ABOUT QUARTER MIDGET RACING................
Quarter midget racing is a family oriented sport for children ages 5 to 16. Children race in quarter midget cars that are a scaled down version of an actual midget race car on oval tracks that are approximately 1/20th of a mile. The sport focuses on family participation, safety, driving skills, sportsmanship and competitive fun.
The cars are built around a tubular frame and are fully suspended with springs, shocks and torsion bars. The bodies are fiberglass and aluminum and can painted to the driver's preference. Surrounding the driver is a full chrome molly roll cage and nerf bars. Other safety features include multi-point seatbelts, fire protective clothing and full face helmets. The engines are single cylinder manufactured by Honda. Modifications to the engines in upper classes allow the engines to reach several times the stock horsepower. The 4 cycle engines are reliable and can produce as much as 10,000 RPM's in their more highly modified forms.
The cars, rules and safety procedures are designed specifically for quarter midget racing and are dictated by the Quarter Midgets of America (QMA) -www.quartermidgets.org. QMA constantly reviews and evaluates safety rules to ensure that quarter midget racing remains a safe and competitive sport. This attention to safety has resulted in a sport with fewer injuries than little league football.
Quarter Midget Racing is not a "drop off your kid" sport, but an involved family sport. The kids do the driving while other family members serve as pit crews, chief mechanic, scorers, timekeepers and operators of concession stands.
During 1963, Bill & Betty Selby along with their 2 sons, Mike and Steve, moved from California to Huntsville. They brought with them 2 quarter midget race cars. Shortly after they were settled into their new home they began exhibition races on an abanonded go-kart track at the corner of Bob Wallace and the Parkway (Firestone Tire Store is there now). The members put on races at the old Parkway City Mall parking lot and a karting track on Vermont Road. They soon grew to about 6 families and 6 to 8 quarter midgets. They began looking for a place to build a quarter midget track. With the help of the Huntsville Jaycee's and the Madison County Commission, they were given permission to build a race track at the east end of the Madison County Coliseum (now Sam's Club) on University Drive. The club had their opening race in May 1964. The club steadily grew in numbers. The first Turkey Gobbler was held in November of 1969. A real live turkey was given away as the grand prize.
HQMA lost that track in September 2002 after 38 years.
HQMA submitted a bid to host the annual quarter midget Grand National Championship Race for 1967 and won the bid. The club also hosted the 1972, 1976, 1985 and 1987 Grands. At that time only one Grand was held for the entire United States. Also, you had to qualify to be able to attend the Grands. You had to attend and accure points in QMA sanctioned races to be able to go the States Races, which you must run to go to the Grands. Some history on the Grands - Nascar sued QMA in the early 1980's for using the name "Grand National Races". Today QMA used either the Grands or the Nationals name but cannot use "Grand National" together. In 1982, QMA went to an Eastern, Western and Dirt Grand format that will still have today. Bobby & Terry Labonte both raced at Grands held at HQMA in 1967 and 1972. Bobby was voted the smallest driver ever in the 1967 Grands.
In 1997 at the Turkey Gobbler, the HQMA track was renamed Bill Hawse Speedway. Most people ask who was Bill Hawse. Bill joined HQMA in October 1965 and worked in all the offices at HQMA. In 1971 he was elected Vice President of QMA. During the 1971 Grands the President of QMA was impeached for embezzelment and Bill took over as President of QMA. He held that position through 1988 (18 years). He helped manage and keep the sport going so that we can enjoy it today. In 1991, Bill was given a lifetime membership and the track was named for him at the Turkey Gobbler race - just 3 months before his death at the age of 84.
We have members today that raced when they were young. Many people don't know that these people grew up racing quarter midgets and now they have kids that race. This is a family sport. Our 2007 tech man, Mark Spivey, for instance. His family is 3 generations of Spivey's that have raced - Bill, Mark & Hunter. Frank Webb is another who drove and now has a son, Cole, who drives and another son, Greg,who is a retired qm racer. Craig Campbell is a Grand National Champion - he won the 1980 ridged stock at the Waterford Grands. Craig's sons, ALex and Lance, are now driving. Bart Hunt - our own HQMA flagman, raced years ago and Bart's dad, Frank Hunt, was HQMA's first flagman. When you see Bart, make sure to thank him for a wonderful job he does and the time he takes with our kids.
I am sure we have others who haven't been mentioned. Please let someone know so we can recognize them and the significant role they have played in keeping our great sport alive.
HQMA has a rich history in Huntsville and in QMA that we should all be proud of.
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