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Quarter Midget racing is a form of automobile racing. The cars are approximately one quarter (1/4) the size of a full size midget car. The adult size midget being raced during the start of quarter midget racing, used an oval track of one fifth of a mile in length. The childs quarter midget track is one quarter that length, or 1/20th mile. An adult size midget in the 1940s and 1950s could reach 120 miles per hour, while the single cylinder 7 cubic inch quarter midget engine could make available a speed of 30 miles per hour, or one quarter the speed of the adult car. Current upper class quarter midgets can exceed 30 miles per hour, but remain safe due to the limited size of the track.
Quarter Midgets have been around in one form or another since before World War II, There are two sanctioning bodies for Quarter Midgets, United States Auto Club (USAC) and Quarter Midgets of America (QMA).
There were over 4,000 drivers in the United States in 2007. In the United States, an engine can cost from $400 to $9,000, the car chassis from $1,500 for a used up to $6,000 for a new chassis. Tires start at $50 a tire. There are many brands of cars as well as custom cars made by individuals. Some of the common brands are Stanley Racing, N/C chassis (Nervo/Coggin), Bullrider Racecars, Tad Fiser Race Cars, Rice Cars, GT American Race Cars, Ashley Chassis, Profab, Cobra Race Cars, And RSS Race Cars. Cars are protected by body panels which are made of fiberglass, sheetmetal, or more rarely, carbon fiber.
The move from Deco to Honda was first highlighted by an exhibition race at the 1988 Western Grands in Pueblo, Colorado. The Honda engine proved to be the saving element as cost were skyrocketing with the Deco engine due to supply and demand. Attempts to put the Deco/Continental engines back into production have failed. Briggs and Stratton is also being used as a cost effective engine platform.
As the cost of the Deco engine platform has continued to rise and increasing problems with Honda engine revisions and parts tolerances have increased the adoption of Briggs and Stratton engines has increased substantially. This adoption has come in the form of both the World Formula and Briggs animal engines. The QMA is slated to fully introduce the Animal engine platform beginning in 2012. USAC has already had the platform for two years. The QMA is also set to begin phasing out the Honda platform in 2013. This decision remains highly controversial among its members.
The oldest continually run dirt quarter midget track east of the Mississippi is THQMA (Terre Haute Quarter Midget Association) located in Terre Haute, Indiana. On the west coast, Capitol Quarter Midgets has also been in operation since 1955. Many of today's most recognizable names in racing got their start in quarter midgets including; A.J. Foyt, Jeff Gordon, Sarah Fisher, Jimmy Vasser, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Terry Labonte, and Bobby Labonte to name a few.
The first feature film on quarter midget racing was produced in 2009. Called Drive, it captures kids (as young as five years old) hit speeds of 50 mph to battle for the Grand National race. Moms and dads turn gears and yell over revving motors as their sons and daughters push to win. Quarter midget racing relies on the family to work as a team. The heat, the stress and the drive to win put their bond to the test.