Monday, March 5, 2012

Midget Racing in Alaska

by Nancy DeWitt

Recently Willy and I were contacted by Thomas Schmeh, the curator for the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum and Kevin Triplett, a racing historian and writer. They were inquiring about our three midget racers and were curious if they had ever been raced in Alaska. Except for some spins around the museum parking lot and local track, we're pretty sure our 1934 Offenhauser, 1937 Ford V8-60 and 1938 Elto were never raced here. All three were part of the J. Parker Wickham collection in Mattituck, New York, prior to coming to live at the Fountainhead Museum.

1934 Wetteroth-Offenhauser midget racer. Driver Bob Swanson was unbeatable in this car
and won the United Midget Association title with it in 1935.

 To the best of our knowledge, midget racing didn't arrive in Fairbanks until the early 1950s. Does anyone remember seeing midget cars race at the Rendevouz Speedway along the Old Steese Highway? Quarter midget racing picked up here around 1957.

Kevin Triplett has written an interesting article about the history of midget racing in Alaska, which you can read by clicking on this link and scrolling down to the March 3, 2012 stories. As you can see, there are some gaps in our knowledge, so if you have any additional information please let us or Kevin know.

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