Driver, engine builder, administrator, track owner
Carbone scored his greatest victory in what’s still remembered as “The Great Burndown,” outfoxing heavily favored Don Garlits at the staging line in the final round of the 1971 U.S. Nationals. Although he raced just a short time, Carbone won enough big races to carve his legend. He announced his arrival in 1968 by winning a Hot Rod Magazine 32-car Top Fuel event, a 64-car PDA show in Fremont and the invitation-only Mr. USA Eliminator. The following year, Carbone won the NHRA World Finals and the 1969 NHRA Top Fuel Championship. He also won that year’s AHRA World Finals. Retiring from driving in 1973, he opened Steve Carbone Racing Engines, building motors for boats, hot rods and racecars, including 2001 American Sprint Car Series national champion Zach Chappell. In 1987 Carbone became a director of Sprint Car’s National Championship Racing Association. Five years later, he purchased Port City Raceway, which he ran for a decade. Carbone was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2009.