RED LICK, Texas — In the last 30 or 40 years of watching this addictive sport we call short track auto racing, we've seen countless sons of famous racers who failed to meet the expectations their father's fans had for them. Following in the footsteps of a legend brings a tremendous amount of pressure.
Yet for 38-year-old second generation racer Aaron Roy, that was never a problem. Now wrapping up his 24th year of the ovals, Roy is firing on all cylinders. He earned an impressive four wins, 15 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes in 22 starts this year, along with the Limited Mod points title at Ark-La-Tex.
“Part of it was that these IRP race cars always handle well,” Roy said. “Plus, we stayed on top of our maintenance during the week, which is important. We did our homework, and it paid off for us.”
Aaron and his brother Adam are the sons of the late Alan Roy, a legend in the Ark-La-Tex region.
“There was a track called The Speedbowl near where we lived back in the day,” Aaron explained. “It was within walking distance of our house. So as a kid, my Dad would ride his Go-Kart up there and would watch the races. Once he got old enough, he traded a car he was driving for his first race car.
“For the first five or six weeks, he didn't have a truck or a trailer. So he just drove it to the track and raced it. If he broke, he would just leave it there, go back on Sunday or Monday to fix it, and drive it home. Finally, the Highway Patrol was waiting for him at the Railroad crossing. That ended that.”
To say that Roy came from humble beginnings is an understatement. Yet his Dad always soldiered on, and built a loyal fan base. Alan Roy was known as 'The Godfather,' and his fans were called the 'Red Lick Mafia.' Like Wes Grigsby, Doug Ingalls and a few others, Alan Roy was a local racing hero.
“He raced for about 27 or 28 years all together,” Roy added. “He raced for little while after me and my brother started our careers, but it finally got to a point to where it was just too much preparing three cars every week. So he backed off on his racing to help us.”
Now, the next generation is competing in fine style to make it three generations of oval winners.
“My son Raysen is running a Factory Stock, and he's only 14 years old,” the proud Dad explained. “He's not far off from being a top contender. He's made good progress already, and will gain even more traction next year. He has that natural ability, and with a little more seat time, he'll be winning races.”
A lot has been written about the high level of competition in Factory Stock around the Ark-La-Tex area, but it isn't just the full-fenders gang that's loaded with talent here. In Limited Mods, you better be good.
“I really feel like our division has some of the stiffest competition in this area,” Roy said. “You have so many guys that have tons of wins under their belt. There are a dozen or more capable of winning the feature on any given night. You need to be at your very best to win down here.”
When Roy puts on his safety suit and gets ready to race, he straps into a very fine machine.
“I have a 2019 IRP in the shop, and it's a very nice piece,” he explained. “We had a BEST engine in it for a long while, but that eventually needed to be freshened. We took a motor my father had rebuilt before he passed, and put it in the car. It's got good power and is still going strong. We're very blessed.”
Along with his over two decades of experience and top-notch race car, Roy has lots of supporters.
“I need to thank my great sponsors, including DE Wraps, Texarkana Emergency Center and Hospital, IRP Racecars, Texas Back Institute, Family Medical Associates, Best Engines, Hydroz Energy Services, Custom Coatings and Fabrications; RPM, Pate Automotive and Red Lick Racing.
“I also want to thank my wife, Calyse Roy; my Mom, Anita Roy; my kids, Greggo Davis, and of course, my Dad, Alan Roy. His influence and the support of my family means the world to me.”
With Big Show season starting to wind down, only a few events remain on Roy's 2023 calendar.
“Our next race will be the USRA Southern Nationals at Boothill,” he explained. “I'd love to get down to the South Texas Race Ranch for the Shootout, but that's a nine hour drive for me. I'm running well enough to be there, but it's a very long haul. So I probably won't make it down to that one.
“I'm just very proud of how well me and my brother have done to carry on our Dad's legacy. He meant so much to us, and to a lot of fans around here, as well. My Dad won a lot of races in this area, but he never got to travel much. Adam and I are able to venture out a bit and continue his winning ways. To me, that's pretty awesome.”
By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer
Photo by Scott Burson