In memory of Joe Drey
Although I never knew him, I was greatly saddened to learn on Tuesday morning that Joe Drey, 75, had succumbed to injuries sustained in a horrific crash at Willow Springs International Raceway, a.k.a. “Big Willow,” over the weekend. When I read that he was driving a MINI Cooper, I put two and two together and realized he was the same person I had been on the track with when I was running at the Streets of Willow Springs in mid-April.
The realization went like this. I read Joe was driving a MINI Cooper. After the fun I had on the track with him at Streets, I looked for him in the paddock that day to no avail. The people setup next to him said that the driver of the MINI Cooper was an older gentleman. Another piece of the puzzle was the fact that Edmunds.com Associate Editor Josh Sadlier said he had seen the same MINI Cooper in my photos at Streets when he attended driving school. He also mentioned the driver was an older fellow. I then looked up the driver list from the track day I attended in April and saw his name. Seeing his name helped me remember his license plate said, “JD MINI,” or something like that. After hearing of the incident, my friend Louis shared he chatted with Joe when we were at the track in April, too.
This entry is dedicated to him and his family. At least he left us doing the very thing he loved most. May God be with him and all who knew him.
NASA regretfully announces passing of Joe Drey
The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) regretfully announces that Joe Drey of San Juan Capistrano, CA has succumbed to injuries suffered in an accident on May 24, 2008 at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, CA. Joe was participating in a NASA event behind the wheel of his beloved Mini Cooper S and despite the best efforts of the rescue team onsite and the medical teams at the hospital, he has now left us.
Joe started racing at 15 enjoying street drags with his friends. He got into formal track racing with an early 60’s Corvette when he was in his early 20’s. He eventually transitioned into Porsches, owning several over 3 decades and racing them all over California with a trailer and his own crew consisting of his two sons. As he got older he pulled away from the sport and it wasn’t until the new Mini came out and he got the 9th one off the boat that his passion welled up in him again. He began immediately modifying the car and loading up on gear while frequenting his favorite track Willow Springs and taking courses including two trainings with Bob Bondurant.
Joe’s family has asked that donations be made to the Mission San Juan Capistrano Preservation Fund in lieu of flowers. Donations can be made at http://www.missionsjc.com/donations.html