On Saturday, January 16th, 2010, Ray Montgomery passed away at the age of 75. For those of you familiar with Firebird's origins, most would certainly remember Ray and his "Gypsy" Challenger. In Firebird's fifth year of operation, Ray was the first track point's champion in a class called Mint eliminator. This was 1973. The photo (above) was taken on the starting line (with Ray accepting a trophy from Firebird press coordinator Joe Skaug) during a special Pro Stock match race between Butch Leal's "California Flash" and Bill Bagshaw's "Red Light Bandit", both standing in the background. This was during an era when Classes racing (everything from Modified to Stock classes) was becoming more and more expensive to compete in. Many found it nearly cost prohibitive to run the weight-to-cubic-inch individual classes. This is when handicapped bracket racing first hit strips across the county. Originally, it was a concept of Ben Christ from U.S. 30 outside Chicago. Ray was one of Firebird's original bracket racers, competing with a very rare factory lightweight `71 Challenger. He, along with both Dan Randleman (Street) and Linda Brooks (Powder Puff) were Firebird's first track champions. God speed, Ray.