Midget car racing

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MidgetCar.jpg
Midget cars racing at Angell Park Speedway

Midget cars, also Speedcars in Australia, are very small race cars with a very high power-to-weight ratio and typically use four-cylinder engines.

Contents

Cars

Typically, these cars have 300 to 400 horsepower and weigh 1,000 pounds (450 kg).[1] The high power and small size of the cars combine to make midget racing quite dangerous; for this reason, modern midget cars are fully equipped with roll cages and other safety features. They are intended to be driven for races of relatively short distances, usually 2.5 to 25 miles (4 to 40 km). Some events are staged inside arenas, most notably the Chili Bowl held in early January at the Expo Square Pavilion in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

History

Midget car racing was officially born on August 10, 1933 at the Loyola High School Stadium in Los Angeles as a regular weekly program under the control of the first official governing body, the Midget Auto Racing Association (MARA).[2] After spreading right across the country, the sport traveled around the world; first to Australia in 1934 at Melbourne's Olympic Park on December 15,[3] and to New Zealand in 1937. Early midget races were held on board tracks previously used for bicycle racing.[4] When the purpose built speedway at Gilmore Stadium was completed, racing ended at the school stadium, and hundreds of tracks began to spring up across the United States. Other major tracks in the United States operating in the first half of the twentieth century include Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin (near Madison), and Ascot Park near Los Angeles.

Stepping stone to high profile divisions

Many IndyCar and NASCAR drivers used midget car racing as an intermediate stepping stone on their way to more high profile divisions, including Tony Stewart, Sarah Fisher, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and others. The events are sometimes held on weeknights so that popular and famous drivers from other, higher-profiled types of motor racing will be available to compete, and so that it does not conflict with drivers' home tracks.

Notable midget car races

In 1959 Lime Rock Park held a famous Formula Libre race, where Rodger Ward shocked the expensive and exotic sports cars by beating them on the road course in an Offenhauser powered midget car, usually used on oval tracks. Ward used an advantageous power-to-weight ratio and dirt-track cornering abilities to steal the win.

Notable annual midget car racing events

Sanctioning bodies

Australian speedcar racer Matt Smith racing his midget car in the United States

Australia

New Zealand

United Kingdom

United States

WMRA- Washington Midget Racing Association

See also

References

External links