Reynolds "Joie" Ray, Jr.
September 29, 1923
Died: April 13, 2007
Home: Lousiville, KY
Ray was born
in Louisville, Kentucky and was
primarily an open-wheel and stock-car
racer. Despite many sources
to the contrary, was not the first African-American to race
in NASCAR's top series. The Joie Ray who started 25th in the
1952 Daytona race in a Henry J was white, from Portland,
Oregon and little is known about him. They were two
However, in 1947,
Ray was the first African American licensed by the American
Automobile Association. Ray raced primarily in the Midwest
and raced in AAA, USAC, CSRA and other organizations. Though
never officially in a NASCAR stock car, Legends of Nascar
feels it is important to distinguish the differences of the
two Joie Rays (other Joie Ray here).
Elias Bowie became
the first African-American to race in NASCAR's top series,
then known as Grand National, when he raced in the July 31,
1955 event at San Mateo, California.
Ray died in
Louisville of pneumonia.
our web site about motorsports
pioneer Joie Ray. Ray's racing
career spanned 17 years racing
Sprint, Midget, and Stock cars from
1947 to 1963. Our records reflect
that Joie drove his first race on
Easter Sunday, 1947, at Mitchell,
IN. Joie is no longer with us, but
he can rest in peace, knowing that
he has paid his dues and more.
the first African American AAA
license holder and ran in the
Central States Racing Association
(CRSA), The International Motor
Contest Association (IMCA), United
States Auto Club (USAC) and the
Midwest Dirt Track Racing
learning of a Sprint car for sale
for $450, Ray placed a dollar bet on
the number 450 and won $500.
his prize money to buy his first
race car in 1946, the #7 Joe’s
Special (shown here).
Joseph Reynolds Ray, Sr. was an
Eisenhower appointee at the Housing
and Home Finance Agency (now called
HUD) in the 1950s in Washington, DC.
Before that, the senior Ray worked
in Bloomfield, Kentucky as a
teacher; and in Louisville as a bank
teller who was eventually promoted
to vice president of the bank, a
president of another bank, and a
partner in Ray and Hawes real estate
agency. Ray’s mother, Ella Hughes
Ray was a schoolteacher whose family
inherited 300 acres of farmland in
Maud, KY that was rented to white
February 21, 2008,
Joie was honored post-humously
for his auto racing
accomplishments, by the Kentucky
Legislative Black Caucus in a
Black History Month celebration
at the Capitol Rotunda in
Joie was one of three special
guests on Don Kay’s “The
which streamed live from
for book information.
has appeared on several national
television and radio programs
and is featured in several
books, periodicals and newspaper
articles about his racing
last TV appearance was in
on the SPEED Channel program
February 25, 2005,
Joie was a guest on the “Steve
Harvey Morning Show”.
was among the 33 celebrities
honored at the
in pre-race ceremonies. Some
other guests honored were boxing
legend Muhammed Ali, comedian
Ruth Buzzie, TV mom Florence
Henderson, actor/singer Jim
Nabors, actor George Hamilton,
and Paula Abdul, judge on
More on www.JoieRay.com
Joie in the 1940's
Nascar Nextel Cup Series Tickets
Copyright © 2003
by Roland Via. All rights reserved. Revised:
06/08/12 08:11:13 -0400.
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