Already an enthusiastic Shearing Speedway spectator from the track’s very 1st race midway through 1952, Victoria-born Ray Pottinger made the transition to active participant when he first wheeled his #90 1934 Ford coupe Stockcar onto the track’s paved oval in 1953. To his pleasant surprise, he clocked 3rd fast time on his very 1st outing as well as finishing 2nd in the main event. More good results followed and at season’s end, Ray had finished in 5th spot in the points standings.
Switching to running at newly-opened Western Speedway the following year, he finished in 6th spot for the season and made it to 4th in 1955 which he repeated for ’56, also winning that year’s Labour Day “Gold Cup” race. In addition to Western, he also competed at Skagit and Digney Speedways on the Mainland. In 1957, Ray again hit the top ten with a 6th place finish and another 6th in ’58 which was also the year Nanaimo’s “Grandview Bowl” paved track first opened on May 16th. In addition to driving Stockcar in 1959 in which he finished the year in 9th spot in points, Ray also sat behind the wheel of a Big Car (Sprintcar) and did very well, recording a clean sweep in the class at their final meet of the season. In 1960 he drove Nibb’s Anderson’s immaculately-prepared #9 blue and white ’34 Ford sedan.
Teaming up with Dick Midgley in 1961, Ray drove a Buick-bodied Stockcar powered by a Buick “Nailhead” V8 engine in which he won the Stockcar season championship. Removing the car’s body, Dick and Ray also ran this car as a “Modified Sportsman” at various races in the Pacific Northwest which included Western’s inaugural 150 lap “Daffodil Cup” where Ray placed 3rd behind winner Eldon Rasmussen and Bill Crow. From 1962 until 1965, Ray drove in the Super Modified class on the Island and throughout the Pacific Northwest.
In 1967, Ray was behind the wheel of a new roadster-style Modified built by Gerry and Arnold Stefanson in which he finished 3rd for the season in the 3 track “InterCity” circuit and also took over the Promoter’s position at Nanaimo’s “Grandview Bowl”. His family assisted Ray with his wife Vi selling tickets and his son Lance selling programs. In 1968, Ray caught a ride in Prince George car owner Barry White’s #23 Super Modified which they campaigned on the CAMRA (“Canadian American Modified Racing Association”) circuit. He then joined car fabricator Bob Vantreight and car owner Barry Bunyan in 1973 and they ran a new “Island Pacific Oil”-sponsored car throughout the Northwest until Ray retired from active competition in 1976.
But this was not the end of his driving days. In 1980, Ray’s 1959 #6 ’34 Ford Stockcar was discovered in a tangle of bramble bushes in Nanaimo and subsequently restored to the colour scheme it had sported back in 1956. Ray drove the car in several “OTRA” (Old Time Racers Association) events to the delight of many of his fans who had watched him during his career.
In his senior years, Ray has continued to regularly attend Hall of Fame induction ceremonies as well as other retired racer get-togethers.