Tulsa Chili Bowl Fans, Racers React To Donnie Ray Crawford's Death

Saturday, January 14th 2012, 10:33 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Fans lined up to leave condolences for the family of Donnie Ray Crawford. His #8 car was covered in flowers, with his helmet on the hood.

The word spread quickly at the Chili Bowl about the murder. Crawford was shot and killed by his grandfather Saturday morning in a family dispute. The grandfather was also killed, and Crawford's mother and father wounded.

1/15/2012 Related Story: Chili Bowl Racer Donnie Ray Crawford III Killed By His Grandfather

"We're all devastated. He was a great guy and you never would have thought something like that would happen to him," Travis Harris said.

At the entrance to the QuikTrip Center, fans were donating money for the Crawford family, one of the biggest names in racing in the Tulsa area.

"It really hits you at home. It's going to be a life changer for a lot of people," Frank Flud said.

In the pits of the Chili Bowl, a lot of competitors also counted themselves as fans. They say there was no tougher competitor on the track and no nicer man.

Fellow driver Jonathon Beeson said, "As bad as I wouldn't want to have to race against him in a race, I wish I was today."

4/9/2008 Related Story: Race Car Driver Hailed A Hero

Everyone was expecting to see Crawford at the races Saturday, even though he had some bad luck in the qualifying rounds, he would have been back Saturday afternoon.

"You aren't going to find anyone who would race you harder or cleaner," Flud said. "He would just go out there and he was someone you could lean on and run him as long as you wanted and he was never going to take you out."

Now Crawford's family, competitors and friends are left without him and everything he brought to the track and to their lives.

"You know after the track, he'll be your friend, he'll help you come work on your race car. He's a real nice guy," Matt Ward said.