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Fast little cars: the history of midget car racing

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Men Driving Midget Cars
Ted Poole and Bill Thompson Take The Lead in Sydney - 1937.
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The explosive history of midget car racing.

 carFast. Small. Fun. What each of these words have in common is that when used together, they bring to mind for many, a great sport called midget racing. This very popular spectator sport has been in existence for almost an entire century—since 1933, to be exact. With a history that spans long and wide, in both time and place, many have sought and found great enjoyment in midget car racing.

Description of Midget Car Racing:

Unlike the sport’s name may suggest, in politically incorrect speech, this racing genre is not necessarily reserved for little people, but it is more aptly one that is enjoyed by people of all heights, sizes, and backgrounds.

The midget part of automobile racing genre’s name refers to the cars involved in the races themselves. Midget car racing involves high-powered, small-sized race cars that are driven in competitions.

It involves racing miniature automobiles on ¼ or ½ dirt road or paved tracks.





The Historical Origin of Midget Car Racing:

Midget car racing has been in existence for a long time, with a rich and diverse history all over the globe. It has historically been referred to as “quarter midget racing” as well.

As a sport, midget car racing gained its original following and popularity in the United States. This all came about to fulfill a need and fill a void. A group of innovative racers got together to create a new form of racing that made it possible to engage in automobile racing at a less financial cost than other races.

Since these pioneers did not have the money for the upkeep and participation in full-size car racing, they took it upon themselves to create this brand new racing genre.

The first midget car race took place at Los Angeles’ Loyola High School Stadium. This inaugural event was sponsored by sport’s first official governing body, the Midget Auto Racing Association (MARA).

As the sport caught on in success, interest, and popularity, it quickly broadened in scope and reach-- attracting enthusiasts in various other countries across the globe. In 1934, the sport found its way to Australia and then it was on to New Zealand in 1937.

Cars Used in Midget Car Races:

The cars used in midget car races have specific guidelines that they must adhere to and usually have four-cylinder engines. These automobiles weigh in at around 1,000 pounds and push horse power that range from 300 to 400, making this quite a dangerous sport.

This impending danger to the driver and onlookers has necessitated the existence of short competitions, when compared to longer car races like those of more widely-known professional racing divisions like NASCAR and IndyCar, to which it holds midget racing as an inspiration and predecessor.

These popular sporting events usually take place indoors, inside large arenas, with each race extending short lengths of no more than 25 miles long or 40 km. The purpose of this is to seek to diminish the dangers that naturally derive from having such great amounts of horse power in the engines of such little vehicles.

Such heavy weight on little cars such as these midget race cars can potentially lead to immediate disaster. Throughout history, there have been numerous incidents of such tragedy.

Resources:
USAC Racing
United Midget Racing Association

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