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Ray Gardner, 1933-2018


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#1 Cheater

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 07:10 PM

And ex-Champion of Chamblee employee informed me a few minutes ago that Ray Gardner passed away yesterday evening.

A quick search found this posted at Facebook by Robert Barker of Los Angeles:

"My good buddy, for over 50 years, Ray Gardner, has passed away at the ripe old age of 85. Ray grew up in Indianapolis and he and my mother were friends since the 1950s. Both loved dancing, and both were Arthur Murray qualified instructors.

You've heard the term 'Jack of All Trades'? That was Ray. He could draw, play cocktail lounge piano, and play and teach golf (all professionally). He was outgoing, and always a positive spirit. Ray moved to Atlanta in the 1960s, and my mother uprooted us and moved there in 1970. Ray became a good influence on me. He was 38, me 15 when I moved there. I would sit with him and his pal, Bob Cozine, around a table and discuss politics and the ways of the world. He also encouraged me when I started writing at age 16, and was one of the people who steered me into considering the military, which I did.

He was a very talented person and attracted people to him. As he grew older his family took on deep significance for him, especially his three beloved daughters. And his Christian faith became ever more important to him. He attended and graduated from renowned Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, the same school that produced Kurt Vonnegut, Booth Tarkington, and Senator Richard Lugar.

Lately Ray and I vehemently disagreed on the current President of the United States, but it never bothered our friendship. I never had much of a Leave It To Beaver Life, with mom, dad, sis, the whole bit. But people like Ray have helped make it full, and more interesting.

Ray, I hope you were right and you've been reunited with your mother and father way over yonder. As for me, if I end up there, I'll be looking to thank you for being a kind soul when I was most vulnerable. There was nothing left between us unsaid. We dug each other.

Goodbye, Pal."

I knew Ray for nearly 30 years and while we at time had our disagreements, we never let it interfere with our friendship. He was one of the most talented people I have ever known and loved slot racing maybe more than anyone I've known.

RIP, Ray.

ray.jpg


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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap





#2 Jeff Bechtel

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 07:50 PM

One of the true gentlemen of slot racing. I talked with him back in the Track Owners Association days and enjoyed our conversations of the "Ole" days. 

RIP, Ray.

#3 Maximo

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 08:47 PM

RIP, Mr. Gardner!

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#4 MSwiss

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 08:48 PM

Sad to hear.

 

What a great guy.

 

I'll never his homespun race directing at the '90 Nats in Fayetteville.


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#5 Cheater

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 09:09 PM

Mike,

Except for Friday, when I had to get some sleep, I sat alongside Ray in that purple elevated race director's stand for that event.
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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#6 Howie Ursaner

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 09:12 PM

I feel sad. I loved Ray back in the '60s and I loved him as my Facebook friend these last years. He always had a comment comparing then and now that cracked up. I will miss this incredibly talented guy.

Thank you for your friendship, Ray. Rest in Peace.
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#7 slotcarone

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 09:27 PM

RIP, Ray.

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#8 Gary Adams

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 10:21 PM

What a tremendous loss. Ray may have been the most underrated pro driver of his era; what a fierce competitor.
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#9 Bryan Warmack

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 10:53 PM

And what a character!! I first met Ray at the Atlanta Arco race in December 1967 and remember going to a nearby diner with Ray and several other racers. A very attractive waitress caught Ray's eye and he never took his eye off her as she walked passed. He just kept turning his head more and more and leaning back farther and farther until he just flipped over backwards in the chair!  :laugh2:   

RIP, Ray.
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#10 Cheater

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 11:07 PM

Oh, Ray liked the ladies, that's for sure. He was married four or five times...

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#11 Kim Lander

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 03:58 AM

Wow... damn... Ray was a good friend, he is missed already... always loved being around him, always full of life and knowledge in which he was always willing to share.

Rest in peace, my friend.



#12 havlicek

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 05:04 AM

RIP, Ray.
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#13 tonyp

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 05:18 AM

RIP. We will miss you.

"And if my thought-dreams could be seen they'd probably put my head in a guillotine. But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only." - Dylan

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#14 Tom Thumb Hobbies

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 07:26 AM

RIP, Ray.

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#15 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:46 AM

RIP, Ray. :heart:


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#16 Cheater

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:57 AM

Here's a great pic from back in the day. Big arrow points to Ray and the smaller one to Bob Cozine.

 

There might be a couple-three other decent slot racers shown at this panel (LOL!); the location is unknown to me. 

 

race.jpg

As someone PM'd me, Ray was so good he didn't even need a controller!


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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#17 Cheater

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 09:04 AM

Another Facebook post by Ray's friend Robert Barker:

 

"I know it got maybe a little heavy on my post with the death of my longtime friend, Ray Gardner, at 85. I just found this picture and I want to affirm that he was a positive person, and full of life, and wouldn't want me, or anybody to be sad at his passing.
 

This photo was taken in July, 1970, the same month my mother (pictured) moved us to Atlanta. Ray lived nearby and helped us acclimate. Ray was 38, my mother Paula 34. I think the hardest thing is to realize how old I considered them then. They're just kids compared to where me and most of my peers are. Dig that wood paneling. Atlanta was a lot of fun in those days. Got to see the original Allman Brothers with Duane. So many good times they can't be shared in mixed company."

 

ray2.jpg

 


 


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#18 mjsh

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 09:29 AM

Looks like the Red track at the Atlanta Nats. Bob Kennedy-Phil Ingles-Bob Cozine-Bill Thirlwell-Sandy Gross-Howie Ursaner-Ray-Cukras??? 

 

Please excuse my spelling as that was 50 years ago when I read about the race in Model Car & Racing.


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#19 Cheater

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 09:46 AM

Seems Bob Rule was the source for that image, Michael.

 

Here's how he ID'd the racers back in 2016.

 

"Back to the mid-'60s. Pictured (1968) from right to left, John Cukras, Ray Gardner, Howard Ursaner AKA Howie, Dave Willetts (looking to his right), Charlie Pittman, Bob Cozine, cannot name the next one, and last one is Bob???"


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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#20 tonyp

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:02 AM

Phil ingles is the short guy. He drove on crutches.

 

If it’s the Atlanta Nats, Phil won the Can-Am race.


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#21 mjsh

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:05 AM

Does look like Mr. Pittman. We raced with Willetts later in Florida and he was very good.


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#22 Bryan Warmack

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:06 AM

Looks like the Red track at the Atlanta Nats. Bob Kennedy-Phil Ingles-Bob Cozine-Bill Thirlwell-Sandy Gross-Howie Ursaner-Ray-Cukras??? 

 

Yes, certainly at the Atlanta Arco in 1967. I believe it is Charlie Pittman to the left of Bob Cozine and then myself next to Sandy...



#23 mjsh

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:15 AM

 Mr. Warmack, is that Bob Kennedy on black?


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#24 Cheater

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:47 AM

Here's another photo clearly from the same race (thanks, Robert Barker!).

 

race2.jpg


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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#25 Cheater

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 11:15 AM

Just had a nice call from Bob Rule, who confirmed Ray's date of birth as January 19, 1933.

 

Bob promises to post some pics and remembrances of Ray when he gets some slack time in his busy day. Even at age 82, Bob is still going flat-out!


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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap






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