTI Rabbit for several years so I would not pass the opportunity up.
I suggested the photo shoot be done at Spud Speedway in Caribou. The ride out was as I remembered the typical Rabbit GTI, stiff and clattering. The car had good acceleration and had a throaty rumble with the Borla exhaust.

Edwin Walker with his 1983 VW Rabbit GTI at Spud Speedway. The car is now sporting new Felgenwerks wheels and Achilles tires. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Victory Lane photo with Edwin Walker at Spud Speedway in Caribou, Maine. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Rolling photo of the Edwin Walker Rabbit GTI at start/finish line at Spud Speedway in Caribou. The lowered GTI looked racy as it moved around the 1/3 mile track. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Let’s go racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (John 3:30 from Sting Ray Robbs fire sut HE > I)



Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing. He races Champ Karts and owns HTF Motorsports in remote Westmanland, Maine