Quarter midget car racing on Sunday

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Charlie Smith speeds around the quarter-midget racetrack located on the Madison County Fairgrounds. He and other young drivers from around the state will race during fair week.

(Posted July 8, 2022)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

For the first time, the Central Ohio Quarter Midget Racing Association (COQMRA) is hosting a race during Madison County Fair week.

The association’s track, built in 2010, is located on the Madison County Fairgrounds along Elm Street. From April through October, youths ages 5 to 16 years old get behind the wheel and put the pedal to the metal.

The association’s upcoming race on July 10 coincides with fair week. Fairgoers are invited to stop by the track to check out the action. Admission to the race is free. Racing gets started at 10 a.m. and will continue until about 4 p.m.

“We’ll run seven to 10 races, depending on who shows up,” said Chuck smith, COQMRA vice president and tech director. “We can get up to 12 cars on the track for the older kids’ classes. We do smaller groups for the novices.”

Each class starts with a heat race of 10 to 15 laps. Feature races are 25 to 30 laps. The more experienced drivers can get around the track in about 5 seconds.

“It’s the fastest quarter-midget track in Ohio,” Smith said, crediting the fastness to the track’s banked concrete oval design. “A lot of other tracks are flatter. The banking helps you keep your speed up.”

Events at the London track attract racers from all over Ohio. The venue is one of five quarter-midget tracks in the state.

Quarter-midget racing is so named because the vehicles involved are a quarter the size of full-size race cars.

“It’s an entry level form of racing until you move up to stock or sprint cars. We have kids now who are moving on to bigger things at 12 to 14 years old,” Smith said.

It’s an expensive sport to get into, but the family atmosphere can’t be beat, he added.

“We’re family friendly. Everyone pitches in,” Smith said. “We’re a close-knit group. If a kid is having trouble with his car, even if it’s an opponent, we jump out there and help them get it fixed and back on the track.”

Smith’s son, Charlie, started racing when he was 5 years old. This year marks his third season, and he’s loving it.

“He has moved up to the first competitive class where he’s running for championships,” Smith said. “Racing has helped him become more outgoing. He was shy when he first started, but he has come out of his shell. He’s also made a lot of friends out of this.”

Following the race during fair week, COQMRA is hosting four more races in London before wrapping up the 2022 season: Aug. 27 at 5 p.m., Aug. 28 at noon, Oct. 1 at noon, and Oct. 2 at noon.

For anyone curious about the sport, the association is holding an arrive-and-drive on Aug. 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children ages 5 to 16 are invited to get into a quarter-midget car and take a few laps around the track.

To learn more about the association and the sport, visit “Central Ohio Quarter Midget Racing” on Facebook or call (740) 506-1260.

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