October 8th, 1987 – January 14th, 2012
Donnie Ray Crawford was introduced to the sport of racing at a very young age. He was a mere two days old when he attended his first sprint car race in which his father, multi-champion Donnie Crawford, was racing. Over the next several years, Donnie Ray would experience what his life might be like in the years to come.
Early on, Donnie Ray could not wait for race night. He spent most of his time running around, not paying attention to the races, and throwing a fit when it was time to leave. But, that all changed! As he grew older, he started to understand that the papa he already loved and adored was also a multi-champion racecar driver. He experienced, first hand, the special bonds that were created in this racing environment with family, friends, and fans. At that point, Donnie Ray began to realize that he was fortunate to have two generations of knowledge, ability, experience and success that could help him in his pursuit of becoming a successful third generation racecar driver.
Donnie Ray began his racing career at age ten racing mini-sprints. Along the way, he participated in a variety of sprint car, midget and mini-sprint competitions. He won numerous point championships, Tulsa Shootouts, Pete Frazier Memorials, Al Lemmons Memorials, Oklahoma Nationals, ASCS2 wins, SMRS wins with an overall 2nd place point finish two years in a row, and Rookie of the Year titles, including Chili Bowl Rookie of the Year in 2007 by finishing 5th place overall (unprecedented for a rookie). This 5th place finish in the Chili Bowl was astounding for Donnie Ray being it was the first time he had ever been in a midget. Another accomplishment he was very proud of was his qualifier night victory in the 2011 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals.
Donnie Ray became a true hero in 2008 when he saved the life of then 12-year-old Harli White by pulling her out of a burning race car. This act of heroism was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network and the video can be viewed HERE.
Donnie Ray is a born again Christian and has always done his best to live a life that would make God proud of him. He proudly ran a symbol of a fish with a 7 in the middle of it on the side of all his racecars. This symbol stood for living a Christian life 7 days a week. He attended church in Broken Arrow, OK. weekly and was happy to share his faith with others and be outreach to non-Christians or even Christians who are struggling. A video about Donnie Ray’s faith, that was taken just a couple days before he went home to be with the Lord, can be viewed HERE.
The Donnie Ray Crawford Racing Scholarship Foundation has been setup in memory of Donnie Ray, to assist young adults in the racing community to further their education. Donnie Ray was enrolled at the University of Oklahoma and was scheduled to start attending full time to become a Petroleum Engineer. More info on the Donnie Ray Crawford Racing Scholarship Foundation can be viewed on the Scholarship Foundation page.