What is Quarter Midget racing?
A Quarter Midget car is a scaled-down version of an actual midget racer, approximately 1/4 scale. The cars are built around a tubular frame and are fully suspended with springs or torsion bars and shocks. The bodies are fiberglass, aluminum or steel, painted to the drivers preference. Surrounding the driver is a chrome-moly roll cage, nerf bars and bumpers. Seatbelts and shoulder harnesses, are also mandatory because safety is a prime consideration in this sport.
The engines are single cylinder and are manufactured by Honda, Continental, Briggs & Stratton, and Deco. In the motors stock configuration they produce between 2.5 & 4 horse power. Modifications in the upper classes allow these engines to reach several times the stock horse power. These air-cooled 4-cycle engines are reliable and can produce as much as 10,000 rpm’s in their more highly modified forms.
Engine specifications are set by the national governing board and enforced at each local club race by track officials.
The tracks are 1/20 mile banked ovals comprised of dirt, concrete, or asphalt surfaces. Silver City’s is asphalt.
The cars are driven in competitive races by kids between the ages of Five – Sixteen and are divided into 14 classes and divisions: Junior Novice, Senior Novice, Junior Honda, Senior Honda, Heavy Honda, Junior Super-stock, Senior Super-stock, Heavy Super-stock, Light Mod, Heavy Mod, Light B, Heavy B, Light A, and Heavy A.
Additionally 1/4 Midget drivers may graduate to Junior 1/2 Midgets. Junior 1/2 midget drivers may be ages 12-17.
The whole family is invited to get involved with dad as crew-chief and head-mechanic, mom working in the Tower scoring races, and big brothers and sisters working in the snack bar. Lots of little brothers and sisters can be found playing all day in the racecar trailers and motor homes. It is a great spectator sport since admission is free and we have a fantastic snack bar track side with reasonable prices.
Is it Safe for Children?
Since its inception, the sport of Quarter Midget Racing has enjoyed the finest safety record of all organized children’s sports. This safety record did not just happen. Safety starts with car inspections and the driver’s must wear proper racing equipment like full face helmets, racing suits, gloves, arm restraints and neck collars. Corner men are present during each race to assist in case of an accident, and probably most important, safe driving habits are instilled in the children from their very first time on the track in Novice Training.
This sport has fewer injuries than little-league football. The Quarter Midget Association is constantly reviewing and evaluating safety rules to ensure that quarter midget racing remains a safe competitive sport.
What benefit is there for the Child?
•It is a family sport.
•Quarter Midget racing is not a “drop off your kid” kind of sport, but an involved family sport. Few other sports permit all members of the family to participate. The kids do the driving while other family members serve as pit crews, chief mechanics, scorers, timekeepers, and operators of concession stand or novelty booths.
•It teaches sportsmanship.
A genuine respect for the rights of other drivers seems to be a natural development.
•It develops coordination, a sense of timing and the ability to plan ahead.
•It teaches self reliance. Once the green flag is dropped, the kids are on their own.
•It is competitive. They learn to play hard but that rules must be observed. Rule infractions will result in disqualification.
•It teaches safe driving and develops driving skill. Very few people ever develop the skill that these children develop. We believe this level of skill will be invaluable as adult drivers where they will have the instinct developed to do the right thing in the unforeseen situations we all encounter.
•It develops a sense of responsibility. Alertness and concern for the safety of others is acquired.
•It gives the drivers a well earned right to a sense of pride of accomplishment. They stand just a little taller and are a little more confident after becoming a Quarter Midget Driver.
Many people after seeing their first race feel that they are seeing a group of children far above average in ability. Most of us in the sport remember when we had the same impression. True, some drivers develop faster than others but almost all become skilled, competitive, alert and safe drivers. It is almost 100% certain that your child will too.
How Fast do the Cars Go?
Quarter Midget tracks are designed specifically for 1/4 midgets and must conform to QMA specs of approximately 1/20 mile. The average speed for a 6.00 sec lap is 30 mph. The faster “AA”s can hit speeds up to 50 mph at the end of the straightaway.
What Does Quarter Midget Racing Cost?
Many older cars in good condition are available for $1000-$1500, some including motors. Newer, more competitive used cars are available from $1500 – $3000. New cars can be purchased starting at $3000 for a kit and up to $4500 with a Honda motor.
The motors used are Continental/Deco, Briggs & Stratton and Honda. The Honda motor has recently been added and is considered the most economical entry level for competition. The cost for this motor is around $400 and it must remain STOCK. This makes for a very competitive class with winning being centered more on the car and driver instead of spending a lot of money on a motor.
The cost of membership is $100.00 in QMA plus the cost of joining your local club. The QMA membership includes handler and driver insurance. Pit fees are charged for entering your car in the race program and these range from $10.00 to $50.00 depending on the type of race be it Club, Regional or National.
How much Maintenance is Required?
It is not unusual for Novice or Stock class engines to operate for well over a year without need of major service. When required, you can overhaul your own motor inexpensively, usually just replacing rings, bearing inserts and putting in new oil. The higher performance classes – MOD, “B” and “AA” do require more service to stay competitive and then you are always striving to get more out of these motors to put you up front. Working with these motors to make them fast is educational, fun and part of racing.
What Else will I Need Besides a Car?
To start with, you will need a way to transport your race car to the track. Some people use a station wagon, others put it in the bed of a pick-up and many racers have trailers ranging from small converted utility trailers to 40 ft. gooseneck trailers. There even was one ingenious dad who put the race car in the bay of the bus he had converted to a motor home. It depends on how serious you are and your financial capabilities. If you are looking for a trailer ask the club members or check the classified, they usually know where to find them.
You will also need to purchase all of the necessary safety gear for your driver. This includes a driving suit or driving jacket, gloves, arm restraints, full face helmet, and neck collar. The current rule book has the specifications for each piece of equipment.
Where do Children Learn to Drive?
Upon joining the local club, all new drivers, regardless of age must go through our club’s Novice Training School. These classes are usually held once a week or more often if necessary and teach the driver the flags, racing procedure, how to line up for a race, how to pass, the best driving pattern for the track and all of the rules regarding possible disqualification for not obeying the racing rules. The track is open to all members during the week for practice. Older club members are always available to help the newer members.
How much Practice is required to compete?
Usually by the completion of Driver Training, enough sessions will have been held to bring most drivers to where they can compete. The Novice Trainer will determine if your driver is ready to race. Once they do start racing they may not win right away but sooner or later your driver will take the checkered flag.
What do they receive for Winning?
The driver gets a trophy for winning a race. In Special races such as regional and national events, trophies are awarded down to 5th place. At tracks running a points series, the drivers will accumulate points and get a special year end award (like a jacket). This could be a point series at one track or at several tracks (in which case it is called a Monza Series). At some special races, the drivers may be awarded Savings Bonds.