MINERSVILLE, PA. – Midget racing has also been very popular at Big Diamond Speedway as large crowds come to watch these small but very powerful cars.
“It’s an animal that you really have to finesse,” said midget racer Alex Bright on how to describe these cars to race fans who have never seen them before.
Race fans will be coming from all over on May 13 at the second oldest midget club in the world, the American Racing Drivers Club, will make the first of two appearances this year at the track.
The midgets will join the CJ’s Tire & Automotive Services 358 modifieds, Savage 61 roadrunners, No Sweat Service Group street stocks and the Blast From The Past vintage cards for a five-division show.
General admission is $18 and, $16 seniors, while kids 12-and-under and active military with a valid ID are free.
The gates open at 5 with warm-ups at 7:45 and racing gets underway at 8:15.
Over the weekend, it was confirmed to the speedway that John Heydenreich, formerly of Bloomsburg, will be behind the wheel of a midget for the first time in several years at Big Diamond.
During the mid-1980s, Heydenreich toured the Coal region oval in a 302 small block, Ford-powered modified.
"I'm looking forward to getting back to the track," he said. "Big Diamond is wide track and a good place to showcase the midgets."
Heydenreich, who now resides in Indianapolis, is ninth on the ARDC all-time career win list with 36.
Eric Heydenreich, of Bloomsburg, John's cousin, continues to be active with ARDC. He scored his first-ever midget win at the track in 2007.
In the four races to date, A. Bright and his brother Brenden, have combined to win three events while Brett Arndt is the only other winner, that coming on April 23.
Last week’s schedule race at Linda’s was rained out.
A. Bright, who has 14-career wins with ARDC, leads his brother by 14 points in the early-season point standings.
ARDC will make their second appearance of the season at the track on July 29.
A. Bright last won at Big Diamond three years ago and said he is looking forward to racing on Friday night.
“Considering everything that has happened this year already with the problems, we are off to an awesome start,” he said. "Our first race was fine, but we had an engine issues so I had to borrow my brother’s spare engine while ours got fixed.”
Despite the troubles, A. Bright, who is in his seventh year of racing midgets, is happy with where he’s at heading into the race at Big Diamond.
“I won here three years ago and Big Diamond is almost the perfect size for midgets,” he said. “I think its right in the ball park. It’s not a motor track and it’s not a horsepower or torque track. It’s right in between.”
ARDC was founded in 1939 in the Frankford section of Philadelphia which is also the birthplace of the NFL Philadelphia Eagles. ARDC held its first race in 1940 and Bill Schindler was its first champion.
Current 358 modified racer Lou Cicconi, Jr., is 10th on the all-time ARDC win list with 34 while defending 358 modified champion Billy Pauch, Jr., has three career wins with club.
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