Jake is currently racing .25 Midget (pronounced “Quarter Midget”) cars which are 25% the size of a larger Midget Car. Quarter Midget cars typically race at speeds up to 45mph and include ages 5-16. Tracks are 1/20th of a mile long and are constructed out of asphalt, concrete, or dirt. In most cases the track will be banked, however some Quarter Midget events will include races on flat asphalt and concrete. The various track types keep the races interesting and help the young drivers learn about their vehicle performance and race strategies from track to track.
Jake is shown below with his Light Word Formula car – named after the engine placed within the rear of the vehicle. A standard Quarter Midget vehicle will feature top roll bars and front and side impact bars for maximum driver protection. Just above the Phoenix logo on the side of the car is a triangular attachment which also serves as further safety for the driver’s head.
The overall frame and structure of the vehicle does not change between classes and typically the only difference on the outside will be the number of exhaust pipes. Other parts, such as body panels, shocks, tie rods, etc. are all separate and can be replaced in the pits during cautions. Due to the relatively short 1/20th mile tracks, the vehicles are turning during a majority of the race, forcing specialized tire sizes for the vehicles. Shown above are the larger tires on the outside of the vehicle. Below, the smaller inside tires can be seen along side the outside tires.
As with any sport, it’s important to keep the playing field fair. Shown below are the scales – top finishing vehicles of any given race are required to weigh in and meet certain tolerances.
Located just behind the driver’s head, it is not uncommon to see a digital gauge which serves as a combination tachometer and data recorder to log information such as lap time, temperature, and driving performance such acceleration and braking. Shown below, a race official is applying sealer to certain parts of the engine to ensure no changes are made. Winning vehicles are also required to stay for inspection and possible break-down post race in a style very similar to higher level leagues including NASCAR.
Between races, cars are repaired and readied for the next event. Drivers will commonly race between one and four classes of cars at any given event. Quarter Midget racing has been, and continues to be, a very family oriented sport. It is not uncommon to see family and friends doing their part to help ready a car for the next big event. Below, a common practice of tire scraping can be seen at most trailers and is necessary to remove debris from a still usable tire.
The final component to Quarter Midget racing is driver safety. In the picture below, Jake is wearing standard safety equipment including fireproof racing suit, helmet with visor, safety gloves, neck restraint, and seatbelts/harnesses.
Quarter Midget Drivers will progress to Midget vehicles, Sprint Cars, and then onto full size Stock and Indy Cars such as those seen in NASCAR.