Attempting to describe Carter’s career is very difficult because to a certain degree Carter’s broadsliding hard charging driving style captured the attention of racing fans whenever he took hold of a steering wheel. Although no one has ever sat down and figured out how many feature races the talented Carter won, it was probably close to 200. Dick began his career in 1953, racing on tracks in the Saginaw, Michigan area as he was living in Breckenridge, Michigan.
Carter soon established a reputation as an up and coming chauffer and moved up to the supermodifieds in 1957. He raced a cut down Crosley bodied super modified with a Cadillac engine that year and won a 100 lap race on the old mile dirt track at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit. He capped off the season by winning the 100 lap Berlin Raceway championship race on September 7th by lapping the entire field on the old 1/5 mile dirt track.
Carter’s career took a big jump in 1959 when he teamed up with Rube Snellenberger of Saginaw, Michigan, driving Rube’s sprint car. The following year Snellenberger purchased the #2A sprint car from Pete Spencer. Dick was leading the Little 500 at Indiana’s Sun Valley Speedway in 1960 when a foul-up on a pit stop dropped him in the final standings. He came back to win the IMCA sprint car feature at the Ionia Fairgrounds against all of the top traveling IMCA stars. Carter won the Michigan State Championship in Rube’s red/orange #1 that year as well as winning the track championship at Toledo Raceway Park in a tight battle with Rollie Beale. The next year, Carter won 38 features behind the wheel of Snellenberger’s #1 and finished 4th in the MARC sanctioned Little 500.
Dick left the Snellenberger team and began driving for Doc Smalley in 1962. Like many of the cars built in the early 60’s the Smalley car was a sprint car. By bolting on a roll cage and putting on a special bobtail it became a super modified. The Carter/Smalley combination with the white #64 became instant winners.
Carter picked up the name ‘Shy One’ and the Smalley car carried it proudly and boldly on the side of the car. The soft spoken giant let his right foot do the talking as he set many track records in Doc’s car including a 22.16 lap at Berlin Raceway on June 30, 1962 which stood until the track was paved in 1966. He also set the one lap track record at Hartford Motor Speedway with a 20.87 lap on July 9, 1965.
Born August 17, 1934, Carter never saw his 31st birthday as he was fatally injured while driving the blue Hamilton owned #71 at Berlin Raceway on August 14, 1965. Earlier that evening Dick had set fast time, won the fast car dash and his heat. He was leading the feature race when he tangled with a lapped car and flipped in turn one.