USAC Point .25 midgets

By Dick Jordan

The Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix hasn’t witnessed USAC racing in 47 years but that hiatus will end October 20 when the USAC Mopar .25 Midgets make their first of two scheduled 2011 appearances at the venerable site.

The Valley of the Sun Quarter Midget Association will present USAC Mopar .25 Midget races on the dirt at the Fairgrounds on October 20 and November 2, with racing beginning at 4 pm each day.

USAC’s first “Generation Next” event this season – the “Duel in the Desert” – was conducted at the home track of the VSQMA – South Mountain Speedway, with a record car count in attendance.

The Arizona State Fairgrounds holds a storied place in USAC history. In 1956 George Amick won a 100-mile Championship race there and subsequent Championship-car 100-milers on the old one-mile track went to Jimmy Bryan, Jud Larson, Tony Bettenhausen, A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Bobby Marshman and Rodger Ward. Billy Garrett, won a Midget race there in 1957, Jimmy Bryan and Paul Goldsmith won Stock car races there and Don Branson and A.J. Foyt closed out the USAC events there in 1964 with Sprint car victories.

Arizona pilots who posted victories in the “Duel in the Desert” in March included Maggee Miller of Queen Creek (Senior Honda), Austin Snyder of Surprise (Junior Animal), Bryant Dawson of Phoenix (Mod and Heavy AA) and Amber Matich of Gilbert (Heavy 160), while Grant Bradbury of Glendale was the top Blue Rookie.

While the one-mile track is now gone, fans visiting the Fairgrounds will still be able to see the grandstand which was utilized for all of those 1950 and 1960 USAC events.