The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Joshua Shaw, Jan 17, 2008.
So, no one really wants to "walk a mile" in another man's midget, then? Gary
Or Danny Drinan at Springfield.
And the miles have not been very kind to the sprinters either - Doc Dawson was a prime, but not singular example.
But, A MIDGET ON A MILE? The first time I heard about a midget on a mile I thought there had been a mistake. I can't imagine.[/QUOTE]
If you really want - I can't Imagine - I remember a conversation with Jimmy Carruthers where he mentioned having tested in his midget at Ontario Motor Speedway - all two and ahalf miles of it.
If you really want - I can't Imagine - I remember a conversation with Jimmy Carruthers where he mentioned having tested in his midget at Ontario Motor Speedway - all two and ahalf miles of it.[/QUOTE]
You're right, I can't imagine!
Actually, a much worse idea than running "midgets on a mile" has been running champ dirt cars on half miles with 50 lap features.
In my day, these cars were meant to run 100 miles, nonstop, on a mile track.
They were driven by real Indy 500 drivers, they had real OFFY and Ford Indy 500 engines and they were called "Specials", because they were.
Even more ridiculous, in recent years, these cars, with their silly looking cartoon tires, can't even run a hundred miles without stopping the race for fuel.
And people wonder why nobody shows up.
mac miller in INDY
I am afraid i will have to align myself with mac miller on this. I have seen midgets on a quarter, half and the Cal Expo mile, Cory Kruseman's accident happened right in front of me, I have never seen any race car flip, end over end and axially so many times in such a short distance. If I recall correctly they were just coming to the green. I watched for a long time and did not count flips or rolls but after awhile he went to sleep and his arms started flopping out of the cage, I turned away.
I have not built or driven any oval open wheel race car, as some of you on here have. However I have been a fan since the mid fifties, and I believe that midgets belong on a quarter, sprints belong on a half and the big and beautiful dirt champs belong on a mile, and they need to run 100 contiguous miles without a Yellow at 51 laps. The "Hoosier Twin Fifties" ? Part of the drama of a hundred lap dirt champ race is who can make the right rear last, will fatigue play a factor etc. And yes a fifty lap dirt champ race on a half mile is, well, sacrilegious to those of us who grew up reading "Speed Age " and admiring the men who piloted those machines.
You're right, I can't imagine![/QUOTE]
True Story ,, I was there that day with Mike Gregg ,, November 72 right after the Ascot Turkey Day race.. The idea was to test the midgets Jimmy's and Mike Gregg's on the road course to see if USAC could put on a road course race at Ontario.. We tried the cars in both directions but they were either too fast getting into the hairpin at the end of the front straight or would bogg down too much to get a run at the straightaway. They gave up on that idea but did let us put in the big gears and run around the 2 1/2 mile track.. It was pretty wild going that fast in those little cars.. Swede Savage was there as an advisor and a movie producer Anthony Cordosa with his movie star (mostly biker movies) wife Joy Wilkerson.
We raced midgets at Trenton in 76 on a sat-sun double header.( Johnny Parsons in our badger) It was a terrible show, and the only thing harder than keeping it on the ground through the bumps at the end of the straight was trying to get a roadster to turn right through the right hander on the back stretch. I never liked taking midgets to the miles or larger, it was always a relief to tow it out the gate on days when nobody got hurt.
Midgets on a mile can seem kinda tame in comparison
...been buying American ''comics'' since 1961,when I bought my first copy of Hot Rod....I was hooked....back bought Hot Rod to No1 ,and bought anything American...at one time I was getting 10 magazines a month.....this year I just had to stop,and I now just get Vintage Motorsport,and Rodders Journal.....It was time to go through my collection and decide what was to stay and what would go. Whilst the sort out began I came across this booklet a really kind guy gave me.I was in Goodwood in 2000,and going through the pits,saw the Watson Trevis Offenhauser..Bowes Seal Fast Special....A J Foyt's 1961 winner.I loved this car and almost fell to my knees,shouting out on top of my voice to tell my friends,much to their embarrassment.This nice old man asked me to sit with him and told me all about the car...he had brought this, and some other cars from the Indy Museum..never found out who he was,but it was great listening to his stories.The next thing I knew Smokey and his wife came to the pit,the old guy introduced me but I was lost for words....then Alex Xydias called in......I just had to get their autographs,the old guy gave me this book,and a pen,and they signed it for me.....best day ever...
Jimmy also ran a midget at the IMS, I can't remember how fast he went
I paint and did the body work and josh and his dad lettered it .
Did anybody go to the vintage meet in St Louis????
mac miller in INDY
I saw the midgets run Langhorne and Trenton. Good shows, certainly dangerous but it all was then.
The best race I ever witnessed was The Champ Cars at Williams Grove in 1958. Yeah 50 laps but 50 great laps, 4 different leaders Larson, Thomson, Sutton and Buzz Barton. Great drivers with Offies, narrow tires.
Midgets also put on a good show at Milwaukee. Big name drivers in the field.
Sprints at Langhorne and Duquoin were terrific as well.
Not sure what month the new models were released for 1962, but the engine became available, at least to dealers early summer 1961. The 327 is what powered the famed 1080 that Johnny Mackison ran to 46 wins in 1961. The car stated out in 1961 with an injected 283 and was switch over to a 327 along with a motor setback farther in the chassis. They started 65 races that year and won 46.
I took over a 1968 Gerhardt and the 1949 Watson car. There were nine cars total.
One of the best open wheel races I ever saw was in 1971 (I think). USAC midgets on the Nazareth 1 1/4 mile dirt the night before the Indy car race at Pocono. Dickson in Bettenhausens midget in a duel with Johnny Hubbard in the Darrell offy. Gary held a pit sign for Dickson that said "Hubbard Coming!!!" I believe they were cageless. At any rate they were fearless, throwing rooster tails at the end of the 1200 ft backstretch which was down hill!
Thanks for crediting Floyd Trevis on the '61 winner.. all to often,Floyd's contribution is missed,and those who know realize how important it was back then...
Romero was the man !
In the 15 years I was at IRP, I thought the midgets consistently put on the best show.
....the gentleman I spoke to went to great lengths to explain that there was very little '' Watson ''in the car,and Floyd Trevis started the build with some of Watson's plans....thats it..... he went on to say it was quite common for builders to make ''copies'' of Watson or Kurtis chassis...either official or not.I could tell he had a great respect for Floyd Trevis.
They ran midgets at the Copper Classic on the mile at Phoenix
See post 20788 and subsequent
That is a great story B-Vette!
Neil that 2000 meet was a once in a lifetime event....I thought I was in '' hot rod heaven ''.....Bill Summers had brought the Goldenrod over,and I spoke with him for a long time...he shed a tear when I told him I followed him and his brother through the pages of Hot Rod and willed and prayed for them to take the speed record.
Ak Miller was there with the '' El Caballo '' roadster.Bruce Meyer had brought over the So Cal belly tank and the Pierson Brothers coupe (which he let me sit in)...Don Orosco brought the ''Dick Flint '' roadster......the ''Ray Brown'' and '' Barney Navarro '' roadsters were there,and Dave Simard brought the ''Tom Beatty'' drop tank....and last but not least the ''Hurst Floor Shift'' Indy car.. I have visited the States many times,but I don't think I could have seen all these cars over one weekend....although 9/11 changed the event for the next few years, you guys still came back to the ''motherland'' much to our gratitude and delight.
Wish we could have been there.... Are you bringing the Watson to Milwaukee???
Hope to see you there!
mac miller in INDY
Mac - couldn't agree with you more. Grew up in the Indy area, as did my father, and were regulars at the Speedrome. With the exception of special events at Kokomo, Bloomington, Putnamville or even Columbus, and Liberty IN, most quarter to 3/8 miles were reserved for weekly sprint car racing. Yes, the speed at the bigger tracks as well as the handling characteristics of a midget were sometimes interesting, it was real dangerous stuff when things went bad.
anybody have pix of vintage cars @ Indy, pre 500 exhibition????
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