$6,000 Payday, Prestigious Trophy Up for Grabs in "Bob Wente Midget Classic"

Discussion in 'Tri-City Speedway' started by jdearing, Aug 17, 2004.

  1. jdearing

    jdearing Administrator Staff Member

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    by Steve Birmingham

    Granite City, IL -- The nation's best Midget racers have two additional incentives added to to the "Bob Wente Midget Classic" at Tri-City Speedway, Sunday, August 22.

    An extra $500 bonus has been added by Hoosier Racing Tires and will go to the driver that leads all 50 laps. Also, the winner of the "Bob Wente Midget Classic" will be presented with Bob Wente Sr.'s coveted George Amick Memorial Trophy, which the late Mr.Wente won in Hartford, Michigan on August 23, 1960. Amick, a well-known open wheel racer in the glory days of Midget, Sprint and Big Car racing, was killed in 1959 while testing an Indy car at the newly-constructed Daytona International Speedway.

    With a $3,000 winner's check, $50 per lap in lap money sponsored by the family and friends of Midget auto racing, a $500 Hoosier Racing Tires bonus to the leader of all 50 laps, as well as the George Amick Memorial Trophy, over 50 of the nations's best Midget drivers will scamble for a very lucrative $6,000 payday.

    The mighty open wheel speedcars will race a full program of qualifying events topped by a 50-lap main event on Tri-City's tight quarter-mile dirt. Part of the Gateway Open Wheel Racing Series, the "Bob Wente Midget Classic" is also expected to draw USAC hotshoe Josh Wise and Critter Malone, Springfield's Justin Allgaier, Belleville’s Steve Knepper, Donnie Lehman, Mike Hess, Tim Siner, Dave Camfield, Chad Branson, Joey Montogery, Craig Carey, Greg Luekert and many more.

    Sharing the racing program on the fast quarter-mile will be the 600cc Outlaw Mini Sprints paying $1,000 to the winner of the 30 lap main event. In addition to the $1,000 cash first place prize, the winner will receive an event winner’s ticket from Hoosier Tire Midwest.

    In addition to the open wheel action on the track, Vintage open wheel racers and flathead powered coupes will rule the day when the Midwest Oldtimers Vintage Race Car Club puts on an exhibition during the "Bob Wente Midget Classic."

    Twenty-five to 30 1930s through 1970s era Championship Dirt Cars, Sprint Cars, Midgets, Super Modifieds, Coupes and Stock Cars belonging to the Peoria, Illinois-based vintage race car club will be on display throughout the race event. All the vintage racers will have track time through several exhibition runs on Tri-City's slightly banked quarter-mile dirt track.

    The "Bob Wente Midget Classic" is named for the late Bob Wente, Sr., a USAC Midget racing legend and Midget Racing Hall of Fame inductee. Mr. Wente competed in all three USAC championship classes in the 1960s - Midgets, Sprints and Championship cars and competed in his first Indianapolis 500 in 1964, starting 32nd and finishing ninth.

    Mr. Wente began his racing career in 1954 with the St. Louis Auto Racing Association (SLARA) and was the USAC Midwest Champion in 1960 but lost the National title to Jimmy Davies by a mere 9.75 points.

    He prevailed however, winning the USAC National Midget Series Championship in 1963 after finishing second in the USAC standings the three previous years. Among his notable titles were the 1961 USAC Indoor Midget Championship, "The Hut Hundred" in 1963 and the "Night Before the 500" Midget Race in 1969 and 1976.

    Mr. Wente was among the inaugural ten inductees into the National Midget Hall of Fame in 1984 and in 1985 was presented the prestigious Jim Blunk Memorial Award, presented for his contributions to the sport of USAC Midget auto racing. Mr. Wente was also the Elks Club Sports Celebrity of the Year in 1963 and 1964.

    In May 2000, Mr. Wente was presented the prestigious USAC Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his 805 career feature starts, 78 National Midget Series wins and 79 career USAC feature wins.

    Mr. Wente’s remarkable accomplishments place him sixth on USAC’s all-time feature win list behind only A.J. Foyt, Rich Vogler, Mel Kenyon, Gary Bettenhausen and Tom Bigelow and third on USAC’s all-time National Midget Series win list.

    Mr. Wente’s memory lives on at Tri-City, where oldest son, Bob Jr., is the track owner and promoter.

    "My Dad made racing our lives because that’s what he did to make a living to raise me and my brothers," Bob Wente, Jr., said. "He gave us each the opportunity to get an education, drive racecars and pursue a career we each chose. I want him to be remembered for what he achieved during his racing career when driving race cars wasn’t as fashionable as today,"

    Spectator gates for the "Bob Wente Midget Classic" open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7 p.m. Adult General Admission is $15.00, Students (11-17) $5.00 and Kids 10 and under FREE. Tri-City Speedway is located one-half mile south of I-270 on Illinois Route 203 south (exit 4), just 10 minutes north of downtown St. Louis.


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