From the Tulsa World
COLLINSVILLE, OK –- Steve Carbone, a world-champion race car driver and owner of Steve Carbone Racing Engines in Tulsa, OK, died earlier this week. He was 61. Carbone was born March 17, 1944, to Bette and Paul Carbone in Bell, CA, and attended Downey High School in California.
As a race car driver, Carbone’s first major win was at a 1967 Hot Rod Magazine meet. He quickly gained fame in the top fuel-racing circuit, and in 1968 he received the Faces in the Crowd award from Sports Illustrated magazine.
Setting a track record, he won the National Hot Rod Association Pro-Fuel Dragster Circuit Race in Amarillo, TX, in 1968. The next year, he won the NHRA’s World Finals championship, which was the last time a front-engine dragster won an NHRA race.
Also in 1969, Carbone won the American Hot Rod Association World Finals.
In 1970, he had a successful drag-racing campaign in Australia, winning nearly every race he entered. That same year, he and his wife, Paula Carbone, moved to the Tulsa area.
In what would be the defining race of his career, Carbone won the 1971 National Hot Rod Association’s Nationals top fuel eliminator championship in Indianapolis, upsetting his rival, three-time national champion Don Garlits.
Carbone retired from racing in 1973 and opened Steve Carbone Racing Engines, where he built engines for racing boats, hot rods and sprint cars. He built engines for 2001 American Sprint Car Series national champion Zach Chappell and for Lloyd Stephens’ Ofixco racing team, the largest racing team in the nation at the time.
Carbone was a director of the National Championship Racing Association in 1987, and he was instrumental in creating a full- time presence for sprint cars at the Tulsa Speedway.
In 1992, he purchased Port City Raceway, which he owned and promoted for 10 years.
Carbone is survived by his wife, Paula Carbone of Collinsville, OK; his mother, Bette Carbone of Lake Havasu City, AZ; two sons, Paul Carbone of Collinsville and Steven Carbone of Claremore, OK; a sister, Lonna Tanner of Irvine, CA; two brothers, John Carbone of Los Angeles and Mike Carbone of Temecula, CA; and three granddaughters.
Friends are making memorial contributions to a scholarship trust in Carbone’s name at the American Bank of Oklahoma in Collinsville.
(C) 2005 Tulsa World. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved
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