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GINGERBREADMAN

Quarter Midget Racers from Late 50's/early 60's

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I remember racing 1/4 midgets in Houston and around Texas in my younger days, but have lost track of alot of the competitors over the years.

 

A little help with this list and where they might be or what they've been up to would be interesting. Here's who's names I can remember.....Larry Schilds, Larry Robinson, Johnny Robertson, Randy Coon,(Shannon now), Bubba Nolan, Gail Nolan, Sandra Honea, Jo Jo Jordan, BoBo Cooper, Bill Pollack, Kathy Pollack, Larry Pollack, Dempy Rozofy......and somebody help me out here. Oh yeah me ...Denny Burton.

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gwj78025    0

Gingerbreadman,

I use to run 1/4 midgets with Larry and you in Pasadena and I believe at Gulfgate Mall. My Dad drove the blue and gold #68 at Playland Park. I went to MeyerSpeedway every Saturday night.I use to see Larry at San Antonio Speedway when he drove in T.I.D.A. I also talked to you in the pits at San Antonio Speedway when you ran in a special midget or sprint car race.That's when you told me your Dad had been killed while hunting.I really enjoyed your Dad Don and uncle M.J. I also remember when Charlie Schild had a garage on Washington Ave.After midgets,I went on to playing football, but I really missed racing cars.And once I got married,racing was out of the question.I retired in 2003 after 31 years with the U.S.Postal Service.Still married after 37 years with two sons and 1 grandson.Trying to get him started in go-carts.I remember some of the names you raced with in midgets, two more was Daryl and Ralph Hammonds of Pasadena.Their father,

Randy Hammonds owned Alex & Wheel in Pasadena. My Dad worked for him for 20 years.Good to hear from you,are you and Larry still racing?

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ftaylor    0

Hello Denny,

 

I just found this site and thought I would say hello. I used to race with you, Larry and the rest of the guys and girls you mentioned at Gulf Gate, Allendale Shopping Center in Pasadena, and at the track on Red Bluff road in Pasadena.

 

I drove the red #13 with the shark painted on it, which we later repained to blue and changed the number to # 58, my favorite adult driver and your uncle M.J. I will attempt to post a photo of #13. I may have some photos of you and some of the others in my dad's 35 mm slide collection.

 

I remember the great times we had in either your dad's or M.J.' garage on Washington while our parents were meeting for the Coastal Quarter Midget Association.

 

I have been attempting to contact Randy Coon, we became good frineds but lost contact with him in the 70's, if anyone knows where he is I would appreciate it.

 

I ran into Tommy Dowdy recently, he is an assistant fire chief for the Houston Fire Department.

 

Well, I hope you and your family have a great Christmas.

 

Freddy Taylor

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RETrott    0

Quarter Midget Racer from late '50s, Bubba Nolan also raced Bronco Stock Cars at Meyer Spdwy/Houston in about '67/'68. Later, he worked with the Tony Bettenhausen/VitaFresh Racing Team, and also the H B Bailey/Almeda Auto Parts Race Team. In the Texas Racing History/Meyer Spdwy pics 2 section, one of the early '70s era pictures shows a person in the background that looks very much like Harold "Bubba" Nolan. However, I don't have any present, nor over the last 20+ yrs, knowledge about Bubba Nolan.

Edited by RETrott

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Midget 85    0

Denny,

 

I had already been racing at the Gulfgate race track for a couple of years when you entered the world of Quarter midget racing. Matter of fact we sold my first quarter midget to you in your rookie days.

 

There are a few more names to add to the list of Houston drivers. Coggie and Debbie Pearce, Jeff Lynn, Pam Miller, Chubby Chapman, Ralph Middleton, Joey Jordan, Freddy Taylor, Freddy Prior, Danny Gage, Jr.Wingo, Jim Sanders, that come to my mind. From Liberty, TX came Sonny Richardson, Galveston's Bruce Boenig and more.

 

We need to have a Gulf Coast Quarter Midget Drivers Reunion to go over old times. How quickly time goes from being kids in Quarters to looking at AARP benefits!

 

I will dig up some photos I have and post them as soon as I can find them. Good to hear from Freddy Taylor. We were chums in those days and recently have made contact.

 

Here's a photo of my first Quarter Midget at the tender age of 6 which later would become your first race car we mentioned above. Pre roll bar days I might ad! This car was built with conduit tubing for the frame and we drove to Dallas, TX every weekend to race at the Quarter Midget track next to the Devil's Bowl big track.

 

Sorry to hear Larry Schild wrecked this car after MJ and your Dad purchased this car from us in 1957. I must say, it was crude and handled rather poorly. The original engine didn't even have a gear box! We were learning in the early days of Quarter Midget racing.

 

One night in Dallas, we were allowed to run them on the Devil's Bowl big track as an exhibition and the car screamed and maybe doing 60 miles an hour due to the high gear and no gear box reduction. Everyone thought I was some kid in that there little midget.

 

Well, I might have been a little tart back then but I thought I was somebody making laps around the "Old Devils Bowl" race track at a fast speed..and in a little 1/4 Midget at that.

 

I remember the track being so ruff my goggles were falling off my nose, and the wheels were actually bouncing off the surface. Awh, who needed a "Roll Bar" in those days!

 

Bring on the Big Boys I thought..

 

Sadly, it would hardly run on the short circuits due to the reason above. It ran great on super sized tracks! Not long after that, we learned about the Continental engines and the gear reduction gear box.

Edited by Midget 85

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Midget 85    0

I found this photo of Coggie Pearce in his later Pacemaker Midget after winning the Senior Championship in 1958.

 

Note the fuel tank was mounted just in front of Coggie's cock pit. Pretty big trophey for Quarter Midget Championship award! It was the ending season of 1958 and you can tell the weather was a bit cool.

 

In the photo starting from left to right is Debbie Pearce, Coggie in the midget, Annette Pearce and Fred Pearce the parents.

 

Fred Pearce was a pilot for Gulf Oil company at the time and later moved to Lake Jackson,TX and became a pilot for Dow Chemical. Annette was a school teacher. They had a huge spread near the lake in Lake Jackson. Before that, we used to visit their home in Glennbrook Valley near what was then known as Houston International Airport

 

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Edited by Midget 85

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Can't believe that I was talking about 1/4 midgets racing last week and I stumble onto this site yesterday. Talk about bringing back memories!! I remember when Debbie Pierce and I were the only girls, then came Gale Nolan. Anyway, after 1/4 midgets, my Dad did go-carts and micro midgets with the Track Twisters (a teen club he sponsored). I remember seeing a couple of ya'll at Meyer's Speedway. We lost all the pictures in the '94 flood. My husband says he knows he has one in his shop, but I haven't looked for it yet. Yeah, how 'bout a reunion. I would love to see and hear from all of you.

Sandra Honea

-

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Midget 85    0

Welcome aboard Sandra!

 

I might have a photo of you in the red and white #10 Moss Midget in my photo album. I really need to find my album. Of course, a lot of the photos were taken in black and white in those days by the track photographer.

 

Does anyone remember Joe Jordon? Joe was one of the promoters at the Gulf Freeway track and also "Uncle Bert Lynn" who had the TV show along with the talking pig "Porky" if I recall on channel 2 in those days. Remember the Quarter Midgets being televised on Sunday mornings??

 

They were all "Fixed" as to who was to win so everyone would shine as a winning driver every Sunday.

 

After the TV coverage was over, it was back to grid iron racing off the TV camera's.

 

Once I was running an illegal " 270 "cam in my engine just to see how it would perform according to my Dad who was the chief mechanic as all were. The car literally flew around the track and I was having fun lapping everyone as I felt like AJ Foyt!

 

It was on TV, but dad signaled me into the pits after the white flag was displayed so I couldn't win. We pretended we fell out for mechanical reasons or for what it was worth, that's what they said on TV. Anyway, I wasn't suppose to win that race and to do so would have caused an uprising not to mention the speeds I was doing around the track certainly was noticed by the competitors. They knew something wasn't right and we sure the heck wasn't running an "A" modified engine with methane or nitro fuel!

 

Oh yeah Sandra, Pam Miller and her little sister were the other two cute Lassies driving the "Grand Prix" Quarter Midgets like Freddy Taylor and Bubba and Gayle Nolan. I have a photo of my Mom driving Wahlborg for the Mothers Day Race at Gulf Freeway track. She finished second to Jeff Lynn's Mom who put a bumper to her in turn 4 and almost spun her out. That was funny.

 

Those were some fun days and the competition grew stronger before the popularity of Quarter Midgets lost to Go Karts. I think one reason was due to the level of speed and cheating that was taking place just to keep winning.

 

Many fell out of the sport that had become "Too Big Time" racing for little kids and daddy's alike.

Edited by Midget 85

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Sorry guys, I'm old and forgetful! I can't remember Pam Miller, but do remember Mr. Jordan. (Jo-Jo was what, 3 or 4 yrs old?) Daddy kept in contact with him for years. Don't know what happened to him or Jo-Jo.

 

I remember Uncle Bert and the "fixed" races. Many years ago I talked to Jeff Lynn. He owned Lynn's Sailboats on Gulf Fwy. He said that the TV station had all those races on microfilm. (I thought it was channel 11.)

 

Do you remember racing at Galveston Airport and taking helicopter rides after the races? After the pilot pointed out the sharks in the water, I wouldn't put a toe in the water. That was way before "JAWS"!

 

Saw that Randy was found and is in the Spring area. I live in New Caney area. Midget 85 and qwj78025, I can't figure out who you are. I see your username but not your name. Can you help me out?

 

Sandra

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helicopter rides? They actually had helicopters in that day and time????? I do remember going in a plane ride after winning an austrailian pursuit race at galveston. The track was still there a little over a year ago.My mom (Dodie Burton) was returning from a cruise and I picked her up and we went to old track,and drove around it. An old friend had called me that week to tell me that they would be tearing up the property to build a water park the next week, if I wanted one last look to swing by. Those were the good ol' days. My dad (Don) worked with your dad at the cadillac dealership in the 60's. I think your dad actually rode my go-cart at the dealership and crashed it into a pole.Or at least thats the story I was told......Helicopters???????Just kidding...Denny Burton....#5

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Midget 85    0

OK Denny,

 

You've got me stirred up now! I spoke with Freddy Taylor the other day and we have decided to start a ledger and try to get as many Quarter Midget drivers together as possible. There are several of us on here now so let's get started before it's too late. Be sure to contact Larry Schild for us and anyone else you know to get us speeded up for the ledger.

 

Anyone who can locate Coggie and or Debbie Pearce would be awesome too. Last I heard, Coggie had become a Medical Doctor. There was a picture of Coggie in his 1957 Wahlborg Midget hanging in the 59 Diner Restuarant on the Katy Freeway near beltway 8.

 

Anyone out there that was a Quarter Midget Driver in and around the Houston area can email us at the following address. Contact myself and give us the following:

 

1) Name

 

2) Quarter Midget Car #

 

3) Telephone number where we can reach you.

 

4) City or community you live

 

5) Any other contacts of fellow drivers you know.

 

6) Please Include " Quarter Midget" in your Header mail so we don't mistake it as junk mail.

 

Email to the following: Niftee50eesc@aol.com

 

 

 

Here's a couple of photos from 1958 with Winner Randy Coon and the duel to take the lead between Randy and Larry Schild.

 

Upper Photo

 

Randy is presented the trophy from veteran race driver, Doc Cossey of Playland Park.

 

Bottom Photo

 

It's Larry Schild on the outside in a Wahlborg (King) #99 and Randy Coon on the inside in the Pacemaker #85 coming out of turn 2 at Houston's Gulfgate Quarter Midget Track. The track was located at the intersection of I-45 South and Woodredge / southwest side of the freeway. Later in years, Bill McDavid Olds would be built right over the top of the track. Another track gone down!

 

Larry went wide, Randy dove to the inside for a dual to the finish..

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Edited by Midget 85

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Midget 85    0

Sandra,

 

Don't remember helicoptors but, I do recall free plane rides for the winners of the feature races and such around Galveston.

 

Are you sure you rode a helicopter and holding out on us with something you knew about and didn't share?

 

Guess us guys missed that one...

Edited by Midget 85

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Yes, it was a helicopter ride! I remember the glass bubble coming almost under our feet. There were no doors on it and I was amazed that it wasn't at all windy inside. There was another driver with me but I don't remember who it was. Can't believe that it has been almost 50 years since we raced all over Texas. Nationals in Tulsa with the slaughter house behind the track. When the wind was from that direction the smell was awful.

What else stands out in your memories?

Sandra

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Just talked to Jeff Lynn. Told him about this forum and that we were trying to find everyone. He sounded busy but he said he thought it was a great idea. He went to Milby with Dempey. Dempey was killed in a hiking accident in the hill country either just before graduation or right after. I will e-mail Randy with his phone # and address.

Sandra

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gwj78025    0

Sandra, another girl that we raced with was Kay McConn.

 

I believe she was from Pasadena. The 3 from Pasadena was Daryle Hammonds,Ralph Hammonds and myself, Gerald Johnson.

 

My Dad use to race at Playland Park in a blue and gold #68 coupe. My first race was at Allendale Shopping Center in Pasadena.My Dad bought my first midget from Dick White who raced at Playland Park also.

 

The first heat race I ran in I won. I've seen Larry Schild and Denny Burton at San Antonio Speedway when it was open. I also got to spend time with Larry's Dad, Charlie Schild several years ago.

 

I'll never forget the good times racing the midgets and getting to travel to the different tracks in Pasadena,Houston and Galveston.

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Midget 85    0

Below is my first Quarter Midget that was built by my Dad in 1956. The car was originally metallic blue with the yellow #7 and was driven each week in Dallas, TX at the Devil's Bowl Quarter Midget track. See original picture further up on this thread.

 

Here it is several years later in 1959 at Lolly Pop Speedway in Pasadena at the Allendale Shopping Center.

 

After a small promotional showing of Midget 85 at Mohr Buick Dealership, we later headed to the speedway where I was asked to drive the old midget I used to own by MJ Burton. The car had been repainted again with MJ's Car Lot as sponsorship on the side.

 

I quickly slid into the old racer, buckled up and took a Heat Race that night.

 

Ironically, it was the only time I won a race in this car.

 

The car was 4 years old and had been through three paint jobs in it's life time. Started out as #7 to #56 to #58.

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Edited by Midget 85

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Midget 85    0

Here's a shot of the 1958 Gulf Coast National Meet at the Gulf Freeway Track. The pole setter was from Lake Charles, Louisiana visiting Houston. Can you name any of the drivers?

 

INSIDE ROW: FRONT TO REAR..

 

Charles, ( last name unknown) Lake Charles, Louisiana

Doug McBride........................ San Antonio, Texas

Steve Catlin ......................... Houston, Texas

Mike Rezzoffi......................... Houston, Texas

 

OUTSIDE ROW: FRONT TO REAR

 

Randy Coon...........................Houston, Texas

Kay McConn ?........................Houston, Texas

Jr. Wingo ..............................Houston, Texas

Ralph Middleton?...................Houston, Texas

 

 

The midget ( last Photo )below was driven by Doug McBride of San Antonio and was actually his first midget. Doug's midget is actually the first midget I recall seeing with shoulder harness belts in those days. All other midgets came standard with lap belts but no shoulder harnesses.

 

Here, it has been repainted Maroon approximately a year later than the picture above it where you will see Doug in the same midget with a different paint job and is located on the inside lane, second row with his Dad standing next to him with the white cap and his foot on the left rear wheel.

 

Further down this thread you will see Doug kneeling by his #500 Pacemaker Quarter Midget in 1960.

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Edited by Midget 85

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Midget 85    0

Denny Burton driving and winning a race at LollyPop Speedway 1958.

 

The car is a Walhborg Quarter Midget #9 painted light metallic blue and white.

 

Dig that stripe on the uniform just like the big kids wore..

 

Here you go Denny!

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Edited by Midget 85

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How do you remember all this info? Did you write it on the back of the pictures? I just wish I had my old pictures. As far as the line up of all the cars, I recognize Randy(only because of previous pics). I don't know any of those strange kids. I remember an exhibition race at Dickinson drag strip when Ralph was a novice driver. He lost control on a turn and went over the front of my brand new Moss Midget that was pinstriped by Milburn. I don't think I talked to Ralph for over a month even though he apologized every time he saw me. Ya'll know how us girls were about our cars.

Talked to Jr. Wingo last week. I thought he would be on this forum by now. He lives in Sugarland. If you want to contact him Google JC Wingo. Does anyone know if Coggie practiced medicine in Texas? I've had access to Texas Physicians rosters back to 1999 and can't find a Cosmo Pierce or Pearce.

Sandra

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Midget 85    0

Sandra,

 

Not sure if Coggie practiced in Texas. His first name would have been David although his nick name was "Coggie" Pearce.

 

I am working on newsletter for Quarter Midget drivers that we have so far. I will send them out soon and let's see if we can gather more info. We need names and telephone #s along with email addresses.

 

#85

Edited by Midget 85

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Midget 85    0

This next picture is Coggie's old quarter midget #7 after he sold it to Roger "Paul" Rogers sitting in the car here. Note the masking tape added in front of the #7 to make it #17 now since Coggie kept his old number. This photo was taken right after Coggie sold his old midget, and purchased his new Pacemaker #7. His sister Debbie would drive the Metallic Red Pacemaker #7-2

 

post-8338-1238383625.jpg

 

Also note Sandra, you can see a little bit of your Red and White Moss Midget #10 directly behind Roger. If you look closely, you can also see the "pinstripping" you were refering too on this thread.

 

The gentleman bending over is either looking or working on the only front engine Quarter Midget that raced with us in those days. It was built along the same lines of the Micro Midgets which had motorcycle engines in front. Don't remember the driver of that car and don't recall it ever winning a race. However I was leaving Quarter Midget racing after 1960 or soon there after.

 

Too bad you lost your pictures.

 

The photo just below is one of the Hammond Brothers in the #69 Racecraft Midget. If I recall correctly it is Darrel Hammond winning the honors at the Pasadena Race Track.

 

post-8338-1238383640.jpg

 

 

 

#85

Edited by Midget 85

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Midget 85    0

Another interesting photo of MJ Burton and Charlie Schild as MJ watches Charlie looking at the bottom of Larry Schilds Quarter Midget making sure all the oil has drained out of the engine before adding new oil.

 

The next photo is Larry Robinson ( sitting in his quarter midget ) talking to Larry Schild about the upcoming feature race.

 

Third picture reveals several local San Antonio Drivers and cars in the pit area. Look at those Continental engines in the rear of the cars. How quickly time slips away and the little engines are almost extinct now..

 

Forth shot is another scene of the pit area. The two cars to the far right are Pacemakers #2 and #14 in which #14 would be the winner of the feature race in the B' Modifieds. The next car is a Kurtis Kraft and the car next to that #7 is a Wahlborg midget all from SanAntonio. In the far background is Larry Robinsons car.

 

Quarter midget racing was sanctioned just like any other racing leagues which included seat belts, roll bars, and engine classifications including Box Stock, Modified Stock, B Modified, A Modified, and AA Alcohol Fuel Modified. The double A Modifieds were interesting to watch at night with the blue flame trail blowing out the exhaust of these little midgets that could actually smoke the slicks on the right rear! Usually kids 12 and older drove the AA monster bombs before graduating to 1/2 Midgets. Another legacy that never really took off in the Houston area..1/2 Midgets.

 

These photos were taken in San Antonio, TX at The Southwest Quarter Midget Nationals promotion. The year was October, 1960

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Edited by Midget 85

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Midget 85    0

Here's a few pictures of Doug McBride from San Antonio and myself at the Pasadena Race Track in June, 1960

 

Doug and I both drove Pacemaker Midgets in those innocent days of Quarter Midget Racing!

 

Bubs in the pits, serious contenders on the track.

 

Look closely on the track and you will see Denny Burton in his Red & White Daytona Viper #5 making warm up laps in the background.

 

Soon after these photos, Quarter Midget racing lasted only briefly in the Houston area. Go-Karts were fast emerging as the new sport in small fry racing.

 

These Classic Quarter Midgets are worth money today as well as the collector status of owning or finding one. Unfortunately many have gone by the wayside, those that have one should know their value!

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Edited by Midget 85

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NickHolt    0

This stuff is incredible! What a legacy we are handing down to the racers yet to come!

 

Nick

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Midget 85    0

Bottom photo of Danny Gage driving the #99 King Wahlborg Midget and taking a win at the Pasadena Quarter Midget Track in 1960.

 

The time era is a giveaway. Notice the telephone number painted on the side of the midget with the letter prefix CA8-4524, which would now be 228-4524, also note no area codes!

 

 

 

The picture directly below is Larry Schild driving and winning a race at the Pasadena Race Track near the Rodeo Grounds. His car was the "Flying 1" in tribute to his Dad Charlie Schild who drove the modifieds at Playland Park and Meyer Speedway with the same number.

 

Larry is driving a Daytona Viper Quarter Midget and was a serious contender. Later, Larry would enter into the Bronco Stock Car Division at Meyer Speedway in 1967.

 

Summer 1960 photo

 

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Edited by Midget 85

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