Quarter Midget Racing Celebrates 50 Years in Tulsa

Assistant Editor

RACE WINNER: First place drivers are given the checked race flag as a sign of their win. Drivers work their way up from being a novice driver by competing in regional and national races to win points.

ELIZ HOLLIS for GTR Newspapers

The words “quarter midget” probably don’t evoke images of racetracks and fast cars, but for a small group of families in Tulsa, quarter midget racing is life.

A quarter midget is a full scale, fully adjustable racecar for children ages 5 to 15. There are numerous classes based on age and driving experience. Handlers are in charge of tire compounds, air pressure, spring rates, roll centers – everything the regular cars have. The vehicles look similar to a go-kart, but each car sports a “roll cage” which protects the driver from injury in accidents. Other safety equipment includes fireproof suits, helmets, neck braces and arm restraints.

“It’s a family sport,” says Charles Helt, whose grandchildren Austin and Sydney Helt participate in the sport. “Our family travels around – Austin races, his dad is his handler and I’m the proud grandpa taking pictures.”

Austin is one of Tulsa’s best racers, constantly winning races and taking top honors in his competitive categories.

Participants begin in a restrictor plate novice class, either junior or senior, and depending on their progress, move up to the faster classes. Races include time trials, heat races, trophy dashes and feature races, all followed by a trophy presentation.

The national organization consists of ten regions. Tulsa is in Region Six with Topeka, Kan., Austin, Texas and San Antonio, Texas. National and regional events are held every year, with some of national events receiving an excess of six hundred entries.

Weekly regional races are on Sunday afternoons in the spring and fall and on Saturday evenings during the heat of the summer. This past year, the Tulsa club had approximately 25 cars participating in every race event.

Tulsa’s claim to fame in the quarter midget racing world is the “fastest track.” This year marks the 50th anniversary of quarter midget racing in Tulsa. Photos of the city’s humble beginnings in the sport can be viewed on the Tulsa Quarter Midget Web site, www.tulsaquartermidgets.com, by clicking on the “50th Anniversary” tab.

Updated 12-17-2007

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