Rea Bray

in 1934

Irwin family collection

 

Rea Clyde Bray

1902 – 1941

 

Rea Bray was born on January 30, 1902 in Kansas, a son of James Pascal “J. P.” Bray and Mattie Gertrude (Carrier) Bray.

In July of 1920, Bray was riding his motorcycle near Garfield Park in Topeka, Kansas, with a young lady perched on the tank, when a policeman signaled for him to stop.  He didn’t and a 20-block chase ensued before the young couple was overtaken by pursuing officers.  Two people on his motorcycle had proved to be more of a handicap than he had thought it would be.  It took Bray about an hour to raise the $10 bail money it took to get him released from jail.

Early in 1922, Bray and a partner, Ernest Rodecker, opened the Bray & Rodecker Auto Repair Co. on the southeast corner of 7th and Jackson Streets in Topeka.  Bray was married to Eula M. Bray before 1930 but nothing more is known about Eula except that she was born c1900 in Missouri.

The following is an incomplete record of the races that Bray competed in:

 

August 30, 1927 – ½ mile dirt oval – Valley County Fairgrounds at Ord, Nebraska

            Finish:  It is currently unknown how Bray finished in these races

            Feature race winner:  Vic Felt of Deer Trail, Colorado

 

August 31, 1927 – ½ mile dirt oval – Valley County Fairgrounds at Ord, Nebraska

            Finish:  It is currently unknown how Bray finished in these races.

            Feature race winner:  John Bagley of Omaha, Nebraska

 

September 1, 1927 – ½ mile dirt oval – Valley County Fairgrounds at Ord, Nebraska

            Finish:  Bray “crashed into a fence”

            Feature race winner:  John Bagley

            Note:  18,000 spectators watched this three-day program at Ord, Nebraska

 

            Bray took a job as a patrolman on the Hutchinson, Kansas police force in 1928.  He worked nights primarily as a motorcycle patrolman although he drove patrol cars during inclement weather.  He had a colorful career for about three years, dividing his time between traffic enforcement and bootlegging investigations.  He was quick (at least by today’s standards) to shootout the tires of those who chose to flee from prosecution.  During that time, he continued to drive his racing cars.

 

July 28, 1928 – ½ mile dirt oval – Cowley County Fairground Racetrack at Winfield, Kansas

            Car:  #11 Fronty Ford special

            Finish:  Bray set the fastest time in time trials with a one-lap track record of 33.4 seconds.

                        Bray finished 4th in the 1st heat race behind Mack McAnally of Winfield; James F. Pickens of Arkansas City, Kansas; and James E. Snyder of Arkansas City, Kansas.

Bray lead from the start but, with 2 laps remaining in the 8-lap, second heat, his Bray’s steering gear locked up and the car did a 360° spin.  He was credited with finishing in 4th place behind Mack McAnally, Bob Maze of Topeka, Kansas; and A. R. Bobs of Arkansas City, Kansas.  (Note:  A. R. Bobs is believed to have been an alias used by Russell D. Hill of Arkansas City.)

Bray finished a close 2nd place behind James F. Pickens among the 6 cars that started the 8-lap 3rd heat race.

Bray started 3rd and finished in 3rd place in the 6-car, 8-lap consolation race behind P. C. “Dad” Harrier of Hiawatha, Kansas and R. F. Dutton of Arkansas City, Kansas.  (Note:  R. F. Dutton is believed to have been an alias used by Forest “Blackie” O’Bannon of Arkansas City.)

            Feature race winner:  James F. Pickens of Arkansas City, Kansas

 

August 24, 1928 – 1 mile dirt oval Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri

            Car:  Fronty Ford special

            Finish:  No results of these races have been located to date.

 

August 25, 1928 – 1 mile dirt oval Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri

            Car:  Fronty Ford special

            Finish:  Bray finished 2nd to Albert “Al” Koepke of Topeka in the 10-mile race.

                        Bray finished 2nd to Rex Edmonds of Houston, Texas in the straw hat derby.

                        Bray finished 5th behind Albert “Al” Koepke; P. C. “Dad” Harrier; Barney Oman of Los Angeles, California; and Rex Edmonds of Houston, Texas in the 50-mile feature race.

            Feature race winner:  Albert “Al” Koepke of Topeka, Kansas

 

September 6, 1928 – ½ mile dirt oval – Ottawa County Fairgrounds at Miami, Oklahoma – Sanctioned by A. A. A.

            Car:  Fronty Ford special

Finish:  4,000 fans saw Bray finish 3rd in the 1st heat race behind Vern McComb of St. Joseph, Missouri and 8.2 seconds behind John Boling of Cushing, Oklahoma who finished in 2nd place.  McComb collected $125 for the victory.

                        Bray finished 3rd behind Harley Wells of Taylor, Texas and just a fraction of a second behind 2nd place finisher, Earl Hovenden of Otis, Kansas in the 2nd 10-lap heat race.

                        Bray finished in 2nd place, 8.4 seconds behind Earl Hovenden in the 3rd 10-lap race.

                        Bray finished in 2nd place, 6.6 seconds behind Henry Donica of Cardin, Oklahoma in the 8-lap consolation race.

Bray lost a tire early in the 24-lap Grand Sweepstakes race but still managed to finish in 4th place behind Vern McComb, Earl Hovenden, and Harley Wells.  McComb collected another $450 from the $800 total purse for his victory in the sweepstakes.

            Feature race winner:  Vern McComb of North Chicago, Illinois

 

September 8, 1928 – ½ mile dirt oval – Ottawa County Fairgrounds at Miami, Oklahoma – Sanctioned by A. A. A.

            Car:  Fronty Ford special

            Finish:  2,000 spectators saw Bray finish in 2nd place, just .4 seconds behind Harley Wells in the 10-lap 3rd heat race.

Feature race winner:  Earl Hovenden of Otis, Kansas*

 

September 17, 1928 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds Racetrack in Hutchinson, Kansas

          Car:  #1434 Superior special Hisso owned by Wendell Sparling of Winfield, Kansas

            Finish:  15,000 spectators saw these races but Bray’s name is not listed in the published results.

            Feature race winner:  Rex Edmonds of Houston, Texas

 

September 21, 1928 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds Racetrack in Hutchinson, Kansas

          Car:  #1434 Superior special Hisso owned by Wendell Sparling of Winfield, Kansas

            Finish:  “An overflow crowd” saw these races but Bray’s name is not listed in the published results.

            Feature race winner:  Rex Edmonds

 

August 28, 1929 – 1 mile dirt oval Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri

            Finish:  Bray finished in 3rd place in a 5-mile heat race.

 

September 20, 1929 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds Racetrack in Hutchinson, KansasSanctioned by I. M. C. A.

          Car:  #4 Bray special Fronty Ford

Finish:  Bray tied with Emery Collins for 1st place in time trials.  Their lap time of 31.0 seconds each also tied the track record already held jointly by Charles Lebsack and Leonard Kerbs, both of Otis, Kansas.

                        Bray finished 2nd to Emory Collins in the 4-car, 4-lap “State Fair Dash.”

                        Bray was credited with 6th place behind Emory Collins, Percy Ford, Herb Segal, P. H. Hoffman and Spec Heminger after dropping out of the 9-lap championship race on the fifth lap.

            Feature race winner:  Emory Collins of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

 

October 6, 1929 – 1 mile dirt oval – American Legion Racetrack at Oakley, Kansas

          Car:  #4 Bray special Fronty Ford

            Finish:  Bray won the first 5-mile heat race in 4 minutes, 1.0 seconds finishing 22.0 seconds ahead of L. L. Neff of Winona, Kansas.

Bray followed Bill Epps of Oakley, Kansas for 1 lap in the second 5-mile heat race before Epps dropped out with a broken camshaft.  Bray went on to win that race in 4 minutes, 5.0 seconds finishing 4.0 seconds ahead of L. L. Neff.

                        Bray won the 10-lap sweepstakes race in 8 minutes, 29.0 seconds which was 5.5 seconds ahead of 2nd place finisher L. L. Neff.  The total purse for the days races was $500.

Feature race winner:  Rea Bray of Hutchinson, Kansas

 

July 4, 1930 – ½ mile dirt oval – Arkansas City Speedway a.k.a. West Madison Speedway at Arkansas City, Kansas – Sanctioned by A. A. A.

            Car:    Car:  #4 Bray special Fronty Ford

            Finish:  A small crowd watched Bray run the 2nd fastest time in time trials of 31.2 seconds which was .4 seconds behind Pat Cunningham who had the fastest time of the day.

Bray collected $35 from the purse for finishing 3rd behind Pat Cunningham and Cokey Fuller in the 1st 10-lap heat race.  He finished on only 3 wheels, 10.4 seconds behind Fuller who was .2 seconds behind Cunningham.

Bray was paid $75 for finishing 1st in the 2nd 10-lap heat race in which he beat Jimmy Davis of Duncan, Oklahoma by 12.2 seconds.  Bray ran the 10-lap distance in 5 minutes, 17.2 seconds which was a new track record for that distance that still stands.

Bray finished 2nd to Pat Cunningham in the 16-lap “Kanotex & Shell Refinery Sweepstakes” race.  Bray’s time was 8 minutes, 30.0 seconds which was 4 seconds slower than Cunningham.  Bray’s share of the purse for finishing 2nd in this race was $175.

Feature race winner:  Pat Cunningham of St. Joseph, Missouri

 

July 25, 1930 – ½ mile dirt oval – Bo Stearns Track north of Wichita, Kansas

Car:  #4 Bray special Fronty Ford

            Finish:  Bray finished in 2nd place in the 5-mile 1st heat race for the 6 fastest cars from time trials.  Pat Cunningham won that race in a Gallivan Ford.

                        Bray also finished a close 2nd behind Pat Cunningham in a special 6-lap race.

Bray suffered a blown tire in the 25-lap feature race which caused his Fronty to spin completely around in a 360° circle before finally coming to a stop.  There was enough damage that his car was unable to complete the race which was won by Lawrence Hughes.

 Feature race winner:  Lawrence Hughes of Beatrice, Nebraska

 

July 27, 1930 – ½ mile dirt oval – Franklin County Fairgrounds Racetrack at Franklin, Nebraska

Car:  #4 Bray special Fronty Ford

            Finish:  No results of these races have been located to date.

 

August 28, 1930 – ½ mile dirt oval – North Central Kansas Fairgrounds Racetrack in Belleville, Kansas

Car:  #4 Bray special Fronty Ford

Finish:  Bray suffered a broken shoulder in the 1st heat race when he was involved in a 4car accident in which Ben Galiano (or Gagliano) of Kansas City, Missouri was fatally injured.

Feature race winner:  Vern McComb

 

August 29, 1930 – ½ mile dirt oval – North Central Kansas Fairgrounds Racetrack in Belleville, Kansas

Car:  #4 Bray special Fronty Ford

Finish:  Bray won the 2nd 5mile heat race in 4 minutes, 43.0 seconds.

Feature race winner:  John Gerber of Stanwood, Iowa

 

September 14, 1930 – 1 mile dirt oval – American Legion Racetrack on the southwest edge of Oakley, Kansas

Car:  #4 Bray special Fronty Ford

            Finish:  Bray won the 16-lap sweepstakes race in 6 minutes, 1.0 seconds

Feature race winner:  Rea Bray

 

September 15, 1930 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds Racetrack in Hutchinson, Kansas – Sanctioned by I. M. C. A.

          Car:  #7 Hill special Fronty Ford owned by Russell D. Hill of Arkansas City, Kansas and #4 Bray special Fronty Ford owned by Rea Bray

            Finish:  Bray set the quickest time of the day in time trials with a new track record for 1lap of 30.8 seconds.

Bray dropped out of the 7lap North American Sweepstakes when a piston went through the side of his engine block.  He went to downtown Hutchinson, retrieved his #4 Bray special Fronty Ford and returned to the racetrack in time to start the 9lap North American Sweepstakes race in which he finished 2nd to Archie Powell of Galesburg, Illinois.

Feature race winner:  Archie Powell of Galesburg, Illinois

 

September 19, 1930 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds Racetrack in Hutchinson, Kansas – Sanctioned by I. M. C. A.

          Car:  #7 Hill special Fronty Ford owned by Russell D. Hill and #4 Bray special Fronty Ford owned by Rea Bray

            Finish:  Bray set the 2nd fastest time of the day in time trials running 1lap of 30.4 seconds in the #7 Hill special Fronty Ford.

Bray then set the 3rd fastest time of the day in time trials running 1lap in 30.8 seconds in his #4 Bray special Fronty Ford.  Since he could only run 1 car after qualifying, he chose to race the #7 Hill special Fronty Ford.

Bray finished 2nd in the featured dash which was a 1lap race for the 3 fastest cars in time trials.  Archie Powell won this race followed closely by Bray and Jimmy Trainor of Los Angeles, California.

Bray finished 2nd in the 1st 7car, 7lap heat race behind Archie Powell who led all the way although Bray managed to pull up beside Powell on every straightaway.

Bray won the 2nd 7car, 7lap heat race in 3 minutes, 43.6 seconds.  Curley Young of Denton, Texas finished in a distant 2nd place.

Bray won the 7-lap sweepstakes race by “almost 100-yards” over Gene DeMont of Memphis, Tennessee.

Feature race winner:  Rea Bray

 

October 26, 1930 – 1 mile dirt oval – American Legion Racetrack on the southwest edge of Oakley, Kansas

Car:  Fronty Ford

            Finish:  No results of these races have been located to date.

 

August 1, 1931 – ½ mile dirt oval – Cowley County Fairgrounds Racetrack at Winfield, Kansas

            Car:  #7 Hill special Fronty Ford owned by Russell D. Hill

            Finish:  Bray set a new 1-lap  track record in time trials for one lap with a time of 29.8 seconds, only to have it broken later in the day by Tex West who also set a new 1-lap track record of 28.6 seconds.

                        Bray won the 3-car, 4-lap 3-cornered race in 2 minutes, 10.5 seconds.

Bray finished 2nd to Tex West in the 6-car, 6-lap 1st heat race.

Bray finished 2nd to Tex West in the 9-car, 10-lap Grand sweepstakes race.

            Feature race winner:  Tex West of Dallas, Texas

 

September 3, 1931 – ½ mile dirt oval – North Central Kansas Fairgrounds Racetrack in Belleville, Kansas

Car:  #7 Hill special Fronty Ford owned by Russell D. Hill and a Pontiac coupe stock car

Finish:  Bray finished in 3rd place in the 10-lap 1st heat race behind Pat Cunningham and Lew Irwin of Iola, Kansas.

Bray won the 10-lap consolation race in 4 minutes, 15.0 seconds.

Bray finished in 2nd place in the 10-lap stock car race behind a Ford roadster driven by Russell Moe of Scandia, Kansas

Feature race winner:  Lew Irwin

 

September 4, 1931 – ½ mile dirt oval – North Central Kansas Fairgrounds Racetrack in Belleville, Kansas

Car:  #7 Hill special Fronty Ford owned by Russell D. Hill and a Pontiac coupe stock car

Finish:  Bray’s name is not listed in the published results of these races.

Feature race winner:  Lew Irwin

 

September 21, 1931½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds Racetrack in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Car:  #7 Hill special Fronty Ford owned by Russell D. Hill but these races were canceled due to rain.

 

September 25, 1931½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds Racetrack in Hutchinson, Kansas – Sanctioned by I. M. C. A.

            Car:  Bray drove a Fronty Ford special

Finish:  Bray had trouble with his own Fronty so he borrowed another car for the first 10-car, 7-lap heat race.  He did not finish well in that race and did not enter any of the other races this day.

Feature race winner:  Emory Collins of Sioux Falls, South Dakota

 

June 1, 1932 – 1/3 mile dirt oval – Athletic Field Racetrack in Newton, Kansas

Finish:  Bray won the 3-mile class A heat race in 3:18.6.

            Bray finished 3rd in the 5-mile Sweepstakes race behind Roy Lake of Los Angeles, California and Charles Pauley of Herington, Kansas

Feature race winner:  Roy Lake

Note:  Bray was both the promoter of this event and a participant as well.

  

July 10, 1932 – ½ mile dirt oval – Fair Park Racetrack in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Finish:  Bray won the 6-car, 5-mile “Southwest Sweepstakes” race and, thus, was crowned the “Southwest Champion”.

Feature race winner:  Rea Bray

Note:  Roy Gillihan of Purcell, Oklahoma was fatally injured when his car overturned 3-times and then was struck by a car driven by Bill Mathews of Ft. Smith, Arkansas on the 1st lap of the championship race.  Mathews was uninjured.

 

August 7, 1932 – ½ mile dirt oval – Bo Stearns Track north of Wichita, Kansas

Car:  #7 Rajo Ford

Finish:  Bray tied for 11th fastest time of the 24 cars that took time trials with his 1 lap of 33.2 seconds which was 1 full second slower than the fastest time of the day.  Those who timed in faster than Bray did were: Ted Davis, Verne Ellis, Pat Cunningham, Lew Irwin, Murray Earl, Harley Wells, Bill Weber, James E. White, Roy Lake, and Jack Kannapel.  H. H. Morris tied Bray for the 11th fastest time.

                        Bray won the 3rd heat race.

 Feature race winner:  Pat Cunningham

 

August 14, 1932 – ½ mile dirt oval – Mills County Fairgrounds Racetrack at Malvern, Iowa

Finish:  No results of these races have been located to date.

 

August 19, 1932 – ½ mile dirt oval – Shelby County Fairgrounds Racetrack at Harlan, Iowa

Finish:  Bray’s lap of 32.5 seconds was the 7th fastest of the day in time trials behind John Gerber, Sam Hoffman, Fred Dresselhuys, Emory Collins, Clarence Haskell, and Herbert Palmer.

Feature race winner:  John Gerber

 

September 1, 1932 – ½ mile dirt oval – North Central Kansas Fairgrounds Racetrack in Belleville, Kansas

Car:  #7 Rajo Ford

Finish:  Bray finished 2nd in the 3rd 5-mile heat race behind J. E. White of Sharon Springs, Kansas

Feature race winner:  Art Martinson of Denver, Colorado

  

September 2, 1932 – ½ mile dirt oval – North Central Kansas Fairgrounds Racetrack in Belleville, Kansas

Car:  #7 Rajo Ford

Finish:  Bray finished 2nd in the 2nd 5-mile heat race behind Tex West

Feature race winner:  Pat Cunningham

 

September 23, 1932½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds Racetrack in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Car:  #7 Hill special Fronty Ford owned  Russell D. Hill

Finish:  8,000 spectators saw Bray finish in 6th place in the 6-car, 10-lap 3rd heat race behind Ted Davis of Junction City, Kansas; Bill Carroll of Lewis, Kansas; Herb Hunter of Hoisington, Kansas; Glen Dunlap of Newton, Kansas and Speck Heminger of Hastings, Nebraska.

Feature race winner:  Maynard Clark of Milan, Illinois

 

July 4, 1933½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds Racetrack in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Finish:  Bray finished in 2nd place in the 1st heat race behind Lew Irwin.

                        Bray finished in 2nd place in the 5-lap handicap race behind Lew Irwin.

                        Bray finished in 2nd place in the 15-lap sweepstakes race behind Lew Irwin.

Feature race winner:  Lew Irwin

 

August 21, 1933 – ½ mile dirt oval – North Iowa Fairgrounds Racetrack, at Mason City, Iowa – Sanctioned by I. M. C. A.

Finish:  5,000 spectators saw Bray finished 2nd in the consolation race behind Red Sorenson of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Feature race winner:  Gus Schrader of Cedar Rapids, Iowa

 

August 31, 1933 – ½ mile dirt oval – North Central Kansas Fairgrounds Racetrack in Belleville, Kansas

Car:  #7 Fronty Ford special

Finish:  Bray finished in 4th place behind Port DeFraties of Springfield, Illinois; Oscar Coleman of Dallas, Texas; and Charles Pauley of Herington, Kansas in the 5-mile consolation race.

Feature race winner:  Clyde Gilbert of Brighton, Colorado

 

September 1, 1933 – ½ mile dirt oval – North Central Kansas Fairgrounds Racetrack in Belleville, Kansas

Car:  #7 Fronty Ford special

Finish:  Bray finished in 3rd place behind Red Campbell and W. A. Tasker in the 4th 10-lap heat race.

Feature race winner:  Clyde Gilbert

 

September 18, 1933½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds Racetrack in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Finish:  Bray finished in 6th place in the 10-lap consolation race behind Lew Irwin; Pete Alberts of Chicago, Illinois; Charles Pauley; Bob Wilson of Kansas City, Missouri; and Art Challender of Rock Island, Illinois.

Feature race winner:  Clarence Haskell of Lincoln, Nebraska

 

         Rea Bray had moved to Wichita, Kansas by 1934.

 

November 11, 1934 – 5/8 mile dirt oval – Lubbock Motorcycle Polo Field south of Lubbock, Texas

Finish:  No results of these races have been located to date.

 

         Rea Bray had moved to Topeka, Kansas by 1936.

  

September 3, 1936½ mile dirt oval North Central Kansas Fairgrounds in Belleville, Kansas

Car:  The Bray & Coulter #700 supercharged Fronty Ford special

Finish:  Bray finished in 4th position in the 5-mile consolation race behind George “Joie” Chitwood of Topeka, Kansas; Gene Frederick of Dallas, Texas and Don McClosky of Kansas City, Missouri.

Feature race winner:  Howard Cox of Royal Oak, Michigan

  

September 21, 1936½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds Racetrack in Hutchinson, Kansas

            Car:  #K-1 Keys special owned by Jack Keys of Dallas, Texas

Finish:  Bray was 8th fastest in time trials behind Ben Musick a.k.a. “Bill Morris” of Denver, Colorado; Oscar Coleman of Dallas, Texas; Morris Musick of Lincoln, Nebraska; Lou Brown of Champaign, Illinois; Chyde Gilbert of Longmont, Colorado; George “Joie” Chitwood of Topeka, Kansas and Waldo Barnett of Hutchinson, Kansas.

            Bray finished in 5th place in the 2nd 6-car, 5-lap heat race behind Clyde Gilbert; Morris Musick; George “Joie” Chitwood and Waldo Barnett.

            Bray finished 2nd in the 8-car, 5-lap consolation race behind Tex West.

            Bray finished last in the 8-car, 10-lap State Fair Sweepstakes race behind Ben Musick a.k.a. “Bill Morris”; Oscar Coleman; Morris Musick; Lou Brown; Clyde Gilbert; George “Joie” Chitwood and Tex West.

Feature race winner:  Ben Musick a.k.a. “Bill Morris”

 

July 17, 1937 – ½ mile dirt oval – Anthony Downs in Anthony, Kansas – Sanctioned by S. R. A.

            Finish:  Results of these races have yet to be located.

 

August 28, 1937 – 1 mile dirt oval Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri

            Finish:  Bray timed in somewhere between 6th and 8th fastest in time trials.

Bray finished in 4th place behind Buddy Callaway; Shorty Drexler of Columbus, Ohio and Tom Slattery of Chicago, Illinois in the 1st 8-car, 5-mile heat race.

Bray finished in 3rd place behind Clay Corbitt of Atlanta, Georgia and Cecil Burnaugh of Columbus, Ohio in the 2nd 7-car, 5-mile heat race.

Feature race winner:  Buddy Callaway of Miami, Florida

 

         Rea Bray had moved to Los Angeles, California by 1939 and opened his own auto repair garage.

 

April 2, 1939 – 1 mile high banked paved oval Oakland Speedway at San Leandro, California – Sanctioned by A. R. A.

            Car:  Bray’s own #35 Hisso that he purchased from Vic Felt of Denver, Colorado

Finish:  Bray finished in 2nd place behind Ray Gardner in the 44-lap Spring Sweepstakes race.

Feature race winner:  Ray Gardner in his own #19 Miller-Offenhauser

  

April 30, 1939 – 1 mile high banked paved oval Oakland Speedway at San Leandro, California – Sanctioned by A. R. A.

            Car:  Bray’s own #35 Hisso

Finish:  Bray finished 4th in a 100-mile Classic race behind Wally Schock, Rajo Jack and Lloyd Logan.

Feature race winner:  Wally Schock in the #1 Stair special D. O. Hal

 

September 24, 1939 – 1 mile high banked paved oval Oakland Speedway at San Leandro, California – Sanctioned by A. R. A.

Car:  Bray’s own #35 Hisso

Finish:  Bray led the 1st lap of the 2nd annual 33-car, 500-mile Classic race before dropping back to finish in 5th place.

Feature race winner:  Tex Peterson with Rajo Jack in relief in the #18 Gil Pearson Miller

 

            Bray finished 2nd in A.R.A. points in 1939 behind champion Wally Schock.

 

May 12, 1940 – 1 mile high banked paved oval Oakland Speedway at San Leandro, California – Sanctioned by A. R. A.

Car:  Bray’s own #35 Hisso

Finish:  Bray’s name does not appear in published results of the 100-mile race run on this day.

Feature race winner:  Wally Schock in the #14 Pintarelli Hal

  

July 4, 1941 – 1 mile high banked paved oval Oakland Speedway at San Leandro, California – Sanctioned by A. R. A.

Car:  Bray’s own #35 Hisso

Finish:  Bray finished in 5th place in the 200-mile race behind Hal Cole of South Gate, California; Wally Schock; Rajo Jack and Tex Sanders.

Feature Race Winner:  Hal Cole of South Gate, California in the #18 Gil Pearson Miller

 

September 1, 1941 – 1 mile high banked paved oval Oakland Speedway at San Leandro, California – Sanctioned by A. R. A.

Car:  Bray’s own #35 Hispano-Suiza

Finish:  While running in 7th place on the 356th lap of a 33-car, 500-mile race, the crowd, estimated to be 15,000 saw Bray sail over the south fence.  He suffered a broken neck when he was thrown from the car and, thus, he became the 10th fatality in the history of that racetrack.

Feature Race Winner:  Last place starter Ed Barnett in the #75 Hood Riley

 

Rea Bray is buried beside his maternal grandparents in the Foster Cemetery at Topeka, Kansas.

 

 

 

ABOVE:  Rea Bray raced at the Kansas State Fair on September 25, 1936.  He is shown here in the Bray & Coulter Special #700 blown Fronty he drove that day to a time of 31.3 seconds in qualifying time trials.  The car was originally built by Leonard E. Kerbs of Otis, Kansas – Don Radbruch collection

 

 

 

Rea Bray’s #35 Hisso is shown here after it had overheated on the Oakland Speedway on May 12, 1940 – Don Radbruch collection

                                                                                                                            

 

 

 

 

JUST ABOVE:  Rea Bray competed in at least six races at Oakland Speedway, Oakland, California between 1939 and 1941.  He finished second to Ray Gardner in a 50-mile race there in 1939 and then came in fifth in the Oakland “500” that fall.  His consistent finishes earned him second place in the A.R.A. points in 1939 behind champion Wally Schock.  Bray is shown here at Oakland Speedway in a car he drove there c1940 – Ted Wilson photo

 

 

 

RIGHT:  Rea Bray, standing at left, had purchased the #35 big car at right, complete with a 358 cubic inch four-cylinder Hisso engine, from Vic Felt of Denver, Colorado.  For some reason, Bray replaced that engine with a heavier 272 cubic inch overhead valve six-cylinder Hispano-Suiza passenger car engine.  Click your mouse on the photo at right to see a better photograph of this engine in the car - Chalmers Davies photos from the Don Radbruch collection

 

 

BELOW:  Rea Bray is pictured below sailing over the south fence at the Oakland Speedway, Oakland, California on the 356th lap of a 500-mile race there on Labor Day, 1941.  The heavier engine is believed to have led to shock absorber failure making the car difficult to drive and the poor handling was probably a major contributor to this accident.  Bray received fatal injuries after being thrown from the car during the crash.  Click your mouse on the photo below to see more photos taken after the accidentChalmers Davies photos from the Don Radbruch collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Although Earl Hovenden resided at Duncan, Oklahoma at the time, he was often listed as being from wherever his car owner was from.  This was usually due to a misunderstanding of what information was being requested on the entry blanks.  In this case, Otis, Kansas was listed as Hovenden’s hometown although it was actually the hometown of Leonard E. Kerbs who owned the car #K-1 that Hovenden drove in these races at Miami, Oklahoma.