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!
Don’t forget the big kick off party on Friday night, May 17th, at SIR to meet the drivers and see some of the cars that will be running at the Reunion the next day. There is no admission charge for spectators on Friday night!