MIDGET RACING IN NEW YORK
Since the Madison Square Garden Corporation began promoting midget racing last year, the fastest “doodle bugs,” as the midgets are called, have been flocking to New York from all
parts of the country. The races are held every Wednesday evening at the Garden Bowl. Thirty thousand seats have been removed from the famous boxing arena to make way for a one-fifth mile asphalt -track forty feet wide. The turns are slightly banked and are fifty-six feet at the widest part.
There are two barriers, a crash-rail twenty feet from the track and a crashwall a few feet behind it The crash-wall is held together by almost one mile of one-inch steel cable. The track is brilliantly lighted by forty-four light poles, each carrying two 1,000 watt lamps.
A meet is composed of nine events, the first one being the time trials. The second event is the first elimination heat which brings together the eight fastest cars in the time trials. This is followed by the second elimination heat comprised of the ninth, tenth, and eleventh fastest cars and the five non-winners of the first heat. The third heat includes the thirteenth to fifteenth cars in the time trials and the non-winners of the two preceding heats. Each of the heats is of eight laps.
The fifth event is a handicap race for the eight fastest cars of the time trials in reverse order. This is followed by the second handicap for the ninth to fifteenth fastest cars in the time trials. Next is the consolation race for the nonwinners of the first six events and those not among the first fifteen in the time trials. Before the main event there is a special invitation race for the three fastest cars on the track. This takes the place of the miss-and-out race which was recently discontinued after being found too dangerous. In this race ten cars in single file would start. They were given two laps in which to better their positions after which the last car to cross the finish line would be flagged out. The flagging out procedure would continue until only four cars remained and these would continue for two laps more. However, there were so many serious accidents in this race that it won the displeasure of both the spectators and the drivers and was therefore eliminated. The final event is a thirty-lap affair, the field limited to the ten fastest cars of the evening. The two outstanding cars in the Garden Bowl competition are the Dreyer and the Offenhauser Special. The Dreyer midget
is powered with a four-cylinder, twocycle, 984 c.c. F,vinrude or Elto outboard motor. They develop up to 80 h.p. at 7,500 r.p.m., and have a straight away speed of 115 to 120 m.p.h. The motor is installed vertically with a bevel gear fitted to the end of the shaft. Two bevel gears are driven from this, one working the water pump, the other connected to the gearbox. The gearbox ratio is 2:1, the gears being of twelve and twenty-four teeth. In the rear axle there is a thirteen tooth pinion gear and a forty tooth ring gear giving a ratio of 3.07:1 or a total of 6.14:1, when 12.400 tyres are used on the rear wheels. This combination has been found best when racing on a one-fifth mile asphalt or one-quarter mile dirt track. On one-fifth mile dirt tracks an eleven tooth pinion gear is used giving a ratio of 7.26:1. The frames are specially built to stand rough treatment, although axles are
usually cut down model T Ford. The springs are transverse and are equipped with Hartford shock-absorbers. To assist cooling some drivers attach a small wire basket to the stone guard in which they carry a block of dry ice. The best time made by a Dreyer at the Bowl for one lap was 14.80 seconds. The Offenhauser Special is built by Fred Offenhauser, who for twenty-three
years was superintendent for Harry Miller until he took the Miller plant over two. years ago. There are at present twelve Offenhausers competing in the U.S.A., two of which are at the Bowl.
The motor has four cylinders of 97 cubic inches displacement, dual overhead camshaft with two valves per cylinder., The bore is 2 31-32, stroke 2 1-2 inches.’ The crankshaft is hollow drilled with three main bearings. It is fully counterbalanced, with tubular connecting rods.’ The sump is dry. The motor is water cooled and produces 90 h.p. at 6,500 r.p.m.
Unlike the Dreyer which has no clutch, the Offenhauser has a conventional’. drive with a three-speed transmission and reverse. The best time made at the Bowl’ in this car was also 14.80 seconds although. on straight runs speeds in excess of 135 m.p.h. have been made. The Offenhauser. weighs slightly over 1,000 pounds and costs about $3,500. The Dreyer weighs only 650 pounds and may be purchased for $800. Both cars handle very well and are the most consistent winners on midget tracks in the U.S.A. which now number 300.
In twenty-four meets at the Garden Bowl, $1,500 worth of tyres have been • consumed, each car using from six to, eight covers per meet. Twenty-five laps is the life of the average tyre.