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Midget Racers back in the 50's

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Von Rigg Fink, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    Member
    from Garage

    Any one on here that has any Knowledge of the 50's history and people of the Midget racing scene of this era?
     
  2. J Man
    Joined: Dec 11, 2003
    Posts: 4,132

    J Man
    Member
    from Angola, IN

    I have a little. My Grandfather use to race them when he got back from Korea. Only problem is that I get most of my info from older people who have selective memory. I have a few pics I need to scan that my Grandmother is leting me borrow. He raced in the Dayton, OH area.

    One thing I think is cool is that my mom has one of his old trophys from I think 10 years before I was born. But it is from the same day I was born.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2009
  3. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    Member
    from Garage

    well J man how do names like
    "Boobie" Logan
    Claud Cattin and gary cattin strike ya?
     
  4. greasel
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 325

    greasel
    Member
    from Fresno, CA

    you mean racing for short people??!
     

  5. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,015

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    So let me get this straight...we can't toss them any more, but people used to harness them up and race them?! Were they fighting them back then too? I'd pay to see that.

    -Brad
     
  6. turdytoo
    Joined: May 14, 2007
    Posts: 1,560

    turdytoo
    Member

    I'm biased, but the best book I've read in a while is "Vukovitch". Lots of accurate, inside stories.
     
  7. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 8,134

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    There are others here that know far more than I, but I have some knowledge of that era. Nifty little cars mostly powered by offys and v8-60s, with Kurtis/Solar the most successful and popular chassis, driven by fearless drivers trying to make their mark and get a Indy ride. A.J., Mario, Ruttman and most others all wheeled midgets on their way to the top. Here's a few pics:
     

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  8. k9racer
    Joined: Jan 20, 2003
    Posts: 3,091

    k9racer
    Member

    They dont post often but a couple of vetern midget drivers are registered on the HAMB..
     
  9. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    Member
    from Garage

    well i do know one of them and hes building a 55 chevy truck now , but he aint a HAMBer
     
  10. noboD
    Joined: Jan 29, 2004
    Posts: 7,703

    noboD
    Member

    Try www.emmr.org That's Eastern Museum of Motor Racing in Latimore, PA. They have a very extensive library. Can you give us a hint as to what part of the country they raced?
     
  11. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 8,134

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    "The mad Russian"
     

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  12. Midget Racing? I know alot about Midget Wrestling,LOL!!!
    I have a buddy,Craig Wise,who is a fanatic about Midget Racing and old Roadster Indy cars too. His dad,Fred Wise,was well known back in those days.Tell me what you want to know and i'll pass on the questions.
     
  13. john56h
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,767

    john56h
    Member

  14. Mercmad
    Joined: Mar 21, 2007
    Posts: 1,383

    Mercmad
    BANNED
    from Brisvegas

  15. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 8,134

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

  16. FunnyCar65
    Joined: Mar 11, 2007
    Posts: 2,075

    FunnyCar65
    Member
    from Colorado

    Yeah,you could get away with alot back then.The world is just to uptight now........ahh the good ole days.
     
  17. Well, I know from experience that there is a farm in Tarzana Ca. Not sure what it was used for back in the day but I do know that now it is an Orange farm. On Oakdale Ave. south of Ventura Blvd.
    Owned by the Bothwell family. It has the largest collection of midget racers that I have ever seen or heard of.
    When I was 16 I snuck in with a nephew of the owner and I could not believe my eyes. I saw 4, 2 story barns with the top floors full of racers, parts + memorabilia.
    The old man died in '91 and the wife still rents out the site to HIGH END car clubs only. Ferrari's Porsche's. And won't let the public see it.
    I called her recently but she was just an old crab about it. I drove by a few days ago and yes it's still there. But we got no chance of getting in so I filed it under YOU'LL NEVER SEE IT. Shame 'cause it is awesome. Kinda like my owning a '32 Roadster. NOT GONNA HAPPEN.
    Does anybody else know of it? Maybe YOU can get us in? Sure would be worth the price of admission.
     
  18. Don Lyon
    Joined: Jan 18, 2007
    Posts: 275

    Don Lyon
    Member

    Yeah,watched a lot of Midget races when I was small,late 40's / early 50's. Lots of V-8 60's. Saw one that ended REAL early at Yakima Washington, fair grounds. One driver impaled on a wooden guardrail, bunch of cars entangled. It was terminated early, everyone loaded up and left. Lots of big names got started in midgets,so I heard.
     
  19. J Man
    Joined: Dec 11, 2003
    Posts: 4,132

    J Man
    Member
    from Angola, IN

    He died when I was 4 so I didn't get info from him. What I have is from my grandmother. His name was Elmer Dils, his nickname was Red. He was from the Germantown area and lived in Miamisburg when he died. I have a couple names written down but I can't remember them off the top of my head. If I find it I will repost them.
     
  20. UPDATE: Lindley F. Bothwell was a hugely successful orange farmer and cattle breeder. The facility is now run by Anne, widow of his son Lindley Jr.
    I found no pictures or any other information on the internet. Maybe somebody else can help?
     
  21. racer5c
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 2,218

    racer5c
    Member

    I pretty much have every publication on Midget Racing History, Jack Fox's book, all of Crocky Wrights books, the Nutley Veledrome book, etc etc etc. My dad owned Midgets from the 40's until he died in the late 70's, until a couple years ago he was the all time winningest car owner in USAC history with 97 USAC National feature wins (that wasn't counting all his wins in AAA and URA etc)
    My two brothers were 1970 and 1971 USAC National Midget Champions, I was the 1988 CORA midget champion and also won the NAMARS triple crown point stanings in the 90's. Only other midget racer I know of on here for sure is reddog aka Johnny Murdock
     
  22. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 8,134

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Roy, your too modest. When you're talking midget racing in the second half of the last century, there are two names that pretty much sum it up: Kenyon and Caruthers.
    I never got to see Danny race, but in the 70s, the highlight of the season was when the USAC tour came through and Jimmy, Bobby Olivero, Sleepy Tripp, et-al mixed it up with the locals, especially Jimmys old nemisis Dave Strickland. Jimmy was a kickass leadfoot of the first order and I was a big fan, following his exploits through NSSN. I certainly believe his face would have been on the B/W trophy eventually if fate had'nt intervened. Here's a great pic I came across in a old O/W magazine.
     

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  23. 2002p51
    Joined: Oct 27, 2004
    Posts: 1,362

    2002p51
    Member

    Restored midgets at the Chrysler Classic Speed Festival:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Midgets at Balboa Stadium photographed by Bob Hardee:

    [​IMG]
     
  24. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 8,134

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    After the war, it didn't take long for midget racing to seperate into 2 class's, the "haves" and the "have nots" so to speak.
    The "haves" had the Offie$ and the Kurti$ chassis, the "have nots" had v8 60s and homebuilt chassis. Here's a pic of a "have not" that I really like, certainly has a HAMB look about it :)
     

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  25. hlfuzzball
    Joined: Jan 27, 2005
    Posts: 215

    hlfuzzball
    Member
    from Michigan

    Here is Jack Calabrase driving some of Boobie Logan's Midgets. Site is http://mvrcp.return.to/ and look for Jack Calabrase Vintage Racing Photos.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    <!-- toctype = X-unknown --><!-- toctype = text --><!-- text -->
     
  26. RidgeRunner
    Joined: Feb 9, 2007
    Posts: 906

    RidgeRunner
    Member
    from Western MA

    1/4 Midgets on the cover of Hot Rod. Issue had a big promotion on the smaller cars for kids. Remember buying the isue new in late '50's maybe early '60's. Remember even more how bad I wanted one after seeing them run at the Blanford MA fair in the mid '50's as a youngster.

    Also used to catch the full size ARDC midget shows at the annual Danbury CT fair late '50's early '60's. Always liked the quick action, blink and you've missed somthing. Still catch an occasional NEMA race when I can.

    Timeless body design screams race car, pure and simple.
     
  27. tractorguy
    Joined: Jan 5, 2008
    Posts: 693

    tractorguy
    Member

    Well, this midget thread has finally turned a lurker into a member today. What a great "diverse" group of gearheads. Dirt track midgets are as pure and as raw a form of race car as probably exists on this earth today. Maybe after taking the plunge today, I will also get off the dime and start work on a couple of midget projects in my shed. I have a Solar rail frame midget with Chev II 4cyl. that is still original and covered in dust. I also have a really rough Kurtis Kraft chassis with almost enought parts to get started restoring but I'm still trying to find history on both cars.

    How awesome to have a member of the Caruthers (sp) family be on this board. I'm still kicking myself for not buying a car here in Wisconsin that was traced back to Arizona Jim ?? When growing up in E. Iowa, we raced stock cars on some of the local dirt tracks with Lee Kunzman who quickly went on to run USAC midgets in the same era. What an exciting time in dirt track racing when real men risked (and often lost) their lives on dirt for a chance at Indy.
     
  28. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 8,134

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    The Caruso Offy, a top east coast car, driven by several top drivers of the day. I believe it was later "streached" into a sprinter.
     

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  29. junk-junkie
    Joined: May 1, 2005
    Posts: 122

    junk-junkie
    Member
    from Arvada CO

  30. 22dodge
    Joined: Dec 27, 2006
    Posts: 243

    22dodge
    Member
    from Nevada

    A few photos from the Justice Brothers collection.
    May not be from the era that you want, but still cool cars. '22
     

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