Racing for success, living for consistency

Weiser Middle School students were recently treated to an assembly featuring Payette’s Sting Ray Robb, a rising star in IndyCar racing. Pictured with Robb, center front, are sixth grade students, back row, from left, Jaxen Hutchens, Abby Sarkinen, Ariah Salazar, Scarlett Anderson, Andrew Ellingson, and Makenzie Dobson. Front row from left, Bailee Archey, Kayli Ogburn, Blakely Yraguen, Haily Larsen, Owen Johnson, and Gabriel Torres.
Nancy Grindstaff
 In his IndyCar 2023 rookie season, Payette’s Sting Ray Robb qualified for one of only 33 spots in last May’s Indy 500. During the 2023 season, Sting Ray raced for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing, driving the No. 51 Dallara-Honda.
 On break after this year’s racing season, at the end of September Robb returned to his Idaho home, speaking at a fundraiser for Ontario’s Love INC (In the Name of Christ) at Calvary Chapel. 
 Here at Weiser Middle School on Monday, Oct. 30, the 21-year-old race car driver was in town to share with sixth through eighth graders his backstory and how he was focused on a race car driving career for as long as he can remember.
 Not to be confused with Sting, the singer, Sting Ray is his legal name, and goes to his parents’ passion for Chevy’s Corvette Sting Ray models. No one can say if the moniker attributed to his early love of race cars, but he was kart racing by the time he was 5 years old.
 As students gathered for the assembly, Robb described the Coyne/Ware association to the Signal American.
 “It was a bit of a co-partnership there, because Dale Coyne was the operating team, they’ve been in IndyCar for quite some time,” he said. “And then, Rick Ware  has teams in many different series. He’s in Nascar, motocross, NHRA, and many other series, as well.”
 Academically, Robb said his mom had only occasionally lowered her “nothing less than an A” standard of acceptance in his grades when he was going through school.
 “I couldn’t go racing if I got anything less than an A,” he smiled. “So, I always did my best.”
 He graduated from Payette High School in 2019, but said he originally was to graduate in 2020.
 “With my racing being a priority, we decided to accelerate that,” he said.
 To his advantage, he was already accelerated when he entered Payette’s school system in the seventh grade.
 “I was homeschooled until seventh grade, and I got ahead because of that, and just stayed ahead after going into Payette’s school system,” he said.
 He plans to continue racing, “as long as God lets me have this opportunity.”
 “I love what I get to do,” he said. “The goal is to start winning races. In this business, success breeds success.”
 The series runs from March until about the end of September. Just like any other sports there is a season, with a progression built in.
 “Our finale race is in Nashville at the end of the year for next year,” Robb said. “During the off season I can do events like this, kind of share my story and hopefully have a positive impact.”
 He does live in Indianapolis now, but said during the off season he will be back and forth, “just to enjoy the Idaho outdoors.”
 “There are no mountains anywhere else like we have here,” he said. “I love snow skiing, but actually, I’m going to go hunting this week. Going to try to get some fresh meat, and after that I’m heading back to Indianapolis to start training again.” 
 Thinking about the “influencers” in his life, Robb said he has had different mentors in all parts of his life.
 “I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by some great people,” he said. “As far as racing goes, there are drivers I have always watched growing up. Scott Dixon was one of those guys that I’m now racing with. He’s a multi-time champion and very consistent in his performances.
 “Ayrton Senna was a driver I was inspired to go into formula racing because of,” he went on. “Unfortunately he passed away before I got to see him run, but someone I think did a very good job of being the best he could be.
 “Away from the track, there are athletes I look up to, like Tim Tebow,” Robb said. “Using his platform for something bigger than his on field success. That is something I want to do. I want to be winning races. I want to do the best that I can on the track, but I also want to utilize it for something more.”


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