Drag racing and Arizona lost a friend with the passing of Ray Ferry in Tucson on April 19, 2014. Ray was born in 1936 and got into drag racing in the late 1950′s. He was involved with a series of Power King dragsters up until the time of his death. His last car, running in current nostalgia dragster trim, was the fastest 354 Chrysler powered dragster in history running a 6.23 at 223 mph (with iron heads, no wing and no computer!).
Ray was a fearless driver, an amazing machinist, and a fine engine builder. Most of all, he was a really good man. Ray and the Power King were part of the show last year at the Tucson Reunion, even though he was very ill, and he had recently gone through the car and was planning on attending again this year.
The release below is what was run last year on Ray and the Power King dragsters. It will give you more history on Ray and his dragsters.
The services will be at Evergreen in Tucson on Saturday April 26 at 2 pm. A get together will be held after at the Elks Club. The funeral notice will be in the Arizona Daily Star on Thursday and Friday.
The Power King Dragsters
In the summer of 1959 two Tucson residents in their early twenties, John Patrick and Ray Ferry, built a Top Fuel dragster literally by hand in their garage. Virtually every part of the car, from chassis to engine, was built by the talented duo on their own. They designed and welded the chassis together, Patrick built the motors, and Ferry (a master machinist) fabricated the parts needed. The car rolled on to the dragstrip sporting a virtually stock 354 inch Chrysler hemi with Stromberg carbs. The dragster, driven by Ferry, started winning right from the start. The two men quickly starting adding parts, first a blower and then fuel injection, in the search for more speed. The dragster continued winning and picked up sponsorship from Power King Batteries and Chrome Inc. The Power King dragster (as it became known) was the first car in Arizona to go over 180 miles an hour and notched up wins all over Arizona and in Southern California. The team raced a series of Power King dragsters through 1966 when families and jobs caused them to leave the race track.
Fast forward almost 40 years…. In 2005 John Patrick (then living in Florida and who was Chris Karamesines’ brother in law) was visiting Tucson when a long evening together with Ferry rekindled the flame and plans for a new Power King dragster got underway. Once again the duo built the car themselves by hand, from chassis to engine. A number of local racers lent a helping hand including Ted Sitterley from the Speed Sport team and Larry Steinegger from Steinegger & Eshenbaugh. The car was powered by what the guys were familiar with: an iron 354 Chrysler that was very old school and up against much more modern equipment in the new Nostalgia Top Fuel class. With talented sportsman driver (and skilled jeweler and goldsmith) Dan Rusk in the seat, the car raced from the CHRR to Bowling Green and Indy, running in the low sixes at over 223 miles an hour. It is the quickest and fastest 354 Chrysler engined dragster in history.
The car was parked in 2009, but will return to the dragstrip at the Tucson Dragway Reunion, now sporting an all aluminum 425 cubic inch Chrysler and other new pieces, with Dan Rusk again in the seat.
Come out and see another famous Tucson team that has been racing together since the 1950’s at the Tucson Dragway Reunion on Saturday, May 18th, at Southwestern International Raceway. Ray Ferry and the rest of the Power King crew will be doing what they love to do: making a lot of noise and smoke at over 200 miles an hour!
The first Power King Dragster
L to R: Ray Ferry, John Patrick, Ronnie Root and Lloyd Earle
The Power King out front at Bee Line
The Power King dragster that will be at the Reunion in the staging lanes