AMERICUS, Ga. — Story by Managing Editor Jacob Seelman for Race Chaser Online — NHRA photo — Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Michael Ray, the No. 7 seed in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship standings, announced his immediate resignation from the Star Racing team earlier today.
The move comes after Ray won two races last season and finished second in the NHRA PSM points standings driving for the Star Racing team.
The news was originally broken by National Dragster, an official partner of NHRA.
“This is just a business decision,” said Ray on the announcement. “If the performance isn’t there then a change has to be made, so I felt that I had to do what was best for me and my family. I can’t thank George and Jackie [Bryce, team owners] and Star Racing enough for all they’ve done for me and Gottspeed Racing over the last two years.”
Ray was defeated in the opening round in five of the last six NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events, including this past weekend at Indianapolis, where he was the No. 4 qualifier.
Ray’s overall round-win record this year is 7-10, however, he was the No. 1 qualifier at the first two Pro Stock Bike events of the season (Gainesville and Charlotte). In total, the class veteran, who made his debut at Denver in 2007, has one runner-up finish and one semifinal appearance in 2014.
Star Racing owner George Bryce said the team was “shocked and surprised” by Ray’s decision.
“We just found out today at 2 p.m. [Eastern time] … . He’s obviously not happy with performance or the reliability we’ve had lately but we believe as a team that we’ve just turned the corner,” Bryce said. “For example, we had the quickest bike in the final qualifying sesison at Indy and earned three bonus points. We’re very disappointed but we’ll do what we always do, which is keep digging and keep moving forward.”
Bryce expects to announce the team’s future plans shortly.
Ray admits he does not currently have a ride for the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, Sept. 12-14, but hopes to find a competitive seat before then.
The event at zMAX Dragway is round #1 of the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship.
Former Star Racing rider Scotty Pollacheck left the team during the 2013 Countdown. He was replaced at last year’s final two events by then-rookie Chaz Kennedy. Pollachek has raced this year for Matt Smith Racing and is the No. 8 seed in this year’s Countdown.