Two popular Top Fuel drivers from the 1960s, Watus Simpson and Dominic Cardoza, have died within the past few days. Simpson died Feb. 24, Cardoza Feb. 26.
Simpson was most closely associated with Southwest nitro legend Vance Hunt beginning in 1967, when they won the AHRA Nationals at Green Valley Race City in Texas, until Hunt’s retirement from the sport in 1971. Simpson, 80, is survived by his wife, Yvonne Simpson; sons Kevin and Simpson; sisters Millie and Fadra; brothers A.B., Floyd, and Doug; three grandchildren; and several nephews and nieces. A celebration of life service is being held today in Farmers Branch, Texas. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Simpson's memory be made to the American Diabetes Association.
Cardoza, 71, raced Top Fuel out of the San Diego, Calif., area for more than a decade with entries like Andrews-Cardoza, Cardoza & Huff, an dGrossaint & Cardoza. His final entry, which he ran through the 1977 season, was the former five-second barrier-breaking dragster formerly campaigned by “Diamond Jim” Annin and driver Mike Snively. He was active in the current nostalgia scene and a regular attendee at various Cacklefests. Survivor information was not immediately available.