WATSON, HOUGH, MILLS & BRENN LATEST INDUCTEES INTO NATIONAL MIDGET AUTO RACING HALL OF FAME Indianapolis, IN (May 19, 2007) -- The latest inductees into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame have been announced and include a driver, two...
WATSON, HOUGH, MILLS & BRENN LATEST INDUCTEES INTO NATIONAL MIDGET AUTO RACING HALL OF FAME
Indianapolis, IN (May 19, 2007) -- The latest inductees into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame have been announced and include a driver, two car owners and an official.
Jack "Curley" Mills, Roscoe "Pappy" Hough, Kenny Brenn and Ed Watson will be honored as the new inductees, although the date and site of the inductions are still being finalized.
These four individuals received the most votes cast by a panel of Midget racing experts from across the country who comprise the induction committee. Ten additional 2006 candidates received sufficient votes to be listed as "carry-overs" on the 2007 ballot.
Jack "Curley" Mills was one of the true pioneers of midget auto racing. His career was brief and started in 1934. He won the inaugural event at the famed Gilmore Stadium and later won four events in a row there when it was one of the most highly competitive racing venues in the nation. He would win many events in California with the Offenhauser powered car dominating competition at Gilmore Stadium and the L.A. County Fairgrounds in Pomona, California. His early success caused him to be "lured" out East for some "big money" races where he won at Long Island, NY and Philadelphia, PA. On August 18, 1936 he was badly injured in a midget race at Madison Square Garden in New York. As a result of those injuries, one of the true stars of early midget auto racing, "Curley" Mills, passed away on December 24, 1936.
Roscoe "Pappy" Hough started driving "big cars" in the late1920's. He switched to the midget cars in the middle 1930's racing primarily in the Midwest before moving out East where he raced at places like the dreaded "Nutley Velodrome". As a driver, who was also his own mechanic, he became one of the most successful pre-war drivers winning 44 events in 1941 and with career total victory estimates running as high as 1,000 races. His career as a car owner would be equally successful but his unparalleled innovations were even more impressive. He built dozens of cars over a 30 year period and built some of the first tube frame midget race cars even before the Kurtis-Kraft design was conceived. As a team owner, he employed over 40 drivers and some of the best in the business including the likes of Bill Schindler and Art Cross. Over the years he reportedly raced at over 560 tracks. It was not unusual for him to transport his multi-car team and drivers by air cargo to enable them to race twice in the same day, a task hard to duplicate even by today's standards.
Ken Brenn Sr. remains one of the most respected car owners in midget auto racing. His incredible victory as the winning car owner at Lime Rock, Connecticut on July 25, 1959 with Indy 500 winner Rodger Ward driving, remains one of midget auto racing's greatest stories. With his Offy midget they raced against and beat some of the top cars and drivers from the Formula 1 and Le Mans series on a road course. Over the years his impeccably prepared cars, nearly always carrying #24, were much sought after and attracted some of midget racing's top drivers including Ward, Len Duncan, Bobby Unser, Larry Dickson, Don Branson, Johnny Coy Sr., Jimmy Caruthers and a host of other top drivers from the east coast. The five-time ARDC Championship car owner, who served in nearly every official capacity for that club, was also the mayor of Warren, New Jersey. He provided a great deal of business acumen and professionalism to the sport which clearly elevated the image of midget auto racing over the years.
One of midget auto racing's greatest fans, promoters and workers, Ed Watson spent five decades immersed in the sport. Born not far from legendary Jungle Park in Marshall, Ind., Watson did everything from serving as a mascot to scoring midget races to writing and publishing books about the cars that used to be a stepping stone to the Indianapolis 500. During his final 15 years, his company, Witness Productions, had also published books on Jim Hurtubise, Jan Opperman, Lloyd Ruby and Bill Vukovich as well as the history of midget racing in the United States, the Dirt Road to a Silver Crown and Full Tilt, a pictorial history filled with breathtaking shots by photographer John Mahoney. But Watson's proudest accomplishment was being instrumental in the founding of the National Midget Hall of Fame in Sun Prairie, Wis.