Vintage three quarter midgets were in the spotlight at the 2012 version of the Boardwalk Hall indoor racing weekend in January thanks to the efforts of promoter Lenny Sammons and TQ devotee Gary Mondschein of Brodheadsville, PA.
A fine field of eleven vintage TQ midgets was planned for display in the spectator area of the hall on Friday night and drivers from the era of Atlantic City indoor racing which featured a full 1/5 mile flat concrete speedway were on hand to sign autographs and renew old acquaintances. Cars present included Jay Young's #5 Sonny Smith Crosley upright, Howard Boyd's #43 Triumph powered roadster restored by Jim Hempfill, Mike Osite's Polaris powered #81, a car which ran both Atlantic City track configurations, Keith Majka, Sr.'s #4 Crosley powered TQ just completed for the Atlantic City show, and Paul Weisel's Fred Brink Crosley #54 upright, which won the ‘World Championship' event at Atlantic City on January 29, 1966 with George Sweeten in the seat for the car's original owner, his dad, Herb Sweeten. The car also won indoors at the Teaneck, NJ Armory on February 15, 1958 with Lou Fray driving.
Former TQ driver and car collector, Wayne Laucius of Mt. Bethel, PA provided the John Fick #11 Triumph powered roadster and the Bill Force owned and driven #26 Floyd Trevis chassis with a Crosley under the hood. Unfortunately, plans to bring Wayne's famous #02 Wif Weherle built, Crosley powered, roadster ran into last minute mechanical problems.
Gary Mondschein was the primary supporter of the effort, providing three cars from his stable of vintage TQs. The #4 Norm Smizer / Jim English Crosley powered roadster, the Tom Demasco #18 Trevis / Crosley, and Bruce Kindberg's Suzuki powered #10x roadster made the trip for a curtain call at Atlantic City.
|Veteran drivers Dick Peterman, Bobby Hamilton, Hank Rogers, Jr. and Jimmy Maguire were among the drivers signing autographs on Friday night.|
Veteran TQ drivers were on hand Friday night, signing autographs prior to the races, greeting many of their fans, and renewing friendships with competitors from thirty, forty, and fifty years ago. Among the drivers present were Jimmy Maguire, who drove Bob Pouleson's #707 roadster to victory in Convention Hall during the Jan. 15, 1966 program, former National TQ Champion and January 21, 1967 Atlantic City winner, Bobby Hamilton, and Bruce Kindberg, who won his Atlantic City indoor feature fourteen years later on January 18, 1981.
In addition, veteran TQ drivers from the 1960s and 1970s Dick Peterman (a 1960 and 1961 winner indoors at Teaneck, NJ), Hank Rogers, Jr., Drew Fornoro, Johnny Coy, Jr., Jim English, Bill Force, Mike Osite, and Paul Weisel also participated.
Ten vintage TQs moved downstairs to the arena floor on Saturday afternoon for an exhibition session and the sounds of Crosley and Triumph engines once again filled the auditorium after being absent for more than thirty years. Drivers and crews also turned back the clock, many more than forty years, to days of roll bars, open face helmets, and Indy dreams. A good time was had by all.
|Bobby Hamilton - ready to go in the Sonny Smith #5. |
|Paul Weisel met his first midget owner, Arnie Thornton, during the Saturday night 'meet and greet' session. Arnie was a partner with Fred Brink in two ARDC midgets in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Later Fred purchased and campaigned the former Herb Sweeten #54 Crosley powered TQ.|
|Veterans Dick Peterman and Jim English were top competitors when Convention Hall boasted a 1/5 mile concrete oval in the 1960s and 1970s.|