Razing Arizona III: Small block diggers, plus The Ray & Dean Carter story

Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Fall 2012: Winning Competition Eliminator at the LVMS National event was Dean Carter (near lane) over Scott McClay. While the younger Carter has not won the National Comp. Eliminator title every year, he did win ‘back to back’ titles in 2003 & 2004! (Photo by NHRA’s Bob Johnson)

Back in 1966, when my adventures in drag racing took me to Arizona where my college days were spent, my good fortune was to meet many Drag Racers of the area, several of whom were running small block Chevrolet powered dragsters. Over the years, our connections have almost been lost, however there are still very strong memories for me of three teams at Mel Larson’s Arizona Raceway.

Jim Simpson & Euell Barnes made lots of noise racing both an injected small block and one with a blower (The Howard Cam Shifter). They were followed closely by Everett Goosic with an injected car which replaced the flathead Ford powered ‘hot roadster’ of the ‘50s. The third team was Ray & Rick Carter with a car known as ‘the Carter Bros. ’Lil Shifter’

This from my perspective is their story: Simpson had a relative in Jacksonville, Ill. where he spent the summers of ’64 & ’65. He migrated to Tri State Dragway where he became quite an attraction. On the short 1/8th mile, he could race with blown Chryslers. We became friends and he was a great help as we operated Arizona Raceway (more recently known as Speedworld).

Simpson & Barnes were involved from the beginning at Perryville. Later, after Mel Larson had purchased Phoenix Dragway (closer to Luke AFB), Jim lost a leg driving an injected Chevy dragster. Not one to allow a setback to stop him, Simpson came back with a blown power glide dragster, The Howard Cam Shifter!