A lifelong love of racing was kindled in Danny Roy in 1957 when his parents brought him to his first race when he was 4 years old. A short 16 years later, the little boy entered the race track in his own race car to compete. On July 24, 2020, Danny Roy was inducted into the River Cities Speedway Hall of Fame bringing the love of racing to a new height.
“It makes you feel kind of special that so many years after I quit racing people still remember you. Some of that is because we stayed involved in the sport as a car owner and a sponsor. But it’s always nice to be recognized by your peers no matter what you participate in,” Danny Roy said.
“He is a die-hard race supporter and race fan. He raced snowmobiles; he raced cars. He was a car owner in the 90’s, and we just purchased another car this year. He always said that if he lived close to a NASCAR track, that’s where his heart would be. He is one of biggest race fans I know,” says daughter Jennifer Busse.
Roy’s involvement with the sport of dirt track racing spans over 60 years. From his first race as a little kid to today, he has seen just about everything this sport has to offer over the years. He has found a seat at the track in just about every way a person can.
“I used to go with my parents to the races. I started racing in 1971 and raced for 11 seasons as a driver,” Roy shared.
Over his time as a driver, Roy experienced success winning several races and a few championships. His best years were in 1978 and 1979 when he had a very competitive car that won a lot of races with Roy at the wheel. Investing in the hobby at the time when he began was not nearly the investment it is today. The more technical aspects of dirt track racing have changed from the rougher tracks Roy raced to smooth and the well-maintained tracks of today.
“The tracks are a lot better condition now. You have to have a good smooth track to run them [cars] on,” Roy said.
The start of his racing career also saw the cars that were hitting the dirt to be very different from the cars that now tear up the dirt on the weekends. When Roy started his racing career in the 70’s, all a driver needed was a car and a roll cage, finding ways to lighten the car through removal of windows.
“Now all your race cars have professionally built chassis and professionally built engines so it’s gotten a lot more expensive and a lot bigger investment than it used to be,” Roy stated. “I don’t know if it’s changed much for the spectator. I think it’s a lot better quality show now than it used to be. The cars look a lot different, and they are faster now than they used to be.”
Racing, especially dirt track racing, is one of America’s great traditions and one that has made many North Dakota racers. When Roy raced, there were several race tracks in the area that he could travel to and race. Just as the cars and track conditions have changed over time so has the number of tracks and the sport’s popularity. The aspects that haven’t changed are how the races are run and the way it brings families and friends together.
“The most special memory is just going as a child. I can remember going to the tracks and falling asleep at the races. I spent a lot of time at the dirt track - whether it was watching a car that my dad owned or just watching one he sponsored. Just the time with my family at the races on a Friday night,” Busse shared. “He has had other family member race. He is not the first one. He has had cousins and uncles that have raced. It’s just kind of been ingrained in them and just being around cars in general. Obviously having a Chevrolet dealership, he is just a big car nut.”
Roy was not alone in his induction to the hall of fame as one of his good friends and fellow car nut, Dick Dahlstrom, of Oslo, Minn. was also inducted. If the last name sounds familiar, it should, as Dahlstrom owns a Chevy dealership of his own. The two have grown close over the years through their dealerships, the sponsorship of race cars, and trips that Roy and Dahlstrom take together to races across the county.
“Some of our best memories is the people we have met and the friends we’ve made that have been lifelong friends and acquaintances. The racing group is kind of like a big family, everybody knows everybody. It’s like any other group participation sport - you make a lot of friends when you are at the races with your competitors, the fans, and that’s the most enjoyable part of it,” Roy said.
“I’ve known him [Dahlstrom] even before the time before we got into the car business; we were friends. We share a love of motorsports so we attend a lot of races together. We’ve just had a kind of special friendship over the years. It was very humbling to be inducted into the hall of fame and to be inducted with a good friend makes it even more fun,” Roy shared.
Roy plans to be around racing for as long as he is able. Now, he is becoming more involved with the races going beyond just the sponsorship of racers to owning and running a car. D&B Motors owns and races a car driven by Ryan Uhrich, along with being a sponsor for several other area drivers.
“We try to help them out and it’s a way for us to do some marketing. It’s a way to advertise our business,” Roy said.
Roy still has many years to enjoy the races, and he intends to do so by giving the next generation of his family every opportunity to go. The crowds at the tracks are still young and ready to go racing.