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USAC Midget Race at Thunder Hill


tqj3

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Mr Hellmund has done it once again.

 

Congrats, my friend, on putting this deal together.

 

USAC could not have found a better person to deal with.

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You know I like to be "visual" with my posts when ever I can, so here ya go, old and new. The first is a 1938 model that belongs to Johnny Doyle of San Antonio.

 

Buddy, Did I ever tell you that, besides Doyle's Midget, that there are at least 4 other restored early midgets in San Antonio, and they all belong to the same guy?

I have met him before, a real nice guy who also is a former Indy mechanic. I am going to make a couple contacts with him and Tavo to see if there is any interest in displaying any of them at the Kyle show. I think it would be a neat display if it happens.

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That would be really cool Tom.

 

Here's a little tidbit of information. Most people around here don't realize it, but there is a great but almost forgotten heritage of midget racing around here. There was actually a AAA (USAC's forerunner) circuit for midget racing centered on Houston and San Antonio in the late 1940's.

 

Lloyd Ruby of Wichita Falls moved to Houston for a short time to run the circuit in about 1948, before he moved on to the national circuit. When asked about his time on that circuit several years later, he said "A driver could make good money running that circuit. When I ran it my share of the weekly purse averaged $1500.00." Heck, that would be great money in today's dollars. Imagine it in 1948 dollars!

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x5GrableAnthny1934.jpg

 

“Houston Hell Driver”, was, of course, from Houston, TX but resided for a time at Arkansas City, KS in the early 1930s. He brought a Chrysler powered big car with him from Texas that was owned by W. J. Mihovil of Houston, TX.

 

Cotton’s first known appearance at Winfield was on August 1, 1931 but even though he was sixth fastest in time trials, he did not qualify for the feature that day. He returned to Winfield with a blue #5 big car on July 28, 1934 and set third quick time in time trials but a tangle with Ben Musick in the fast heat regulated Cotton to the consolation race, which he won. He raced at Winfield again on July 27, 1935 and managed to time in fourth fastest.

 

The following year, Cotton was campaigned a D. O. Hal car owned by Charlie Hogwood of Dallas, TX and was named in Who’s Who in Automobile Racing that same year.

 

When Cotton retired from driving, he returned to Houston, TX where he became the flagman at Playland Park Speedway. In 1950, he appeared as himself, the flagman in the MGM movie To Please a Lady which starred Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck.

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OSCAR LLOYD COLEMAN (1905-1938) of Dallas, Texas was two-time defending Southwest Racing Association champion when he set quick time in time trials at Winfield in his family owned dual overhead cam Cragar Ford on July 28, 1934. He was not able to capitalize on his fast pace though as damage from a crash with Cotton Grable in the fast heat race put Oscar out of competition for the remainder of the program. Oscar was named in Who’s Who in Automobile Racing in 1936. He was fatally injured in an accident while racing a midget at Sportsman Park Raceway in Dallas, Texas in 1938 and is buried in Restland Cemetery in Dallas, Texas.

 

xOscarColeman.jpg

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Cental Texas and Texas late models got a big boost into national awareness when the two Big Shots were run at Thunder Hill, and I was just thinking about how big a bounce all of Central Texas short track racing will get with two national events of the caliber of the NASCAR Grand National and USAC Midget series races happening within a month of each other.

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