Eyes on the prize: Indy racer gives credit for success to God
As an up-and-coming Indy Lights driver, 20-year-old Sting Ray Robb knows his success isn’t due only to his talent or drive to excel — he attributes it to his family, his life coach and mostly to God.
And he has learned that life isn’t all about winning, though Indy Lights is “the highest step on the Road to Indy, a program of racing leading up to the IndyCar Series,” according to its website.
“We go through so many different things in the racing industry,” Robb acknowledged. “We have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows because we are putting our lives on the line in order to perform.
“When we win a race, that means everything to us. When we lose a race, that means everything to us.
“Those ‘highs and lows moments’ are defined by what we believe as well,” Robb continued. “I know that I can’t be the best racer I can be unless I have my faith as strong as it can be.”
With a family that loves racing, it wasn’t unusual that Robb asked for a go-kart for his fifth birthday. He was hooked the first time he drove and knew he wanted to be a race car driver. By the time he was 9 years old, he was racing in Italy.
“I played other sports in school and everything,” Robb recalled. “I was a basketball player. I played baseball. I golfed. I loved snow-skiing. I loved doing all of these other things.”
But Robb knew none of those was “it.”
“I think that God gave me the passion to do what I’m doing,” he said. “It’s my gift back to Him what I do with it. It’s pretty cool that I get to live out my dream and have a dream that I’ve known about since I was just a kid.”
A different world
It’s a big step from driving a go-kart to racing but Robb’s family supported his dream through that transition.
“We started to really have to fund-raise when we got into cars,” Robb acknowledged. “To be honest, I don’t understand how everything happens, but I feel blessed to have such a great group of people surrounding me, including those who invest in my career.
“They didn’t do it because I was an amazing racing talent. They did it because of who [my family and I] were as a group.”
In 2020, Robb won the Indy Pro 2000 Championship, leading to a scholarship to compete in Indy Lights.
In one race this season, he started in fifth position and dropped to 13th out of 14 racers. After an unexpected lightning delay, he pulled from 13th to third.
“It’s been pretty cool to see the growth that I’ve had in the off-season,” Robb said. “I think it’s kind of a recovery from last year. But I had to go through the struggles of last year to figure out a few different things in my life.
“So I feel very blessed to have those hard times as well as these good times now.
“When we put our trust in God and put our faith in Him, even the bad can be used for good,” Robb noted. “Making my way through karting and through racing, I’ve seen so many times where the hardships are just lessons.”
Bigger goal in mind
It could be easy for Robb to focus only on himself and winning. But he has a much bigger goal in mind.
“Racing is a vehicle I can use to elevate God’s name. I think it’s my platform that I’ve been given to share the gospel and to be salt and light among those around me. I’ve been working on that, especially in the last couple of years — really being outspoken about it and trying to share my faith and give people that knowledge.”
Robb noted there are relatively few Christians in racing, and if it wasn’t for his family, he might have a hard time keeping his faith strong on the road.
“It has actually been a struggle for me the last couple of years because it’s hard to build a strong community of folks who you are in fellowship with,” Robb said. “But I’ve been very, very lucky to have a family that is strong in their faith and that I can lean on in hard times and that is going to encourage me … but also allow me to grow where I need to.”
Recently he and friends and family started a men’s life group to encourage each other to stay strong and ward off complacency.
“I think that in this stage of life that I’m in, not just professionally but as a young adult, people are trying to seek out who they are and what matters to them in life,” Robb said. “It’s really when your life takes its first steps — everything else is just preparing for it. I want to be with them through it all. I want to struggle through with them and become better men through it.
“I would like to win more races. I would like to win more championships,” he admitted, “but I know that trophies are not everything. My identity lies in Him.”