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Jay Carter’s Rise from Mechanic to Fuel Funny Car Mechanic at Cruz Pedregon Racing

Chandler, ARIZ. (February 27, 2018) – Jay Carter grew up in Kettering Ohio, a suburb of Dayton working in his family owned machine shop.  He went on to work as a GM line technician and ran a Harley-Davidson repair shop for a couple of years.  His first exposure to drag racing was on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.  After watching drag racing on TV, Jay was hooked and would soon attend his first race.

At the age of 11 Jay attended his first drag race, the Buckeye Nationals at Kil-Kare Dragway in Xenia, Ohio.  After watching the blown alcohol funny cars run, Jay thought it was the coolest thing he had ever seen.

Jay went to his first NHRA race in 1986.  It was the National Trials in Columbus, Ohio.  He hasn’t missed at least one national NHRA national event since then.

At 19, Jay purchased his first race car.  It was a 1973 Plymouth Duster.  Being a mechanic and being able to work on the car, Jay’s aspirations were to get into professional racing.  A step in the right direction, Jay started selling Synergyn Racing Oil on the side, creating contacts in the sport as he went.

After racing the Duster for a few years, Jay’s son Zakk was born.  When Zack turned 8, the the Carter family got into MX, which led them to Phoenix in 2006.  Jay picked up a job at a West Valley automotive dealership and would soon meet a gentleman named Bill Schneider.  Both Bill and Jay love drag racing and its history.  With a shared passion for the sport they would soon become great friends.

Bill Schneider accepted a position at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports at Track Manager and was later promoted to Director of Operations.  After his promotion, Bill offered Jay his old position as Track Manager.  Jay jumped at the chance to become part of the drag racing profession and managed the track over the next few years while campaigning his Top Dragster race car and helping Jim Maroney with his Altered in the Western Fuel Altered series.

Jay did a great job during his tenure at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

After working with Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Jay stepped up to the next level, taking a position with the NHRA Mello Yello Series running the Nitro Mall.  The position would relocate the Jay and his family back to the Midwest as they relocated to Indy.

Being on tour with NHRA, Jay made a lot of friends during the 2017 NHRA drag racing season.  His friend Jim Maroney happened across a post that Cruz Pedregon Racing was looking for a crew member.  Jay happened to meet Pedregon’s Crew Chief Aaron Brooks at the PRI show and would soon become a member of Cruz Pedredon Racing.

Arizona Auto Scene caught up with Jay at the 2018 NHRA Arizona Nationals.  Jay was hard at work in his position assembling and working on the heads for Cruz’s Fuel Funny Car.

We spoke to Cruz for feedback on Jay’s performance during the 2018 NHRA drag racing season so far and Cruz told us that he thinks highly of Jay.  Thinking in the terms of football, Cruz saw Jay as a free agent.  Though Cruz knew Jay didn’t have a lot of experience it Top Fuel, he looked at his background in drag racing as well as his experience in running the dragstrip.  Though he wasn’t the typical crew member, Cruz said that Jay fit right in with the team.  Cruz said that Jay was thrown into the fire, but was happy with the fact that the team qualified in the top half of the field at both Pomona and Phoenix, making some really good runs.  Cruz said that he was fortunate to have Jay on the team, but also fortunate to have Crew Chief Aaron Brooks to guide him along his journey in Fuel Funny Car.


Jay Carter reacts after Cruz Pedregon lays down a 3.888 at 333.25 mph during the second round of qualifying for the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

Thanks to Cruz Pedregon and Caleb Cox for allowing us access to Jay in the pits.

Best of luck to you Jay!

Thanks to Ken Sklute from Serendipity Visuals for the help with photographing Jay during testing and the NHRA Arizona Nationals.

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