KNOXVILLE, IOWA (January 15, 2003) - The first three entries for the May 30-31 Pepsi/Mt. Dew Knoxville Midget Championship have arrived this week at the offices of the Knoxville Raceway. According to office manager Arleta Voyce, "Big Al Murie of...
KNOXVILLE, IOWA (January 15, 2003) - The first three entries for the May 30-31 Pepsi/Mt. Dew Knoxville Midget Championship have arrived this week at the offices of the Knoxville Raceway. According to office manager Arleta Voyce, "Big Al Murie of Kansas City, Missouri, has the distinction of being this year's first paid entry, and he has chosen to represent the Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association. However, his entry was closely followed one day later by Badger Midget Auto Racing Association hot-shoes Aaron Fiscus of Sun Prairie and Randy Fiscus of Monona, Wisconsin."
Murie will pilot his own Chevrolet-powered Ellis chassis midget, while the Fiscus boys will wheel Ford-Esslinger-powered Buzzard chassis midgets built by John Callahan. Last season, the midgets returned to the historic Marion County Fairgrounds oval, after an absence of over twenty years, in a show tri-sanctioned by Badger (BMARA), Midwest Auto Racing Association (MARA), and North American Midget Auto Racing Series (NAMARS). This season, Rocky Mountain (RMMRA) and American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) have joined the alliance of equal sanctioning partners.
The Friday night, May 30, program will feature five midget car heats and the inaugural fifteen-car, fifteen-lap $1,000-to-win "King Doodlebug" invitational feature. The first night of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame induction weekend will also feature the eleventh annual $3,000-to-win Hoosier Tire Midwest Masters Classic 360-cubic-inch sprint car show for drivers age fifty and over. The Saturday night, May 31, program will showcase two midget car consolations, a dash, and the thirty-car, 25-lap $4,000-to-win Pepsi/Mt. Dew Knoxville Midget Championship feature. 2002 National Midget Driver of the Year runner-up Mike Hess is the event's defending champion. In addition, a regular show of 410 c.i. sprint car racing will culminate in the $3,000-to-win Kin Folks/Magic Muffler Shootout on Saturday night.
The King Doodlebug Invitational will start the five Friday night heat winners, the top point-getters from each of the five sanctions, and the top drivers from each of the following five events: 2002 Pepsi/Mt. Dew Knoxville Midget Championship, 2002 Belleville Midget Nationals, 2002 Sun Prairie Fireman Nationals, 2003 Tulsa Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, and 2002 National Midget Driver of the Year rankings.
According to National Speed Sport News editor emeritus Chris Economaki, the term "doodlebug" was created by the "big car" gentry in the late 1930's for the increasingly-popular "midget" car. Walter Bull, who founded the Illustrated Speedway News, then started a contest to crown "King Doodlebug". According to National Sprint Car Museum board members Larry Ball, Jr., and Bill Hill, the following six drivers were all crowned "King Doodlebug": Cletus "Cowboy" O'Rourke (1938), Bill Holmes (1939), Al Bonnell (1946), Ed "Dutch" Schaefer (1947), Bill Schindler (1948), and Ralph Pratt (1949).
Those seeking further information on the Pepsi/Mt. Dew Knoxville Midget Championship are urged to visit Knoxville's web-site, www.knoxvilleraceway.com. Those seeking further information on the fourteenth annual National Sprint Car Hall of Fame induction weekend should visit the non-profit museum's web-site, www.sprintcarhof.com.