Ray Price’s life began on a Johnston County tobacco farm and included a stint in the Air Force before winning 46 motorcycle drag races, three national championships, and setting 51 speed records. Price was well-known in the drag racing community for his innovations to boost power and improve safety. He also helped raise thousands of dollars for local charities over three decades in business with his successful Harley-Davidson dealership. With this amazing resume, it’s easy to understand why Ray Price was inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Raleigh Convention Center on May 6, 2016.
“Ray Price exemplifies the meaning of the word legend,” said Don Fish, executive director of the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame. “His life was dedicated to serving his community, the sport of drag racing, and his family. We are honored to welcome him into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame and to share his amazing story with those who may not have had the pleasure of knowing this great, but humble man.”
Price was best known in racing circles for his success as a drag racer and as “Father of the Funnybike,” having designed the first wheelie bar for motorcycle drag racing. He was also instrumental in creating the current style of two-speed racing transmission and helped to fuel the popularity of motorcycle drag racing with the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) and National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). He is an inducted member of five drag racing and motorcycle halls of fame.
Price was also an active philanthropist, helping to raise money for organizations that support veterans, cancer research and orphaned children by hosting events at his motorcycle dealership of three decades. Over the past 11 years, the annual Ray Price Capital City Bikefest has attracted more than 100,000 motorcycle enthusiasts into downtown Raleigh each fall.
Up until his death in December 2015, Price was actively involved with Ray Price Motorsports Racing, the two-time defending champions in the NHRA Harley-Davidson Top Fuel Drag Racing Series for 2014 and 2015.
“We’re honored to see Ray recognized for his impact on the sports community in the State of North Carolina, joining the other outstanding athletes and community heroes,” said Mark Hendrix, general manager of Ray Price, Inc. “Ray Price was a motorsports icon with a huge heart, who always had time for friends and fans. His passion for sharing his love of motorcycling converged every day with his dedication to serving our community.”
Artifacts of many of the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame members are showcased in a 3,000-square foot museum on the third floor of the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. Admission is free. According to Fish, one of Price’s drag racing motorcycles will be archived at the museum.