Steve “Bopper” Stapp
(with driver Pancho Carter)
In the winter of 1973 Steve Stapp was building sprint cars for numerous customers coast to coast, he built one for himself to campaign for the 1974 United States Auto Club (USAC) national sprint car season. His driver for that year would be second generation open wheel standout Duane “Pancho” Carter jr. The state of the art construction for midgets and sprint cars of that era, was the four bar cross torsion space frame design. A few builders would stay with the lighter, but older design of using cross torsion on the rear, but using the old “cross spring”, or “buggy spring” front suspension. Stapp’s choice was to use the old “springer” front suspension. With Indiana Chevrolet dealer, “Dobbins Chevrolet” on board as sponsor, Stapp and Carter set out on the USAC trail, and what a combination it turned out to be. As one of only 2 drivers to complete all 31 USAC sprint races that season (2nd place in points Tom Bigelow was the other) Carter won 7 features in a dominatint performance and won the 1974 USAC National sprint car championship. In 1975 the Stapp/Carter team used the same car, although not as successful, due to Carter missing some sprint shows due to his Indy car career starting. They finished 4th in points in 1975. The old “springer” front car was replaced for 1976 with a brand new 4 bar car, which they really spanked the competition with, winning 12 features out of 36 and the 1976 USAC national sprint car championship. Here’s a look at a beautiful car from a time when one car was used on dirt and pavement, regardless of track length, and cars that were crafted to last.
And this is only a small part of the Steve Stapp story. Tuesday we’ll get deeper into his career.