Matthew Neal Carter, 95, died peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, April 23, 2019.
Born in 1923 on a homestead in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Neal was one of seven children. Times were hard in the 30’s but Neal always said, ‘I was blessed with a great Mom’.
Neal, known as the Mighty Midget Race Car Driver, began his racing career at Ft. Miami Speedway in Toledo, Ohio and Partington Pasture located outside of Mt. Clements, MI.
Over his racing career, Neal drove at most of the nation’s major tracks, garnering over 220-Checkered flags. Most notable was the victory in 1948 at famed Langhorne Speedway, establishing the fastest 100-mile auto race on a dirt tack- a record that stood unequaled 13 years. He was also the AAA Detroit Motor Speedway Champion in 1949, 50, and 51.
Adding to his prowess in the powerful midgets, he began diving Indy Champ Cars, competing in 24 Indy Car Races between 1949 and 1952, including the first race held at Darlington Speedway. Neal passed his drivers test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1951 and made additional qualifying attempts in 1952 and 1953.
Upon his retirement from racing, he was Service Manager at Jim White Chevrolet in Toledo, Ohio and Carl Schmidt Chevrolet in Perrysburg, OH and CEO of Schmidt National Lease in Maumee, OH.
Neal also remained actively involved in racing. In the 1960’s, he was instrumental in the construction of the Quarter Midget racetrack at the Lucas County Rec Center in Maumee, OH. Neal was a member of the CART Horton Safety Team from 1979 – 89, and a 42-year member of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oldtimers Club.
He was industed into the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and the National Hall Midget Racing Hall of Fame in 1999.
He met the love of his life, Barbara Lohrstorfer, at Michigan Motor Speedway. Introduced by mutual friends, he would sit behind her and admire her beautiful long hair. This was the beginning of a 67-year marriage. together they raised four children: James, Dennis (Suzanne), Kathleen (Robert) Senger, Suzanne (Mark) Smith. Their home was loving and raucous! Neal was a devoted husband, father, grandfather of 10, and great grandfather of 11.
A celebration of Neal’s life will be held 11:00 a.m., Saturday, July 6th at Bayliff and Son Funeral Home, Cridersville. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be given to the National Midget Hall of Fame c/o Barbara Hellyer 4967 West 12th Street, Speedway, IN 46224