BBR Karting

Sting Ray Robb Is Now A Indy Car Driver

Blake Choquer
January 20, 2023

The Starting Point

Sting Ray Robb was officially announced as the driver for the #51 Dale Coyne Indy Car that will compete in 2023 and the Indy 500. It was announced this week and we couldn't be more excited for one of the most talented drivers I have ever seen. Sting Ray is the full package and we shared a wonderful journey together in his karting days. This is a bit about his story and journey. OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

It was a Gold Cup race and a father when this father and son came to my tent and asked if they could get some driver coaching. We discussed their plans and we made a schedule. I had been coaching for a couple years and had made a small name for myself with cadets like Parker McKean and my instructional Karting DVD's. The young boy 8 at the time had the biggest smile and was just so excited meet and get coaching.

On Our first day together at Greg Moore Raceway in Chilliwack, Mom(Kimmie), Larry(Dad), Grandma (Suzie), Papa(Phil) and Sting Ray show up at the track. What's important about this is that Sting Ray's family has been there every step of the way. The support. The help. The comfort of being with family really truly is something I feel helped contribute to his success. It was a team. I think we did two days and I just remember it was wet, fun, and lots of lessons learned. He hit a few cones that weekend. At the end of the trip he kept one of the cones he kept hitting (from missing his apex) and I signed it for him. (although I should probably ask for his signature now).

Our first training together was very close to the end of the season. But starting the next year It was full speed ahead. Our first big race was Challenge Of The Americas in Phoenix. The Mini Max field has great drivers in it. It was very competitive. But for us, we were not at the front. We were at the back. Holding on. The grip levels were making Sting Ray hold on for life. His head was bobbling. The goal was simple. Not to get lapped. It's funny to look back and think about this weekend because it was the starting point.

We had our work cut out. Technique, fitness levels, and race craft but Sting Ray was one of the most committed drivers I had ever met. We began practicing and testing and slowly we were no longer at the back and began moving through the field.

Slowly the results started coming in from club races, IKF Gold Cups and IKF US Nationals, gaining valuable experience that year. What made the difference was Larry's commitment to the program. What most people don't know is at the time he was running a Grocery store called Red Apple Market Place close to Boise. He would leave Friday night after work and drive the 9 hours to Greg Moore Raceway into the night so Sting Ray and I could train on a regular basis. If we weren't racing somewhere we were driving. He got a new Chevrolet Duramax truck and it was logging hours on the road from the moment it left the lot. Wherever we needed to go Larry would drive their.

Sting Ray Robb Indy Car Champion
Challenge Of The Americas Sting Ray Robb
BBR Karting Rotax Max Champions

First Win in Junior against Nicholas Brueckner (RIP) Nick actually was very influential on us. He was a great driver and so aggressive. Sting Ray learned a lot from him.

BBR Karting Sting Ray Robb

First Win in Junior against Nicholas Brueckner (RIP) Nick actually was very influential on us. He was a great driver and so aggressive. Sting Ray learned a lot from him.

2) The Rest Is History

The stories, the adventure, the highs and lows. Living in hotels, testing engines during the day and building our engines in the bathroom at night while Sting Rays doing homework. Florida to California to Florida x 4. It was a total commitment. The level of competition was so high as you had some very serious families competing. Their programs were huge. But when you focus on the core values of driving at some point HP can not mask driving. We would train in Junior and Senior classes even though Sting Ray was in cadet. The goal was always to train for the future. In his last year of Mini Max we achieved some amazing results. Winning COA, Qualifying for Worlds, 2nd at Pan Am in NOLA and starting P2 in the final at US Nationals.

Where Sting Ray shined was in Junior. He was ready, prepared and from the first race of the year at Challenge Of The Americas he won. Mini was so challenging because of the power differences but Junior we had a good program and Sting Ray was in his comfort zone having practiced so much in Junior.

When I look back at all the results he achieved it truly is impressive. Having podiumed and won so many races and championships. He was calculating, smart, and precise with a work ethic like no other. It was the foundation that could be applied to whatever he decided to drive. He always brought the kart home knowing you can't win a championship if you crash for a position. Consistency wins. In the end, Sting Ray was the Florida Winter Tour Champion, Challenge Of The Americas Champion, Can-Am Champion, Vice Champion US Nationals, US Open Champion. The picture of him in his living room says it all. Crazy.

Trust The Journey

The trips we shared, lunches at the yellow deli, dinners at Texas Roadhouse, the Halloween Pumpkins we carved, model rockets launched, wind tunnel testing, Sting Ray losing the bet at Supernats and had to get his hair cut like Mr. Burns from Simpsons for a day. He walked around Vegas owning that haircut. (No I won't post that picture) I watched a young kid growing up into an absolute precision of a driver whom I named Mr. Apex but more importantly a teenager whom I was proud of. What makes his story amazing is he is one of the nicest kids I ever met. He would say hello to everyone. He raced clean (Maybe a little too clean) he raced with respect. There was not a single person or dad who didn't like him. This is very rare in Karting. Most fast guys people dislike. Sting Ray set the bar.

From the beginning Larry and Sting Ray and family were there the whole time. They trusted the journey. They trusted me and allowed me to do what I felt was best within the program. It truly was an enjoyable time in my life and very grateful. We worked with many great people and teams along the way that all contributed to his success. It takes a village to raise a man and everyone who helped him knows they were part of something special.

Karting Wind Tunnel Testing BBR Karting
Sting Ray Robb Indy Car Driver 2023

Lessons To Be Learn From Sting Ray Karting Journey

Sting Rays road to Indy Car is full of lessons. It might be great to do a follow-up with him about cars and his journey moving up the ranks. With every story, there are lessons we can learn and if just one story can help a fellow karter then it's a story worth telling.
Commitment. One of the biggest things I notice in karting is people's commitment levels. Parents want the wins and podiums but don't put in the time behind the scenes to practice and train. Instead, they jump around from team to team looking for the magic recipe. If one team wins then they go there because in a parent's mind, their kids are the best and it is everyone else letting them down. For Sting Ray, it was the opposite. We practiced and practiced and prepared to finally get to do a race. Their family was committed, and they put in the time. I remember one time we were at US Nationals. We were struggling with Horsepower in Mini. The race ended Sunday. Larry drove back to GMR and we were testing engines Tuesday. It was a do whatever it takes mindset. Imagine driving 9 hours every Friday to GMR and then back Sunday night. Trust the journey.

Support. It's so important to have a support group or family around. Cheering and helping your young drivers achieve their goals. At the elite National type level of karting these drivers are young athletes. They need breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and the crew around them. If everyone is looked after the results will really improve over time. Having a "mom" grandma type around really makes a world of difference. Days can be so long at the track so you need to be as comfortable as possible and support them mentally and physically.

Mindset. Never once did I feel pressure. We were there to learn, compete and do our best. Sometimes I feel parents put so much pressure on the kids, mechanics, and teams and for what. Let's be real if the child is a 5-10 place driver the chances of winning a National race is like winning at the Roulette wheel. So what do you have to do? Get to work and start training. What needs to happen is to create an environment that's filled with positive mindset which in turn allows everyone to focus and improve. Sting Ray today is so positive.

Look I know you want your child to win. Every parent does. This is a very competitive sport. If you really want some positive advice ask your coach or team manager how you are doing as a parent. They will straight up tell you the type of environment and pressure you create within the team. As team managers (Just like in F1 Drive To Survive) we have internal discussions about parent issues and or great kids.

"Maybe today I will fail. Maybe tomorrow as well. But eventually, I will start to figure it out. When I do I will do it better than you."

Character. It's very important no matter what financial position you are in to build your children up to be well-rounded characters. I have always said being a race car driver is not just about driving or being fast. It's about PR, fans, communication, and representing sponsors. The better you are in front of the camera the better your chances are. This is something we began working on with Sting Ray at a young age and I continue to do it with all the drivers I work with. As a driver, you become the brand extension. This is a really good example as to why Sting Ray is so well received and so popular amongst the community. Gone are the days you can hide behind the visor. Driving In The Rain Video

Competition. Last but not least. Learn from your competitors. What makes them successful, and why are they fast? There's always a reason. If you're not doing that or more then don't expect a different result. Sting Ray competed amongst some of the best. (some I absolutely hate as competitors but that's because I just want to beat them. But I don't actually hate them) This is one of my driving forces to being better as a coach, engine builder and mechanic. Sting Ray competed against Christian Brooks, Trenton Estep, Nicholas Brueckner, Darren Keene, Devlin Defrencesco, David Malukas, Jack Crawford and many others I can't remember off the top of my head. All are good. All were competitive. Each of them raised the bar and pushes you to a higher level. So utilize your competitors. Try not to talk crap about them just because their beating you, instead use them as a tool or fire to get better.