NEWS FROM THE U.S.A.
Miller Building Cars.
HARRY MILLER, famous builder of race cars in the States, is busy constructing five machines in Detroit, Michigan, according to reports in a California motor magazine. These machines, the periodical states, will be raced in European events during the summer, and will probably be handled by picked American cracks. Ernie Weil, once associated with Miller on the West Coast, has joined the master builder in Detroit to aid in building the new machines. Details of these five jobs are lacking.
Petillo Wins at Ascot.
Kelly Petillo, Italian-American ace, raced his Miller Special to victory in the 250-lap race over the Ascot 5/8’s mile track late in January. Mays, Petillo and Gordon furnished the huge crowd with an afternoon of thrills by fighting through many laps only a few yards apart, but Gordon was forced from the race with mechanical trouble, and Petillo was able to distance Mays in the latter stages of the race.
Carl Ryder was severely injured on 149th lap when his machine burst a tyre on a curve, smashed into the outside railings, and turned end over end before coming to rest, a twisted mass of steel. Ryder sustained a broken leg and numerous bruises and abrasions. He is reported improving at this writing.
Petillo also captured the main event of 100 laps the week before the 200-lap race, with Mays second, and Al Gordon third.
Midget Racing Booming.
The midget motor racing sport is still enjoying a tremendous rise in popularity in the States. The sport, however, is not menacing the large cars, contrary to reports. In New York two large buildings are being used for indoor midget events, and these races are held twice weekly. Large crowds attend the events, and such famous stars as B. Balus, Sig Hughdahl, Bill Holmes, ” Pop” Venth, and others, are BY Our American Correspondent T. MERIWETHERSMITH
participating. Other indoor tracks, notably at St. Louis, are attracting huge crowds. Indoor midget events are being held in Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee and New York.
The 1935 midget season in California will be opened on February 21st at the Gilmore Stadium in Los Angeles, considered the most beautiful midget layout in the nation, and the fastest. Fred Offenhauser, formerly chief mechanician with Harry Miller, has designed the most successful of the midget motors. It is known as the “mighty midget,” and has a piston displacement of slightly over 90 cubic inches, and so is not a midget in size. The motor is similar to the Miller power plants. The tiny cars are capable of over 125 miles per hour.
Safety Helmets Compulsory.
English type crash helmets must be worn by all drivers after April 1st in all sanctioned events, according to a recent bulletin from the A.A.Acontest board.
A.A.A. Creates Racing Classes.
Under a new regulation of the A.A.A. all drivers racing under their sponsorship in 1935 will be grouped into three classes. Class A drivers will be allowed to compete only in races of championship variety, or on tracks of the better class, such as Langhorne, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Ascot, etc. The Class B drivers are allowed on larger tracks, but only in competition with Class B men, and on the half-mile ovals. The Class C drivers are the midget drivers, who must have a year of midget experience before graduating to the Class B competition. Any Class B man can graduate to the Class A competition when his experience and skill has been deemed sufficient.
Doc Mackenzie, the famous Pennsylvania driver, will be seen at Indianapolis in a new front-wheel drive car, according to reports from the West Coast. This car will cost $30.000 and is being constructed by Fred Offenhauser. It is backed by Gil Pirrung, the young St. Louis sportsman. Offenhauser is also building a one-man job for the Eastern dirt track campaign for the Pirrung stable.
Rex Mays, Pacific Coast champion, will drive a rear-drive Miller for Earl Haskell in the 500. It is the car in which Lester Spangler lost his life in 1933.
Bill Cummings will have a new frontdrive Boyle Special for the 500 and the Boyle team will boast four fine machines for the race. Harry Hartz will enter his front-drive, but is reported ready to try for records up to 50 miles at Dry Lake Muroc before taking the machine to Indianapolis. Hartz may drive in the 500 himself, it is reported. It is rumoured the two oil-burning racers now seeking diesel records at Daytona Beach will be entered at Indianapolis by their sponsors, Dave Evans and Clessie Cummins.
The 1935 A.A.A. Championship season looms as one of the best in the last five years. Events are planned at the following one-mile dirt tracks, each 100 miles : Langhorne, Milwaukee, Springfield, Detroit, Oakland, Syracuse, Rockingham, and one or two others. Mines Field will hold a 200-mile race in November, and there is still talk of a 600-mile road race at Chicago during the summer months.
In addition to the above listed events, Ralph Hankinson, veteran race promoter, has announced that he will run several Championship races during the year on the large dirt tracks. His first is the Langhorne event scheduled for April.
A 500-mile race for unlimited stock cars may be held at Mines Field before the drivers leave for the East in April, according to reports from the West Coast.
Letters from Readers, February 1968
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