Greg Ray is fast approaching the final event of his first year as an Indy Racing League owner-driver, but the Access Motorsports boss insists that the dual role has not affected his outlook on competing as the Chevy 500k field homes in on his local track.

"I'm very happy with the team," The Texan said, "I'm happy to be a team owner, although it a lot more difficult in the race car to wear a driver's hat and an owner's hat.

"I think we have done a lot of exceptional things this year. We have been Honda's number one qualifier at races this year, we have been a frontrunner on occasion, and I think we've got the most from the least this year."

Ray has always been known for an aggressive driving style, which produced five IRL IndyCar Series victories and 13 MBNA pole positions, before he found himself without a seat and decided to set-up Access Motorsports. The dual role of being an owner and driver hasn't changed his race attitude, however.

"Conservative and racing don't really go together," he continued, "For people who know me, when they think of conservative, I don't think I flash up into their view.

"But, to be a new team, to be young, to be small, we can't be making mistakes. We haven't been able to race as aggressively as I would have liked and I knew, if I got out there and even had a chance to go for a race win, if there was a lot of risk with the situation, that I wouldn't be able to do that.

"I'm still the same driver, we just need to pick the right time. In years past, if I wasn't out front, it didn't matter - I was going to go for it, at all costs. While I still have that attitude in a lot of ways, I know it probably isn't realistic and probably not smart.

"However, to be the smallest team, the newest team with the smallest budget, I think we have done very well in these competitive waters."

Ray sees taking the number 13 for his TrimSpa Panoz G-Force-Honda as a lucky omen, and will try to triple his luck going into Sunday's Chevy 500k at Texas Motor Speedway when he meets two other famous number 13s from the local sports scene

Bill Guerin, the All-Star right wing of the Dallas Stars NHL hockey team, and Steve Nash, also an All-Star but point guard for the NBA Dallas Mavericks, both sport the number 13 on their jerseys, and the trio are scheduled to meet today [Wednesday] prior to the Stars' home season opener.

"Obviously, living in the Dallas area all my life, I've always been a big Mavericks and Stars fan," Ray revealed, "I'm a season ticket holder with the Mavericks and go to Stars games all the time. I'm a huge fan of Steve Nash and Bill Guerin has been an incredible player ever since he became a professional.

"When I chose the number 13 this year, I didn't really reflect on all the other great athletes that wear that number as well. I am looking forward to this opportunity to meet Bill and Steve and maybe get them out to Texas Motor Speedway some time."

Ray will be seeking his first IRL IndyCar Series victory at Texas in the Chevy 500k, but his competition on 'Championship Sunday' will be stiff, with Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Sam Hornish Jr and Gil de Ferran all looking for the race win and the $1million IndyCar Series championship.



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