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More TNGP Midget Notes – Part III

More TNGP Midget Notes – Part III
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NATIONAL MIDGET DRIVER OF THE YEAR: That is the name of an annual series that awards national points for all midget races in the United States by all midget racing sanctioning organizations. There are about 15 series that conduct midget racing in the USA. A sliding scale point system for victories and lower positions is used based on several factors. They include car count at the event, total purse, and prestige of the event, such as the Tulsa (OK) Chili Bowl, Belleville (KS) Nationals, Indiana's Hut 100 and California's USAC Turkey Night Grand Prix. Those races pay the most points per finishing positions. See the NMDOTY.com website for more detailed data.

Bryan Gapinski originated this comprehensive way to track midget racing success nationally. Bryan, a Wisconsin resident, is a well-known midget racing publicist, announcer and columnist. He has been the Badger Midget Auto Racing Association media director since 1988. He has announced at the Belleville Nationals, Hut 100 and Tulsa Chili Bowl. He also has done television commentary work for Speedvision and Fox Sports.

Bryan has tracked midget racing results via his NMDOTY system every season since he debuted the point system in 1999. In 2001 Bryan added midget chassis and midget engine manufacturers to NMDOTY point keeping. In 2002 he added NMDOTY rookie of the year. In 2007 he added rookie car owner of the year to his point keeping. NMDOTY also started a large cash point fund payout starting in 2007.

During the 2014 season 148 NMDOTY races were counted and 437 drivers scored NMDOTY points. Tops in points in various NMDOTY categories follow:

       Drivers        Pts/Races/Wins        Car Owners                  Pts       

1 Christopher Bell 1631 31   16    1 No. 71 Kunz/CurbAgajanian1553

2 Zach Daum        1314 45     4    2 No. 5d Dan Daum             1312

3 Bryan Clauson    1313 29   10   3 No. 97 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian1291

4 Rico Abreu         1264 31     5   4 No. 63 RKR/Curb-Agajanian 1264

5 Tanner Thorson   1026 33     2   5 No. 67 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian 890

6 Darren Hagen       981 35    6    6 No. 56 56 Inc. (Shane Hmiel) 821

7 Tracy Hines          845 21    2   7 No. 24 Bob Parker                745

8 Andrew Felker       747 40   3   8 No. 91 Brian Thomas             585

9 Tyler Thomas         690 29   1  9 No. 3 RFMS (Don Fike)          521

10 Dave Darland       598 15   2 10 No. 17 RW Team                   509                      

Manufacturers Championships:

   Chassis         Wins            Engines           Wins

 

1 Spike               45           1 Esslinger             52

2 Beast               25           2 Toyota                 26

3 Bullet               23           3 Fontana               16

4 Elite                 11           4 Mopar                  14

5 Drinan                7           5 Stanton                  5

Design 500 Racewear Rookie of the Year:

    Driver                      Points

1 Spencer Bayston         302

2 Jarid Blondel (So. Cal.) 135

3 Gage Walker               105

4 Ty Hulsey                      97

5 Jason McDougal            75

It is interesting to track the results of the NMDOTY point races each year since it started in 1999. We list the various categories and stats year-by-year starting in 1999.

NMDOTY Champion Driver & Points: Jason Leffler/1737 – Kasey Kahne/1531 – Tracy Hines/1287 – Aaron Fike/1433 – Aaron Fike/1288 – Bobby East/1448 – Brad Kuhn/1373 – Brad Kuhn/1466 – Jerry Coons, Jr./1850 – Tracy Hines/1317 – Bryan Clauson/1574 – Clauson/1564 - Clauson/1306 – Coons, Jr./1182 – Christopher Bell for the 2013-14 seasons.

NMDOTY RACES RUN: Starting in 1999 total races run (with dirt/paved tracks in parenthesis) were: 224 (111/113), 213 (110/103), 197 (111/86), 220 ((123/97), 194 (111/83), 194, (111/83) 193 (117/76),

215 (126/89), 224 (?/?), 226 (132/94), 201 (132/94), 188 (112/75), 179 (118/61), 189 (139/47)and 148 in 2014. ... Total number of drivers who raced in NMDOTY midget races starting in 1999: 551, 527, 549, 537, 524, 524, 524, 541, 553, 573, 588, 567, 509, 493 509 and 437 in 2014. Number of NMDOTY tracks and states starting in 1999: 85/25, 63/27, 80/24, 83/27, 72/24, 72/24, 74/22, 76/25, 81/26, 83/28, 82/24, 83/21, 73/21, and 82/23.

NMDOTY ROOKIES OF YEAR with total points- (started in 2002): James Chesson-513, Sean Caisse-296, Brett Anderson-329, Brad Loyet-474, Chase Barber-335, Brad Sweet-459, Nic Faas-403, Alex Bowman-537, Dalton Armstrong-494, Jake Blackhurst-ina, Rico Abreu-ina, Spencer Bayston-302.

MOST NMDOTY FEATURE WINS: 1999 on—Jason Leffler-10, Jay Drake-10, Ray Bull-10, Tracy Hines-8, Rick Moss & Mike Hess-7, Bull-11, Brad Kuhn-10, Kuhn & Jerry Coons, Jr.-12, Coons-14, Brad Loyet-10, Loyet-19, Loyet-13, Kyle Larson & Bryan Clauson-10, Larson & Evan Margeson-7.... MOST NMDOTY RACES RUN: 1999 on—Clay Klepper-44, Aaron Fike-42, A.J. & Aaron Fike-40, Bobby East-46, A.J. Fike & Brad Kuhn-36, Kuhn-37, Kuhn-58, Kuhn-50, Kuhn-59, Brad Loyet-48, Loyet-61, Loyet & Zach Daum-51, Kuhn-46, Kuhn & Rico Abreu-46.

MANUFACTURERS NMDOTY CHAMPIONSHIPS (and points): 2001 on—CHASSIS—Stealth-461, Beast-689, Stealth-457, Stealth-457, Stealth-567, Stealth-505, Spike-462, Spike-479, Spike-523, Spike-448, then Spike each succeeding year. ... ENGINES—Gaerte-433, Gaerte-393, Gaerte-326, Gaerte-326, Esslinger-358, Esslinger-518, Esslinger-407, Esslinger-544, Esslinger-565, Esslinger-565, and Esslinger each succeeding year.

Brad Sweet said he is looking forward to the birth of his younger sister's baby in late December. The father is fellow racer Kyle Larson. Speaking of baby watches, Brady Bacon and his wife Xia Xianna were expecting the arrival of a baby girl, also in late December. Bacon won the 2014 USAC National Sprint Car Championship at the November 6-8 PAS Oval Nationals. Brad said Brady and his wife went to Las Vegas and then to races at Canyon Raceway Park in Peoria, Ariz. (near Phoenix) the following weekend. Brady's wife was with him and her water broke in Arizona. Their baby, Levany Judith Bacon, was born about six weeks prematurely. She was five pounds, 17.5 inches long and healthy. The happy parents said their new arrival just wanted to join the celebrating following Brady's first USAC championship earned a week earlier.

SAD NEWS: Roy Cook, Jr., a past midget champion of USRC (a defunct 1960s-70s era So Cal. midget organization founded by the late Lew Stoltz), attended the 2014 TNGP for the first time in many years. The frequent USAC midget driver at Ascot and other So Cal tracks drove the No. 43 Ford V8-60 midget for many years. He had a severe stroke three or four years ago and suffered partial paralysis. The now 75-year old Yucaipa resident uses a battery-powered four-wheel chair to get around. He couldn't resist making it to the third TNGP in a row in Perris. A friend drove him to the track and helped him get around as he checked out vintage midgets from his powered chair.

NECROLOGY: Arizona sprint car driver “Darin'” Darrell Dockery, 77, passed away 7/20/14 at Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix. His brain was donated for disease research prior to cremation. His survivors include wife Lynn, daughter Deborah, two grandchildren and one great grandchild. A celebration of his life was held 10/25/14 from 12-5 pm at the Arizona Open Wheel Racing Museum on E. Broadway Ave. in Phoenix. Darrell was inducted into the Arizona racing hall of fame a year before his death.

Darrell's most famous ARA and CRA sprint car ride was the Eddie McNeely “Mickey I and Mickey II” Chevy red No. 98A sprint cars. They always raced with a black mouse figure attached to the top roll cage. Dockery won four CRA main events. On 7/15/72 he won his first CRA main in Mickey I at Manzanita Speedway, Phoenix. He scored two CRA feature wins in early 1973 in Mickey II. He won the 3/4/73 El Centro 20-lap main in McNeely's car with 63 sprinters present. The pair won their third CRA main on 3/31/73 at Ascot after setting fastest qualifying time in a 51-car field. Dockery's fourth CRA feature triumph came at Manzanita Speedway on 7/24/76 in his own No. 6A Chevy. Of course Darrell won many ARA sprint car features at his home track—Manzanita.

Bob Schoeman, 82, passed away last month on Wednesday, November 12. He had several falls and his last fall caused bleeding in his brain; he never recovered. A celebration of his life took place on Friday, November 21 at 11 am. Bob was an open-wheel driver in the 1960s and put away his helmet to become a flagman. He was the starter for NMRA-TQ midgets and USRC midgets. In 1974 he followed retired CRA sprint car starter Chuck Murray and became CRA starter for the 1974 season with Leroy Kail remaining as assistant starter. Retired CRA driver Colby Scroggin was CRA's starter starting in 1975. Bob became a mentor to aspiring starters such as Tony Otto and Noel Dawson. He remained a lifelong racing fan.

News on December 6 of Evelyn Pratt's recent passing in Texas was unexpected. Although she was age 95 and four months at the time of her death, Evelyn was vibrant and interested in racing and friends to the very end. Four months ago she sent a letter that scrafan.com printed. In it Evelyn said people in her retirement home over the Memorial Day weekend went on an fishing outing to a park site. She used a marsh-mellow to catch a catfish. It was a catch and release site, so she released it. Evelyn last performed her USAC-CRA sprint car pit steward duties at the PAS two years ago before she moved to Texas to be closer to family. That summer racing night at PAS she was still answering questions and giving drivers directions to help speed the show. A sign above the PAS pit board proclaims “Evelyn's Corner” in tribute to her long-time, respected role in the pits.

TRAGIC NEWS: Bob McCoy, a CRA sprint car veteran driver in the 1960s-70s passed away at age 77 on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at his home in Lakeside (San Diego County). A self-inflicted gunshot to the chest was the reported cause of death. Bob had broken his hip for the third time and reportedly doctors said he might not be able to walk again. He is survived by his wife Lynn and several adult children. A private burial service for family was conducted October 15. A memorial service/tribute open to all was held Saturday, November 15 from 2:00-4:00 pm in El Cajon. The October 15 San Diego Union-Tribune published his obituary.

Bob was born in Hollywood on July 13, 1937 and raised in San Diego. He saw his first race at age six at Balboa Stadium and decided then to be a race driver. He raced for the first time in a URA midget during 1958 and raced a sprint car once in 1959. McCoy was a respected 1950s hot-rodder who appeared on the cover of a Hot Rod Magazine cover with his 1940s Mercury coupe. Bob was a successful California Racing Assn. sprint car driver for many years in the 1960s. His varied career included a long stint as a respected artist with oil paints, (his clients included comedian Jay Leno), sculptor of quarter-scale replicas, and cartoon artist. He also was a lion tamer and rodeo bronc rider (which accounted for broken hips). Bob was scheduled one year to drive the Joe Hunt Magnetos car at the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. However, a racing injury prevented that from happening.

McCOY - CRA HISTORY: Bob made his first 1960 race at the Arizona State Fairgrounds mile dirt track on 2/21/60 in Dick Sukup's No. 63 Chevy. On lap 43 of the 100-lap race he tried to avoid a crash, cut to the infield and flipped. He received a knee injury and visited a hospital. In 1960 race eight he was the fastest qualifier of 29 cars at Ascot in Sukup's No. 63 and won the trophy dash. He scored 85 points and finished 32nd of 100 drivers in his first full season. In 1961 Bob drove the Bob Sefton Chevy No. 23. He had feature finishes of third at Ascot on 5/13/61and second on 8/27/61 in Pop Miller's Chevy No. 8. He tallied 288 points and jumped to P. 12 of 83 drivers in 1961 CRA final points. Bob also won the 1961 CRA sportsmanship award for unselfishly giving up his ride to help others.

1962 – Bob raced Chevy sprinters for Orange Taylor (No. 72), Glen Turner (21), Hank Henry-built S.O.W (55)--in which he started and finished second to Billy Cantrell's Morales Offy in race seven of 1962. He led laps 1-5 and 10-13 in that race. He also drove for Harold Miller (18), Kimball & Carter (50) in which he finished fourth at Ascot on June 23, Lester Robertson (X), and Boghosian Bros. (9). Bob rejoined Pop Miller later and started on the pole, was in P. 2 on lap 21, and flipped at Ascot without injury. He started the Miller No. 3 in fourth and finished third at Ascot on September 29. Bob scored 339.5 points and finished ninth out of 83 drivers with CRA points.

1963 – Bob again drove several cars such as the Frankie Cal No. 52 Offy, Ted Wyrozumski 23 Chevy, Vern Williamson 12, Orange Taylor 72, and O'Gorman & Savatier 65. On July 10 at Ascot's 30-lap feature he started fourth and finished third in the Williamson Buick-powered sprinter. Bob then got hot at Ascot in Williamson's No. 12. In a 32 car field on July 17 he started first and led laps 27-30 for his first CRA feature victory. Bob Hogle finished second in the Morales “Tamale Wagon” Offy. A week later McCoy started the Williamson 12 in P. 2 and placed second to Hogle's Morales Offy. On July 31 Bob started third and won the Ascot 30 in Williamson's No. 12 Buick after leading laps 7-12 and 21-30. He beat Allen Heath's No. 97 Vel Miletich Ford T-Bird and P. 3 Hogle's Morales Offy. On August 7 at Ascot, Bob started the Williamson 12 second and led laps 2-30 and beat runner-up Heath's No. 97 Miletich Ford. One-armed driver Heath was his hero at the time. McCoy earned 449.5 points and finished fourth out of 87 drivers with CRA points.

1964 – Bob won his fourth CRA main event in the Art Pratt & Vern Williamson Buick No. 12 at Gardena's Western Speedway quarter mile on Western Avenue in the first 1964 point race on 12/15/63. He started and finished first in a 30-lapper. He later drove Wyrozumski's No. 8 and was away from CRA racing to 9/2/64 when he raced Turner's No. 18. In Ascot's October 24 CRA Grand Prix he drove Jim Kierce's No. 34. His shortened season resulted in 96 points and 27thposition out of 94 drivers.

In 1965 Bob raced only several times for Kierce (No. 58) and in the No 79 E. E. Major Ford 427. He scored only 20 points and finished 57th in final points out of 91 drivers. Bob increased his CRA racing significantly in 1966 and finished 17th in points, In 1967 Bob ranked seventh and in 1968 he improved to sixth in final CRA points. He raced steadily in the Charlie Chassey Plumbing Chevy. He won his fifth CRA feature on 3/5/67 at the half-mile asphalt Irwindale Speedway driving Chassey's 1963-built No. 22 Chevy. He won his sixth CRA main on 2/18/68 at Irwindale in Chassey's now No. 8 Chevy.

Bob's greatest racing thrill came in the fall of 1967 at Gardena's Ascot Park half-mile clay track. It was the annual two Saturday night USAC National Sprint Car season-ending races. On 10/28/67 McCoy led all 30-laps to win his first USAC main event. Two weeks later on November 9 Bob set second fastest qualifying time and beat A. J. Foyt in the first heat. In the 30-lap feature Bob finished second to Foyt, then a three-time Indy 500 winner. Bob's P 1-2 finishes to numerous Indianapolis 500 drivers on his home track had McCoy, his team and Ascot fans on cloud nine. Everything wasn't always rosy during Bob's racing career. He barrel-rolled eight to ten times on 7/20/66 at Ascot. On 8/10/68 Bob flipped the Chassey Chevy three-times on Ascot's front straight and received a concussion. He was in the hospital for nine days and in intensive care for several days.

A recap of McCoy's CRA driver point finishes by year shows: 1960-32nd, '61-12th, '62-ninth, '63-fourth, '64-27th, '65-57th, '66-17th, '67-seventh, and '68-sixth. In 1968 Bob raced in 25 of 33 CRA races and scored 442 points. He set one fast time and had one win, two seconds, two thirds, one fourth, and four fifths in 1968 CRA features. Through 1968 McCoy's CRA driving career showed two fast times, nine trophy dash wins and six main event wins. In 1968 Bob set a new track record during the 3-lap trophy dash at Whiteman Stadium, a third-mile paved track in Pacoima. The record still stood when the track was razed for expansion of Whiteman Airport.

Steve Chassey, son of McCoy's car owner, began racing his dad's sprint car in 1969 and was named rookie of the year. That left McCoy out of his most successful ride. Steve's success driving for his dad led him to relocate to Indianapolis in 1973. Steve became a USAC National Sprint Car feature winner 13-times and runner-up in 1980 for the USAC National Sprint Car championship. He drove the No. 10 Jet Rod roadster to numerous victories. Steve became a USAC champ dirt car winner in 1984 at the Indy Fairgrounds Hoosier 100. Steve was an Indianapolis 500 three-time starter (1983, 87-88) and had 44 CART Indy Car starts over nine seasons. His best Indy car finish was fifth in 1981 at Watkins Glen, N.Y..

Bob's rides in CRA diminished in 1969. He concentrated on his artist talent and it blossomed into a career. In 1969 McCoy scored 78 points and ranked 30th. He scored his seventh and final CRA feature victory on 6/14/69 at Ascot driving the No. 4x John Driver Chevy. He did not race in CRA during 1970. In 1971 Bob scored eight points and ranked 57th. In 1972 he tallied 93 points and finished 22nd. He did not race in 1973 and made his final CRA start in 1974 when he scored 11 points and finished 63rd in final CRA point standings. Thereafter Bob seldom attended races.

CRA CAREER SUMMARY: McCoy, always a favorite with fans and fellow drivers, has impressive final career totals in two major categories for the CRA sprint car organization that operated from 1957-1993. His ten trophy dash wins place him in a tie for 36th all-time with 1966 CRA champion Don Thomas. A total of 176 drivers won CRA trophy dashes. McCoy's seven CRA main event victories place him an a tie for 38th all-time with the late Jay East (who ironically also died during 2014), plus Arizonan Frank McDaniel and Gary G. Howard. A total of 161 drivers won CRA main events during the 37 years the esteemed organization existed. SCRA succeeded CRA under new leadership. Then in 2004 USAC-CRA became the sanctioning organization for non-wing 410 cu. in. sprint car racing in western states and still governs the sport today.