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50 Greatest Midget Drivers.

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huh.gif I was wondering if Marty or somebody else has a list of the 50
greatest midget drivers. They can be from a different country too.
With a few stats, wins, championships.

I started to come up with a list who I thought would be considered great,
but I know somebody else already has it.

1) Kevin Olson

2) Rich Vogler

3) Mel Kenyon

4) Sleepy Tripp

5) Bob East

6) Tony Stewart

7) JJ Yeley

8) Tracey Hines

9) Dave Darland

10) Shorty Templeton

11) Jason Leffler

12) AJ Foyt

13) Ron Shuman

14) Jeff Gordon

15 Stan Fox

Thanks in advance,

Larry "O"

Marty Boyer

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My Top 50 Midget drivers in no certain order :

Mel Kenyon: 7-time Usac Champion and over 100 Feature wins

Sleepy Tripp: 7-time Usac Western States Champion with over 95 Western States Feature wins and 2-time Usac National Midget Champion with over 50 National Feature wins.

Rich Vogler: 5-time Usac National Midget Champion with over 95 Feature wins. He also won the “Hut Hundred” eight times, the “4-Crown Nationals” midget event four times, the “Hoosierdome Invitational” twice, the “Copper Classic” twice and the “Night Before the 500” once.

Bob Wente: He won the Usac National Midget Championship and had 78 Feature wins. He also was the USAC Indoor Midget Champion in 1961 and won the “Night Before the 500” midget race in 1969 and again in 1976. He also won the “Hut Hundred” in 1963.

Bob Tattersall: He won the USAC National Midget Champion and also raced in Australia and New Zealand for thirteen winters, winning over fifty percent of the races he competed in, as well as the World Championship at the Sydney Showgrounds on seven different occasions. He had 63 Usac National Feature wins.

Billy Wood: 8-time Badger Champion

Johnny Baldwin: 9-Bcra Champion with 125 Feature wins.

Lloyd Axel: 2-time Rmmra Champion. In 1950 he won the Mile High Auto Racing Association title and won over 75 features in Colorado during a career that continued into the late 1950s. Records also indicate several victories with AAA including events at South Bend, Indiana and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Shorty Templeman: : He was the first three-time National Midget Champion by winning the title in 1956, ’57 and ’58. Until he placed third in the 1959 national point battle, Templeman had been the United States Auto Club’s only Champion.

Len Duncan: 8-time Ardc Champion.

Stan Fox: He had 19 Usac career feature wins including the “Turkey Night Grand Prix” in 1990 and 91. Stan also won the “Copper Classic” twice, the “Rex Easton Memorial” on the mile at Springfield, Illinois three times, the “Rodger Mauro Classic” twice and the “4-Crown National” midget portion at Eldora once.
He was the Badger Midget Champion in 1979 and won the “Belleville Nationals” in 1979 and 1980.

Jason Leffler: He won the USAC National Midget Championship three years in a row. He had 18 National Championship feature wins including the Hut 100 and the Belleville Nationals in 1997, the Turkey Night Grand Prix and the Copper Classic in 1999 and the Night Before the 500 in 2002.

A.J. Foyt: He won the “Turkey Night Grand Prix” in 1960 and 1961, the first two years it was held at Ascot Park. In 1961 he won the “Hut Hundred” and repeated again in 1965. He had 20 Usac National Midget wins.

Jimmie Davies: He won three USAC National Midget Championships. He also won the “Night Before the 500” midget race three times, twice at Kokomo in 1960 and ’61 and repeated for his third time the next year at the Indianapolis Speedrome.

Johnny Parsons,Jr: He has won 29 midget features through 1994 including the 4-Crown Nationals midget feature twice, the 1979 “Hut Hundred,” and the “Copper Classic” midget portion in 1986. In 1977 he was 2nd in the National Midget Championship. In 1983 he won the prestigous Belleville Midget Nationals.

Bill Schindler: He won the ARDC Championship in 1940, 1945, 1946 and 1948.

Kevin Olson: 4-time Badger Champion. He also won the USAC National Midget Championship in 1982 and 1987. He had 23 all time USAC feature wins .
He won The “Turkey Night Grand Prix” in 1983 and the “Hut 100” in 1996. He is a four time winner of the “Pepsi Nationals” at Angell Park and won the “Rex Easton Memorial” on the Springfield mile in 1987. Olson also won the Indianapolis Speedrome Championship in 1988.

Tony Stewart: He won the USAC National Midget Championship in 1994 . He has won over 24 National midget features including the 2000 “Turkey Night Grand Prix” . He also has wins at the “Hut Hundred” in 1993 and ’95, the “Copper Classic” in 1997 and ’98 and the “4-Crown Nationals” in 1995. He has also won the Chili Bowl.

Dave Strickland,Sr: 3-time Rmmra Champion. He also won 25 USAC Midget features .

Mike McGreevy: 3-time Bcra Champion. He also had 33 USAC career midget feature wins. He won the “Hut Hundred” in 1968 and the “Night Before the 500” in 1967.

Floyd Alvis: 7-time Bcra Champion.

Randy Roberts: 9-time Rmmra Champion. He finished in the top 10 in points in 18 out of 22 seasons. For 13 consecutive years from 1987 to 1999 he never finished lower than fourth in points and had won at least one feature race each year. He is the only driver to ever win the Loyd Axel, Roy Leslie, Sam Sauer and Eddie Jackson Memorial.

Tony Bettenhausen Sr.: He won the “Turkey Night” classic in 1959 and the “Hut Hundred” in 1955 and 1956. He was the Milwaukee Track Champion in 1942, ’46 and ’47 and the Chicago Raceway Park Champion in 1941, ’42 and ’47.

Eddie Jackson: 6-time Rmmra Champion. He had 76 Rmmra Feature wins. He won the 1st annual Belleville Midget Nationals.

Duane "Pancho" Carter: He won a Usac Championship and had 23 Usac wins. He won the “Hut Hundred” in 1972 and again in 1975 .

Johnnie Tolan: 2-time Rmmra champion. In 1946 he won 45 feature races, then scored 47 wins the next year and won 27 features in 1948. In 1950 he captured the AAA Midwest Midget title. In 1952 he won the National Midget Championship and his second Midwest crown. He won the “Night Before the 500” midget race in 1953.

Billy Boat: Hhe broke all USAC records for consecutive single-series feature wins by taking 11 straight Western States midget victories. He won 18 races in 27 starts and captured the series championship. He won the "Turkey Night Grand Prix" three consecutive times and the "Belleville Nationals" and the "Copper World Classic" and the "Chili Bowl".

Hank Butcher: 3-time Bcra Champion. 79 Bcra wins and 12 Usac Western states wins.

Robby Flock: 4-time Usac Western States Champion. 49 Usac Western States Feature wins and 6 Usac National feature wins. Won the Belleville Midget Nationals, Copper World Classic and the Eldora 4-Crown Midget Nationals.

Chuck Rodee: He won 35 career features in USAC midget competition.

Bill Vukovich Jr: He won 23 National Midget Championship victories during his career.

Mike Gregg: 8-time Rmmra Champion. He has 64 career Rmmra wins.

Rex Easton: In USAC competition, he won 21 features which places him 21st in the all- time USAC feature wins ranking. He placed second in the 1957 and 1958 USAC National Midget Division points races and won the USAC Midwest Championship in 1958.

Jimmy Caruthers: He won the USAC National Midget Championship in 1970. He won 21 USAC midget features between 1967 and 1975. He won three features with the ARDC.

Vito Calia: He was a six time champion at that tough Kansas City Olympic Stadium (1938-40-41-42-49 under KCMARA and 1952 under the AAA banner). He won over 62 features from 1937-1954 in the Kansas City/Springfield, MO area. He also won another dozen around the St. Louis circuit including two at Walsh Stadium. He was second in the first AAA National Midget Championship in 1948.

Gary Bettenhausen: In 1969 he won the first leg of the “Astro Grand Prix” held in the Houston Astrodome. He won the “Turkey Night Grand Prix” in 1967 and 1970, the “Astro Grand Prix” again in 1972 and the “Hut Hundred” in 1976. Gary was third in the 1967 midget division points and has recorded 27 USAC midget wins.

Arnie Knepper :

Tom Bigelow: In 1984 He won the National Midget Championship. He placed 4th, 3rd and 9th the next three years and won the USAC Midwest Regional Title in 1982.

Danny Oakes: He drove for 25 years in midgets. He won the “Turkey Night Grand Prix” in 1945. In 1947 he won the AAA Pacific Coast Midget Championship and twelve years later repeated the feat under the USAC banner.

Dave Darland: 2-time Belleville Midget Champion. Usac National Midget Champion.

Bill Engelhart: He won all 3 major midget races, the “Night Before the 500” (1975), “The Hut 100” (1973), and “Turkey Night” (1971-73). He won the Roger Mauro Classic in 1972 and was 2nd in the National points. He was the midget division “Rookie of Year” in 1969 with a 7th in the national points followed by a 6th place in 1970 and a 5th place in ’71. He also placed 4th in both ’73 and ’74 and is 14th in all time USAC feature wins with 24.

Steve Knepper: 7-time Mara Champion. 2-time Belleville Midget Champion. 1996 Wolverine Midget Nationals. Winner of the Hut Hundred, Eldora 4-Crown and points champion of the 16th street speedway. He had a total of 13 Usac National wins.

Chuck Weyant: He won track titles at Belleville and Charleston, Illinois. He won at least 64 main events during his midget career and placed in the top 25 in the National points battle nine times from 1951 through 1971. Beginning in 1955 he balanced his midget career with the Indianapolis cars. Of his 13 National Championship midget victories his biggest was the 1955 “Hut Hundred” .

Ed "Dutch" Schaefer: He won the ARDC Championship in 1956, ’57, ’60 and ’65. He also won a USAC race at Hershey, Pa. beating the nation’s top drivers by a full lap.

Dan Boorse: 7-time Badger Champion and 2-time Chili Bowl Champion.

Kasey Kahne: Usac Midget Champion, 2-time Belleville Champion, Night before the 500 Champion and mayn usac wins.

Ron Shuman: 8-time Turkey Night Grand Prix wins.

Bob Swanson: He was the most victorious driver during the colorful history of Gilmore Stadium in Los Angeles where he won the “Turkey Night Grand Prix” in 1934 and 1938 and the 1939 “Gold Cup” race.
He was chosen to drive the second Offy ever built and was unbeatable in the new car, winning the UMA title in 1935. He was the 1939 Pacific Coast AAA Champion. He won the Madison Square Garden Bowl in Long Island, New York, as well as other top races in the country.

Jeff Gordon: Usac Champion, Belleville Champion, Night before the 500 winner and many other wins.

Tracy Hines: 22 Usac midget wins. Won the 2005 Chili Bowl. Won the 4-Crown Nationals and the Rich Vogler Memorial Race. In three years ('95-'97) of midgets, he won 18 of 90 events. He also won the Mel Kenyon Classic .




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Marty - I agree with you concerning Bill Schindler who also formed the ARDC and was the president for about nine years. But he set a record that no one else has ever come close to when he drove Mike Caruso duece to 56 main event in one year --- and then matched those results the next year. Let us also not forget Johnny Coy who was just introduced into the midget hall of fame, and Ed "Dutch" Schaefer another long time president of the ARDC as well as a multi-year champion. There were so many great ones from back in the 40s and 50s when you could run 7 and 8 times a week. See you at Belleville.




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let's not forget John Tolan, Rex Easton, Eddie Jackson, Duke Nalon, Tony & Gary Bettenhausen, Jimmy Carathers, Bobby Grim, Dan Frye, Arnie Knepper, and Les Scott . Just to name a few




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And lets not forget Floyd Alvis !!! 7 time BCRA champion !!!! Won over 60 Main Events !!! At 69 yrs won USAC race at Madera , And last year won opening race at Stockton after hittin fence in hot laps and rebuilding car and still winninnn!!!!! Now at almost 71 ready for another year and will once again contend for the title !!!!!!! biggrin.gif biggrin.gif p/s also a all around good guy !!!!

Marty Boyer

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USAC National Midget Car Series Career Wins( as of December ,2004, drivers with at least 3 feature wins)

Rank Driver #Wins
1 Mel Kenyon 101
2 Rich Vogler 98
3 Bob Wente 78
4 Bob Tatersall 63
5 Sleepy Tripp 59
6 Jimmy Davies 48
7 Chuck Rodee 31
Gene Hartley 31
9 Mike McGreevy 30
Johnny Parsons 30
11 Gary Bettenhausen 27
Tony Stewart 27
13 Parnelli Jones 25
Dave Strickland 25
15 Bill Engelhart 24
16 Tommy Coop 23
Billy Vukovich 23
Pancho Carter 23
19 Tom Bigelow 22
Kevin Olson 22
Shorty Templeman 22
Dave Darland 22
23 Rex Easton 21
Jimmy Caruthers 21
Steve Cannon 21
Ken Schrader 21
Tracy Hines 21
28 A. J. Foyt 20
29 Stan Fox 19
30 Jason Leffler 18
31 George Amick 16
Billy Cantrell 16
Henry Pens 16
Lee Kunzman 16
Bobby Olivero 16
Jay Drake 16
J. J. Yeley 16
38 Don Branson 15
Larry Rice 15
Bobby East 15
41 Jack Turner 14
Chuck Arnold 14
Leroy Warriner 14
44 Stevie Reeves 13
Don Meacham 13
Steve Knepper 13
Ryan Newman 13
48 Dave Steele 13
Gene Force 12
Bobby Grim 12
Danny Caruthers 12
Jeff Gordon 12
Ron Shuman 12
Russ Gamester 12
55 Jimmy Knight 11
Johnny Moorhouse 11
Kasey Kahne 11
Bob McLean 11
59 Allen Heath 10
Jerry McClung 10
Steve Lotshaw 10
Chuck Weyant 10
Doug Kalitta 10
64 Chuck Gurney 9
Billy Boat 9
Tony Eliott 9
67 Tony Bettenhausen 8
Eddie Johnson 8
Ronnie Duman 8
Merle Bettenhausen 8
Hank Butcher 8
Dan Drinan 8
Andy Michner 8
Kevin Doty 8
Brian Gerster 8
Kenny Irwin Jr. 8
77 Johnnie Tolan 7
Len Sutton 7
Don Horvath 7
Tommy Astone 7
Lea Scott 7
Larry Patton 7
Page Jones 7
Jack Hewitt 7
Kenneth Nichols 7
86 George Benson 6
Roger West 6
Arnie Knepper 6
Dana Carter 6
Nick Fornoro, Jr. 6
Bob Cicconi 6
Mike Streicher 6
Dave Strickland, Jr. 6
Robby Flock 6
Donnie Beechler 6
Wayne Hammond 6
Michael Lewis 6
98 Cliff Spauding 5
Burt Foland 5
Larry Dickson 5
Jerry Weeks 5
Lonnie Caruthers 5
Danny Mc Knight 5
Mack McClellan 5
Mike Fedorcak 5
Mike Bliss 5
Jerry Coons, Jr. 5
108 Eddie Sachs 4
Andy Linden 4
Roger Ward 4
Billy Garnet 4
Johnny Boyd 4
Frank Burany 4
Russ Congdon 4
Dale Swaim 4
Bobby Marshman 4
Danny Frye 4
Roger McCluskey 4
Billy Mehner 4
Ray Eliott 4
George Snider 4
Gary Ponzini 4
Sam Sessions 4
Jan Opperman 4
Ken Nichols 4
Bubby Jones 4
Jeff Nuckles 4
Mike Greg 4
John Heydenreich 4
Don Schilling 4
Jim Hettinger 4
Teddy Beach 4
133 Gays Biro 3
Johnnie Parsons 3
Earl Motter 3
Danny Oaks 3
Billy Homeier 3
Johnny Roberts 3
Dave Moses 3
Allen Crowe 3
Porky Rachwitz 3
Johnny Riva 3
Bobby Unser 3
Lowell Sachs 3
Bob Hauck 3
Bob Hare 3
John Batts 3
Tom Steiner 3
Rick Goudy 3
Jim McClean 3
Jeff Heywood 3
Jerry Nuckles 3
Gene Gennetten 3
Warren Mockler 3
Bruce Field 3
Drew Fornoro 3
Sam Isenhower 3
Jim Keeker 3
A.J. Fike 3
Davey Ray 3



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tongue.gif Wow Marty, that is 50 all time hero's. That's pretty good and thanks,

You would be able to add to that my maybe naming a few crew chief,
car, engines and sponsor???lol

I just think a book of this sort would be wonderful and if they had
a few video clips and historical narration from a racing viewpoint,
fan and technical..

Thanks again...would be a great DVD...lol.




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Some striking numbers that jump out at me are:

7 Wins in Page Jones Short Career
16 Wins by Bobby Olivero
21 Wins by Steve Cannon
13 Wins by Steevie Reeves
12 Wins by Gordon
8 Wins Each by Tony and Mearle Bettenhausen
8-Boat only has 8 National Wins
4-Teddy Beach has one more win than Bobby Unser but the same amount as Billy Mehner
12 Wins by Danny Caruthers
15 Wins by Bobby East in just 4 years
11 Wins by Kasey Kahne
5-Mike Bliss only has 5 wins
1 and 20-At #1 and #20 Mel Kenyon and Kevin Olsen are the only drivers in the top 20 to still run midgets on at least a semi-regular basis. I didn't include Stewart because he runs about 6 races a year.

Barry Butterworth has to be included on the all time list.



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tongue.gif Would anybody like to comment on Vukovich Sr. I heard he was a great
midget driver. Maybe one of the best the West ever produced.

Larry "O"



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The greatest midget driver is not only by stats on the track but off track actions. Mel Kenyon topps that list followed by Gary Bettenhausen. Sleepy Tripp would be very high on that list as well.

Larryo Vukovich sr would sure be a great candidate for the best the west ever produced. He did it on a shoe string budget and did it with everything against him. He not only is the greatest western midget driver but should be listed as the greatest driver to ever race the Indy 500. Why, name me someone who had a better career at Indy. He dominated the race so well he could easily have been Indy's first four time winner and the only one to win it Three years in a row if not for fate. Noone else has done that and probably never will.
I love it, God help me I do love it so. I love it more than my life.

mike finley

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biggrin.gif biggrin.gif I would like to add a name to this list.....Virgil Ford.... This is not a name that everyone will know, but he won 21 FEATURE EVENTS in 1 season...a feat that probably hasn't been equalled since...!!!!!!!



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mike.. virgil ford. that's an old time st. louis area name. i recall the ford family pretty well. not a household name, but a family of good racers. i remember the time(s) dads told the story of entering 26 midget races one summer, winning 22 of them,finishing 2nd twice, and a dnf twice. he said the grooves in the racecar upholstery matched the grooves in his back! i forget how many times dad won the slara championship, but it was 3 or 4, i think. help me out here on that, please. thanks, art.



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huh.gif I find these post amusing...i mean entertaining, but I have not
been able to find any information about the St Louis Automobile Racing
Association. Could someone tell me what era, what other famous drivers
might lead me to some stories and what year are we talking about ....i.e.

30, 40, 50 etc.

Thanks in advance...

Larry "O"...Grasshopper. Have a great season and thanks for the post.
Keeps me guessing and learning.

mike finley

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tongue.gif tongue.gif SLARA, St Louis Auto Racing Assn..was originally chartyered in the state of Missouri , I think, in 1947 and continued in operation into the early 80's...At one time it was the oldest continually operating Midget club in the USA...I will have to dig out my info to give you statistics on champions and drivers and owners..A few names that come to mind are Arnold Knepper, Bob Wente Sr and Jr., Dan Frey Sr and Jr, Jon Backland, Vito Calia, Duke DeRosa, Bud Hoppe, Chuck Weyant. Gene Weyant, Scott Weyant, Gene Gennatten. George Smith, Jim Millmaker, Jack Stroud, and about a thousand others to whom I appologize for not naming but that will give you a start...I suggest that you try to find a copy of the 25 year book that SLARA put out in 1972, It will give you all the backround info you need.......!!

mike finley

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biggrin.gif biggrin.gif The Ford family was involved in midgets for 3 generations. Virgil Ford then brothers Tom and Phil Ford. then Phils 2 sons...Art, if you look in the 25 year book it lists all the champions and the years they won, I think your Dad was Champion at least 3 times.........

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