Bill Keimel sits in his beautiful
midget before heading out onto the track.
something graceful and beautiful about vintage midgets. They have
an appeal to the average race fan that everyone can appreciate.
Those of us that weren't even around when these cars raced around
the dirt ovals of America's fairgrounds, Speedways and Stadiums
recognize the importance of what midget racing means to the
history of American auto racing. These cars were icons in their
day. They still conjure up images of braver than average drivers
hanging on to the steering wheel as their car bounced and drifted
through the dusty ruts. Most of the midget cars from the by-gone
era have been destroyed through crashes or thrown away as useless
junk over the years. Every once in a while, you find one that has
survived. Sometimes you find one that not only survived, but is
seemingly flawless in every detail and still has the ability to
give the average race fan a glimpse into the past.
is the case with Bill Keimel's beautiful midget. Raced throughout
the mid-west in the 40's, the car saw quite a bit of action and
picked up some wins along the way. Built by Ollie Jennings of
Kansas City, Missouri, the car raced at tracks like Olympic
Stadium in Kansas, Path Stadium in Oklahoma and several other
tracks in the mid-west. "The car was built and raced in the
mid-west. John Yonke was the 4th and last driver in the car. His
brother in-law, Doc Etter was the owner." Said Keimel.
"The car is a great example of what midget cars looked like
in the late 40's." The car didn't always look like it does
view of Yonke's office. It makes
you realize just how brave they were.
from 1937-1940, the V-8 60 Ford was the
engine of choice for midget racers everywhere.
car was found in a barn in Creek, Nebraska in 1957. I've restored
it twice since I bought it 11 years ago. The reason I did it twice
is because I didn't have the history on the car. Once I found some
photo's and learned the history of the car I was able to put it
back to the way it was when Yonke was in the car." Keimel
said. The car was raced hard during it's career. Drivers could
race much more often than today's drivers do. "They raced
seven days a week back then and sometimes more, you could race
twice in one day on some occasions."
took the car out to Kansas four years ago and put Yonke back in
the car, he hadn't seen it in 40 years. It was really something to
see. The car is 99-100% original as it ran when Yonke was in the
car. I've got it all documented. I've got race receipts, photos
and a lot of pertinent information on the car. It's one of my toys
and I'm going to have some fun with it. I restore racecars and
rebuild motors for a hobby and a business. I've taken this car all
over the country, it's been from Florida to Kansas and a few other
Keimel puts the car through
it's paces at Latimore Valley
The car just looks