London hosting national quarter midget races

The local chapter of the Quarter Midget Racing Association will host the Eastern Grands national championships in London July 24-26.
The local chapter of the Quarter Midget Racing Association will host the Eastern Grands national championships in London July 24-26.

(Posted July 18, 2014)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The largest non-profit youth motor sports event in the United States is coming to London.

This week, the Central Ohio Quarter Midget Racing Association (COQMRA) is hosting the Eastern Grands at its track on the Madison County Fairgrounds, 203 Elm St. National titles in 17 categories are up for grabs.

“We’ll have 300 to 350 kids from around the U.S. compete for championships,” said Gregory Adams, COQMRA media relations director.

The public is invited to watch the races. Qualifying rounds are July 24, followed by lower main races July 25 and the best of the best July 26. Action starts at 8:30 a.m. each day. Admission is free. The track is equipped with bleacher seating and a concession stand. July 27 is the rain date.

Quarter midget racing involves youth-sized race cars equipped with various sized engines. The sport is open to youths ages 5 to 16. They compete on tracks like the one in London, a 1/20th-mile oval. Their goal is to earn points on the racing circuit, which typically runs from April through October.

To qualify for the Eastern Grands, racers must compete in a state race or pay a $150 hardship fee. Competitors come from 13 regions and 40 different racing clubs nationwide. They are vying for bragging rights and trophies that stand three to five feet tall.

“We would love to have local kids come out and watch and see what quarter midget racing is all about. It’s also a great event for motor sports fans and the community in general,” Adams said.

Several racing celebrities plan to attend the event, including NASCAR driver Ryan Newman and Michael Shank, a race car team owner and former race car driver from Columbus. Shank owns a Daytona Prototype car.

COQMRA is an all-volunteer organization. The group held its first races on the London track in 2010-11 and its first full racing season in 2012. They average 15 races per year. Admission is always free for spectators.

In preparation for the Eastern Grands, COQMRA installed a new staging area and scoring tower. Next year, with donations and sponsorships, the group hopes to remodel the fairgrounds’ rest room facilities located near the track and grandstand.

To learn more about quarter midget racing in London, go to coqmra.com or call Gregory Adams, (614) 316-8389.

For a hands-on introduction to the sport, consider attending the association’s next Arrive & Drive at which young visitors can drive a quarter midget car. The date is Sept. 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The cost is $10 for 10 laps. The association will provide safety equipment and vehicles.

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