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Roger McCluskey and his Konstant Hot Specials


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#1 D-Type

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Posted 01 April 2020 - 18:42

At a recent Toyfayre I liked the look of a nice set of 3 US open wheelers so I bought it. - Roger McCluskey's 1963 Konstant Hot Specials: A Sprint Car, a Dirt Car and a Midget.  https://www.bonanza....set-in-gift-box

The trouble is that I don't really know what I've bought.  I've done a bit of googling and found who Roger McCluskey was and details of his Sprint Car and Championship careers but found nothing about what he (or anyone else for that matter) did in Midgets. I know this is because there were so many series and races.  I found that  Konstant Hot, his sponsor, was a maker of water heaters for coffee machines etc. But, I've found I don't know as much as I thought about the US scene outside Indianapolis, for example:.
Were Sprint Car races limited to a maximum distance - say 50 miles?  What were the engine and other regs?  Were they raced on dirtor paved tracks - or both?
Several Championship races were on dirt so did the contenders have two cars - a dirt car and a roadster for paved tracks?  Both with the Offy engine.
As for midgets - was the restriction on engine size or wheelbase?  Or both?  I know they raced both on dirt and on pavement, but were these in different series

 

Sorry to throw out all these questions - but I just don't know the answers and haven't managed to find nuch on the net beyond statistics.  Can anyone suggest any good sites? 


Edited by D-Type, 01 April 2020 - 19:08.


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#2 Bob Riebe

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Posted 01 April 2020 - 22:21

Can of worms.

They drove on both dirt and paved, depending on series.

Back fifty plus years ago sprint cars ran the Atlanta paved track setting the fastest, then, maybe now, ever sprint car race.

There were multiple regional series, with USAC being the big one as they had big car races also, roadsters and champ cars..

Engine size depended on which series you ran; wheelbase and engine restrictions were in place.

USAC had 305 in. cu. push-rod sprint cars for a long time, with OHC allowed 256 inches cubed.

The Eastern outlaw, nothing to do with the sanction that stole the name, races allowed very large engines so eventually engine sizes grew.

Midgets also depended on series being run in.

Thirty years ago midgets were the most open ever with some series allowing BOP , outboard or motorcycle based V-8s.

 

It is more complicated than this brief abstract.



#3 Michael Ferner

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Posted 02 April 2020 - 08:51

Okay, lengthy post vanished into the void of the internet, AGAIN!! :mad:  [as an aside, autosport.com does definitely have a problem here, because this happens here far more often than on other sites, but I know that our host is not interested in our petty problems :evil:]

 

So, for now only a link to a thread https://forums.autos...hips/?p=8329703 dealing with the 1963 USAC Sprint car season and Roger McCluskey. More when I get home. Maybe :evil:


Edited by Michael Ferner, 02 April 2020 - 08:53.


#4 10kDA

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Posted 02 April 2020 - 11:03

Okay, lengthy post vanished into the void of the internet, AGAIN!! :mad:  [as an aside, autosport.com does definitely have a problem here, because this happens here far more often than on other sites, but I know that our host is not interested in our petty problems :evil:]

 

So, for now only a link to a thread https://forums.autos...hips/?p=8329703 dealing with the 1963 USAC Sprint car season and Roger McCluskey. More when I get home. Maybe :evil:

 

Michael - this happened to me on a regular basis on a different forum. My work-around was to compose messages in Notepad or other text editor, then log in and copy and paste the Notepad text to the forum's messaging field. It may work here on TNF as well.



#5 Michael Ferner

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Posted 02 April 2020 - 11:31

Thanks for the tip. As a matter of fact, I do know how to work around this, but can't be arsed to do this every time I post. For short posts it's sort-of okay, you just type it all again - a pain in the afterburner, but no big deal. But sometimes, you start a post and it grows while you write. I just hate the thought of clumsily composing every post in Notepad first! ):



#6 Sterzo

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Posted 02 April 2020 - 13:28

 I just hate the thought of clumsily composing every post in Notepad first! ):

Word is easier, and you can save regularly (as you can in Notepad of course) whereas on a forum you can't. But is it a forum problem or your browser or internet connection?



#7 Michael Ferner

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Posted 02 April 2020 - 13:35

It is at least partly a problem of the internet connection and the whole IT setup here at work, I'm sure, but I can't change that. At home, I generally don't have it. But still, it's pretty annoying! ):



#8 10kDA

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Posted 02 April 2020 - 15:37

It is at least partly a problem of the internet connection and the whole IT setup here at work, I'm sure, but I can't change that. At home, I generally don't have it. But still, it's pretty annoying! ):

I had to do it only for longer posts - which included posts which took me a long time to compose, not strictly character-count. I believe it had something to do with the site sensing activity, opening different pages etc which did not include placing characters in a message field. If I stayed on that single page composing a message for too long, the site would dump what I had composed without actually logging me out.



#9 Michael Ferner

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Posted 02 April 2020 - 18:07

Yeah, my guess is it has to do with the ads that constantly reload at the bottom of the screen. If I, for example, change to another register or window during the writing of a post, maybe to check something, then when I get back to the post it has vanished, or the site has crashed.

 

Anyway, to get back to Mr. McCluskey and the Konstant Hot Specials, Bob has already alluded to some of the problems re American Racing, can of worms etc. State of flux, moving target... it's never easy to say something definitive about the various categories of racing in the US. The link to the 1963 USAC Sprint Car Championship thread already reveals some of the different tracks used in the series, and here's the first four paragraphs of a "Season Summary" I started to write as a follow-up post to that thread, but for various reasons never finished. It deals with some of the rules and general conditions, as well as McCluskey's car and season in particular. I will get back over the weekend with something on the (Championship) Dirt Car and the Midget, and the races they ran in - stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

Throwing a lifeline to the venerable Offenhauser engine, USAC changed its Sprint car engine rules for the third year running, by raising the limit for DOHC designs to 4,200 cc (256.3 cubic inches), the same as for the Championship division, while keeping the 5,000 cc (305.1 cubic inches) limit for the stock block engines, and continuing to allow an additional 1 % "cleanout" capacity for the latter based on reasons of economy (chiefly to allow Chevrolet owners the use of a '283' block with the latest '327' crankshaft). Other new rules concerning safety features, such as seat belt construction, and a mandatory double-shoulder harness were also introduced, following the fatal accident of Jackson Hagemeyer, in particular, one of three USAC Sprint car fatalities in 1962.

 

 

 

One interesting outcome of the new displacement rules was the building of two entirely new cars with Offenhauser engines, by the two chief mechanics of the Leader Card team, A. J. Watson and his old buddy and new team mate, Jud Phillips, while other Offy owners were less euphorical, and the general comment appeared to be of the "too-little, too-late" variety. Dayton/OH's Charley Engle, for instance, went for a 270 CID Offy and the IMCA circuit instead, although a general lack of success meant that he was back with USAC by August, and a Chevy V8 stuffed into his old car! Generally, the trend towards usage of the Small Block Chevy continued unabated, and competition from other stock manufacturers all but vanished completely from the scene.

 

 

 

Due to Indianapolis commitments of the team, the new Leader Card cars, earmarked for A. J. Foyt and Don Branson, respectively, did not arrive on the circuit until June, but still managed to finish third and fourth in owners points, so the decision to go back to the Offy was not all bad. Most successful, however, of the new cars on the circuit was Wally Meskowski's latest creation, and quite astonishingly for the man who practically invented the four-bar dirt track car back in 1958, it featured cross springs at the front! Other than that, it looked very smart and modern indeed, and certainly performed well enough for rival constructors to start scratching their heads again!

 

 

 

Beating both the Leader Card Offies and the Meskowski Chevy by a big margin, though, was the state-of-the-art four-bar car built in 1962 by Phillips for his then-employer, Bruce Homeyer of the Konstant Hot team in New Jersey, and already the Owners Champion in its debut season. Having taken over the Konstant Hot ride during the summer of 1962, and having done extremely well with it in the latter part of that season already, it didn’t come as a particularly big surprise to see Roger McCluskey dominate the 1963 season virtually from scratch. Going into a massive 70-points lead by the third round, he simply kept on widening the gap with seemingly every race, and by late June was already well over 200 points to the good, finally sewing up the title by Labor Day, with six races still to go! In his fourth year of USAC competition, the 35-year-old Tucson/AZ native continued to come on strong, and didn’t let the disappointment about the controversial Indianapolis finish get to him - in him, the 48th State had finally found a worthy successor to the late Jimmy Bryan.

 

 

 

It didn’t hurt McCluskey’s ambitions that Parnelli Jones, National Sprint Car Champion for the past two years, decided to forfait his title, even before winning the big one in May. Jones chose to support his Championship Car campaign instead by racing in the lucrative USAC Stock Car division, which had grown to respectable size the past two years, and was beginning a worrying trend to drain the Sprint Car division of talent… Joining Jones as a star attraction on the Stock car circuit was A. J. Foyt, although the 28-year-old Texan wasn’t going to give up the Sprint car title without a fight! (…) In the end, he finished runner-up in both divisions to complement his third National Championship in four years, but if anyone is ever going to pull off the trick to win all three titles in one year, it will be Foyt!



#10 Michael Ferner

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Posted 05 April 2020 - 09:46

At the risk of confusing the issue even more, here's some historical background to the development of the different racing classes in the US: at the very beginning of the 20th century, (road) races were mostly contested by regular road going vehicles, suitably adapted for racing, but soon also by specially built racing cars ("freak racers"), mostly for (dirt) track racing - a good example for the latter is the "Wasp" Marmon which won the inaugural Indy 500. Between the wars, road racing had practically disappeared from the scene, and with it manufacturers had all but left the sport, so that only a very few companies (basically only Miller; Duesenberg and Frontenac) were left to build very special racing cars for the now prevalent board speedways at the upper end of the spectrum, while "home-made" specials ruled the roost in dirt track racing, with mostly only little interaction between the two. By the early thirties, the board speedways had gone, and so had the last of the manufacturers, to leave the field entirely to the home-built specials, which were becoming more and more professional in appearance and specification, thanks to the emerging race shop industry, and a number of individuals schooled in the mechanical wonders of the "Golden Age", some of which raced on as leftovers for years and years.

 

At the same time, Midget racing (the US form of Voiturette/Cyclecar racing) emerged and soon became a very big business indeed, usually running on all sorts of small (i.e. up to a quarter mile in circumference) ovals all over the country, dirt or paved, while the traditional "Big cars" ran almost exclusively on dirt tracks of one half mile or more - for the benefit of clarity, we will ignore the (Modified) stock car races here, which also emerged around this same time. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the only paved Big car track for most of the thirties, forties and fifties, and also by far the richest race in all of the US, so it always attracted special attention by the racing car builders, and some cars were built specifically for Indianapolis, and rarely (if ever) raced anywhere else. This sort of car formed the nucleus for what would soon be called the "Championship car" class, while the cars run at the usually much shorter dirt track races became known as "Sprint cars", although there was no formal distinction for many years. Eventually, minimum wheel base sizes were introduced in the fifties, restricting AAA Champ(ionship) cars to 96 inches and more, Sprint cars to between 84 and 96 inches, and Midgets to under 84 inches. This was more or less only the official sanction for the already existing status quo, and most independent clubs followed these rules "in spirit", if not formally.

 

By the fifties, a regular "circuit" of 100 mile plus dirt track races for Champ cars had been established, although a very few Sprint car or even Midget races of similar distances were also staged from time to time. During that same decade, a new breed of Championship cars evolved at Indianapolis, nicknamed the "roadsters", which turned out to be not competitive on dirt tracks with cars of the traditional layout, and some of the bigger teams now had a roadster for Indianapolis and the increasing number of one mile paved tracks such as Milwaukee and Trenton, and a (Championship) dirt car for the traditional dirt tracks. This brings us neatly to the prevalent situation in 1963, before the advent of the rear-engined cars, the Super Modifieds and winged Sprint cars later in the sixties. Professional drivers in the decade usually ran Championship and Sprint cars every weekend, often accompanied by Stock car races on rare off-weekends and mid-week Midget races. Some teams, like Bruce Homeyer's Konstant Hot outfit, provided their star signings with rides in all four single-seater categories, and thus Roger McCluskey had the pick of four cars when he joined the New Jersey team in the summer of 1962:


Edited by Michael Ferner, 05 April 2020 - 10:14.


#11 Michael Ferner

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Posted 05 April 2020 - 13:41

imsc6229.jpg

 

This was the showpiece of the collection, the former Bob Estes Special Indianapolis roadster, fourth place finisher in the 1960 Indy 500, driven by Don Branson. It had been built in 1959 by Estes chief mechanic, Jud Phillips, and Dave Boyer in Inglewood/CA, debuted with a retirement at Indy in 1959, then finished 5th at the Trenton Fair 100 miler in the fall before collecting two more retirements in 1960, always driven by Branson. Bruce Homeyer, who'd gotten into racing in 1958 by running a couple of Midgets in the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC), the foremost independent Midget organization in the East (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania & New England) before entering the USAC Sprint car circuit in 1960 with the 1954 Sweigart/Offenhauser (ex-Wally Campbell, Al Keller, Bill Holland, Van Johnson etc.), bought the entire Estes team, including the services of chief mechanic Jud Phillips, when Californian Bob Estes retired from the sport at the end of 1960. Al Keller had an excellent run for Homeyer in the former Estes Special, finishing 5th at Indy, second at Milwaukee five days later and 12th at the Milwaukee 200-miler during the fair in August, but sadly perished at Phoenix three months later. Bud Tingelstad could only finish 15th at Indy in '62, then Bob Mathouser failed to qualify at Milwaukee and Don Freeland was 11th at Trenton in July, before McCluskey debuted in the car with 6th at the Milwaukee 200, but spun out at the Trenton 200. Technically, it was a Watson copy with an upright 252 Offenhauser installed to the left for weight bias, and torsion bar suspension all around, leading at the front and trailing at the rear. For the 1963 Indy 500, Homeyer bought a brand new Watson for McCluskey, and this car served as a backup, but since both were not part of Duncan's kit I don't need to dwell upon them any longer.

 

 

 

8e4cce8e63dc347ab82f87adc14d6ec9.jpg

 

Sadly, I couldn't find a better picture in a hurry, but this is the 1959 Bob Estes Special Championship dirt car, driven by Don Branson and here leading the not-yet-famous A. J. Foyt in an early ride with the already famous Dean Van Lines Special Kuzma/Offenhauser, the most successful Championship dirt car ever, and driven to many victories by Bob Sweikert and Jimmy Bryan but, strangely, none by Foyt! The Estes car, also built in 1959 and also by Jud Phillips and Dave Boyer, was, alongside the Leader Card Special Watson/Offenhauser of the same year, the first car to follow the lead set by Wally Meskowski in 1958 in building a dirt car with roadster suspension, namely transversely mounted torsion bars all around, leading at the front and trailing at the rear. This so-called "four-bar" setup had revolutionized Indianapolis cars in the past decade, and was going to transform dirt track racing over the coming ones. Jud Phillips had been a long-time buddy and associate of A. J. Watson, going way back to the hot-rodding days in pre-WW2 California, and it's probably not an accident that their cars looked much alike. Both, for instance, had taken another leaf from the book of roadster construction by using an engine with the block turned around on the crankcase, and exhausting to the left. Whether that made any appreciable difference (weight distribution? driver comfort?) is far from clear, and both were eventually rebuilt with conventional setups. Notice the rollover bars on both cars in the photo, a new USAC requirement for 1959 - Jud Phillips had been a pioneer in the use of those, fitting one to his 1956 Sprint car, certainly one of the earliest to ever use this driver protection feature.

 

Driven exclusively by Don Branson throughout 1959 and '60, the Bob Estes Special performed well, but did win only one non-points race, for an experimental TV series pilot at Langhorne in 1960, which never got any further. An excellent qualifier throughout his career, Branson however took eight pole positions with the car, including one on its second ever appearance, and finished second in three consecutive dirt track races late in 1959. When Homeyer bought the team for the 1961 season, he had Jack Rounds, Al Keller (who took another couple of pole positions, before crashing fatally with the car), Dick Rathmann, Don Davis and Don Freeland drive to a few top six finishes before he hired McCluskey in late July of 1962. Roger added another pole position in his first outing with the car, but like his predecessors behind the wheel he failed to record a top three finish. When Homeyer dissolved his team before the 1964 season (transferring the "Konstant Hot" sponsorship to the Tassi Vatis team of New York), the old Estes Special disappeared into the "wilderness" of local Sprint car activity - the last note I have for it is of 1968, when New Mexico's Bud Leonard seems to have raced it in Arizona and California as well as his home state.


Edited by Michael Ferner, 05 April 2020 - 16:13.


#12 E1pix

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Posted 05 April 2020 - 14:49

I just caught myself speed-reading your post while it was still there. ;-)

#13 Collombin

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Posted 05 April 2020 - 15:43

For the 1963 Indy 500, Homeyer bought a brand new Watson for McCluskey


This car was entered in the 1964 Indy 500 as the wonderfully named "Nothing Special".

#14 Michael Ferner

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Posted 05 April 2020 - 16:42

That's right, Collombin - I neglected to mention that because it's not really part of Duncan's collection.

 

 

bradley-4.jpg

 

 

Here now's the real star of the team's stable of cars, the beautiful and extremely effective Konstant Hot Special Sprint car. Built in 1962 by Phillips for his new boss, it was extremely successful, almost from the start - it failed to qualify for its first two shows, though. Ernie McCoy, Don Branson and A. J. Foyt drove it before McCluskey came aboard, and both Branson and Foyt took a win and a pole position apiece with it. McCluskey first drove the car at Eldora on July 29, took pole position, won the fast heat and led the main event from flag to flag - wow! He won again on the Winchester asphalt and the Reading Fairgrounds dirt track, then went to California for a couple of end-of-season programmes at Ascot, winning them both to secure the Owners Championship for Homeyer over Harlan Fike, the owner of back-to-back National Sprint Car Champion Parnelli Jones. McCluskey and the Konstant Hot Special hit the floor running in 1963, and were simply uncatchable - details of that campaign can be observed in the 1963 thread mentioned and linked to above. That, however, is not the end of the story - not by a long way!

 

Homeyer's 11th hour decision to dissolve his team in early 1964 left a few people wrong footed - everybody was seemingly fully occupied preparing for the upcoming season, and nobody seems to have fancied adding another car to his team at such short notice, so the back-to-back championships winning car was picked up by a 28-year-old Gokart manufacturer from Ohio, who fancied having a go at Sprint car racing. Whether Mickey Rupp had any experience in racing outside of karting is still open for debate, but he did appear for the traditional Eastern Opener at Reading end of March, qualified easily in a field of more than two dozen nationally known Sprint car stars, and finished ninth in the main event - just like that! Better still, he made the main event 16 times in twenty tries, finished in the points 15 times, including a second place at Allentown in September (ahead of Foyt, Branson, Marshman, Rutherford, Andretti and Johncock…!!) and ran in the top ten in points all year, finally finishing ninth! All of which opened the door for him to compete in a few Indy car races, including the 1965 '500', which he survived to finish an excellent sixth, and even before summer was over, he'd sold his car, packed up his things and gone back to Ohio to continue manufacturing Gokarts, mini bikes and the like until he tired of it, went to Canada to manufacture snowmobiles, thence to Florida to build boats - a true racing maverick!

 

Next to own the former Konstant Hot Special was Clarence Anderson of Xenia, a suburb of Dayton in Western Ohio, just a couple of hours down the road from Rupp's place in Mansfield/OH. Anderson, known as "Mutt" in racing circles, had been a motorcycle and car racer in the thirties, then an owner and mechanic for drivers like Ev Saylor, Tony Willman, Rex Mays, Jimmy Davies, Troy Ruttman, Mike Nazaruk, Andy Linden or Eddie Sachs before leaving the sport to work as a butcher in the family business. The lure of racing was too strong, however, and the prospect of owning such a potent car too exciting. When the 1965 USAC Sprint car trail stopped at Eldora/OH for round two of the National Championship, Anderson rolled out his car with a surprise driver, West coast star Bob Hogle, who'd never driven in the area before, but finished an impressive sixth. For the next race at New Bremen/OH, Anderson hired IMCA star Carl Williams of Missouri, another completely unknown, who went on to finish second, and after another runner-up finish on the banked asphalt track at Winchester a few weeks later, Mutt was approached by Roger McCluskey, who'd been out of a regular Sprint car ride since breaking an arm the same day that Rupp had debuted at Reading in early 1964! Roger and Mutt quickly agreed terms, and McCluskey was back in the hot seat of his championship ride in 1963. A succession of excellent finishes (but no wins!) saw the combination climb up to fifth on drivers points and fourth in owners points by year end - good, but not good enough!

 

The 1966 season turned out to be a virtual replay of the 1963 campaign - if anything, McCluskey and the old Konstant Hot Special were even more dominant than before: Eight wins, six seconds, four thirds and three fourths in 26 races left Roger streets ahead of Mario Andretti and Bobby Unser in points, and earned Mutt his first ever title in racing - for the car, it was the third in five years! It was too good to last, though: after a couple of poor results early in 1967, McCluskey quit the team to concentrate on Indy car racing henceforth, and was replaced by the likes of Bobby Unser, A. J. Foyt, Johnny Rutherford, Bruce Walkup, Billy Vukovich and Larry Dickson - all capable drivers, but they all moved on after just a few races, and by 1968 Anderson had become a part-time racer, his heart was no longer in it. When he was approached by fellow Dayton townsman George (II) Walther, who was looking for a car for his boat racing sons to enter auto racing, Mutt was willing to sell. David "Salt" Walther raced the old car for two seasons on his way to a substantial, if troubled career in Indy cars and beyond, while George (III) "Skip" Walther tried the car at least once, but failed to qualify. I don't know what happened next to the car, but I suspect it was raced on for years in local competition.


Edited by Michael Ferner, 05 April 2020 - 19:32.


#15 Michael Ferner

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Posted 05 April 2020 - 20:52

s-l1600.jpg

 

 

I don't seem to be able to find a picture of the real thing, so here goes… Midget cars are a lot more difficult to research than Big cars, because there's little trustworthy information out there, and while period newspapers often give (basic) results for drivers, car information is extremely difficult to come up with, and because of the expansive nature of Midget racing in the early post-war years it's almost impossible to piece together even remotely accurate case histories. This car was apparently a 1949 Kurtis-Kraft chassis "O-347-49", sold new to Pat Ryan from the Philadelphia suburb of Haverford, who I have racing regularly at the nearby Hatfield Speedway in 1950, without too much success. Those races were presumably ARDC sanctioned, and Ryan is said to have entered his car for other drivers in ARDC events until 1958, although I have one entry in a 1953 AAA show at Williams Grove for veteran driver Walt Fair from Norristown (another Philadelphia suburb) which appears to have been in this same car - Fair qualified 38th in a field of 45, and did not start in the main event won by Frank Burany.

 

Bruce Homeyer apparently bought this car in 1958 and ran it, initially as #28, in ARDC events for drivers like Tony Romit and Bobby Marshman. The picture gets confused by the fact that Homeyer owned another Midget, a "roadster type" built by Frank Kurtis after selling his interests in the Kurtis-Kraft company. The chassis number of that car was apparently "2-57", the second of only half a dozen cars built to that design, and the first of these to actually race in December of 1956. Homeyer ran this car as #27. There was a third car in the mix, owned by Homeyer's girl friend, Lori B. Ross, a "fashion model" and former Miss New Jersey, according to sources; this was #29, and a 1948 Kurtis-Kraft chassis "O-286-48". Who drove which car in any given event is anybody's guess!

 

Roger McCluskey was not a frequent runner in Midget events, he competed in only two races in 1961 (finishing third in one, and 44th in USAC National points), and only six in '62. That year, he won three of those six races, but only one of them in the Homeyer car (Champaign/IL on July 28, the day before his first, victorious ride in the Homeyer Sprint), and he was 8th at the prestigious Hut 100 in Terre Haute/IN, most probably driving for Homeyer, finishing the year 26th in USAC National points. In 1963, he competed in 14 races, most of them probably in the Homeyer car, with a best finish of third at Columbus/IN on August 2. No other top five finish came his way that year, and the only other results I can find are an eighth at Miami/FL (March 3) and two ninth place finishes at Wall Stadium/NJ (July 22) and Seekonk/MA (July 25). He was 34th in USAC National points for the year with 50.7 points, far behind National Champion Bob Wente (411.05 points, albeit with 48 starts).

 

Engine rules for USAC Midgets in 1963 were probably 1,800 cc (109.8 cubic inches) for OHC designs and 2,540 cc (155.0 cubic inches) for "stock blocks". USAC ran only one National Championship with 72 races, 42 on dirt tracks, 29 on paved ovals, and one on a road circuit (Watkins Glen).


Edited by Michael Ferner, 06 April 2020 - 20:01.


#16 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 06 April 2020 - 03:00

Not really that hard to work out what was what.

Here in Oz our cars tended to follow the US cars. From the 50s [and even before] midgets were one limit for twin cams [Offys] and then 150ci or so for pushrod engines. Here in Oz we had Ford As. Vauxhalls, a LOT of grey Holdens and a couple of V8 60s. By the late 60s a lot of grey Holdens, several Offys, a few Sescos [yep the engine design still in use now] Chevy 2s and then the more offbeat such as SC Consul engines, Renaults and Puegoets. Plus Volvos and the like. Any half decent pushrod of under 150ci. Then came the VW revolution rendering Offys as uncompetitive and USAC allowed bigger capacity Offys.

 

In the US sprintcars  were a little more complex and many used the 'big' Offys or pushrod small blocks with bigger capacity. Chevs were and still the most common and best. USAC were 5 litre non wing and then other bodies had initially 360ci cars with wings. Chassis were similar or the same.

In recent decades the WoO cars became [WHY?} 410 ci engines. Which has been adopted here as well. Which on our generally smaller tracks eat drivelines. Crown and pin is good for 6-8 shows whereas our 360s run them a season without crashes.

 

As for suspensions,, crossbar rears have been around for over 60  years and make sense. Transverse front though works very well and is cheap and simple and at least here was common on both midgets and sprints until around 1980. San Jose Supermods which was our way into Sprinters used transverse front and rear until late 70s. Which by then our cars eventually evolved into modern sprintcars But had to use clutches until about 77. Many Supermods raced on until around 80-81 by which they were extinct in main tracks though many went onto race on in the country for a few years more. 

Being involved with these cars, both in period and as classics for near 30 years I have seen the changes. In the 70s these cars were powered by all sorts of engines, from a Repco headed grey Holden, Red Holden 6s, Ford 6s both 250 and 300 truck engines,  slant 6s as well as Hemi 6s,A & LA Chrysler, Ford Windsor, and ofcourse Chevs of all sizes from 283 based engines to very strong 360s. One very original 70s car was a 307 bored to 4" . Using 283 'powerpack' heads and 2 1/16 injection. Though many cars in that period still used carbs.


Edited by Lee Nicolle, 03 January 2022 - 02:20.


#17 D-Type

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Posted 07 April 2020 - 10:57

Many thanks for taking the time to dig out all that information. 
On reflection, perhaps I should have paid the additional £10 for the AJ Foyt set.



#18 bradbury west

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Posted 07 April 2020 - 11:58

What a wonderful , classic, TNF thread this is. I congratulate Duncan for the initiative in buying the items , then trying to research them, and for his honesty for asking for info. on a topic which, for most of us here, is far from mainstream in our knowledge box. It is what this place is supposed to be about, and is a far cry from posters citing a topic then going into Gimme, Gimme, Gimme mode ,expecting all and sundry to do their work for them, sharing what is often carefully researched information or history, only to see the OP then clear off into the yonder.
I congratulate Michael for his expansive and detailed posts. It is always a joy to see someone given their opportunity to share their specialist knowledge. Thanks, too to other posters.
As a youth I read about Indy races in The Autocar and Autosport, - the Leader Card Roadster and Rodger Ward, plus the John Zink Trackburner Specials, rear engined to boot... and Gurney, and for other reasons in recent years, the MG Liquid Suspension Specials, along with the Sheraton Hotels cars, plus JC at Trenton and Milwaukee in period, but that mainly due to JC being the driver.
It is always a joy to learn about new stuff out of the blue.
Many thanks
Roger Lund

#19 carl s

carl s
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Posted 01 January 2022 - 04:58

Bobby Marshman and The Konstant Hot Midget - I think at Hatfield Speedway PA.

Bobby Marshman - Probably Hatfield Speedway PA | clamshack | Flickr



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#20 Michael Ferner

Michael Ferner
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Posted 12 January 2022 - 17:43

Tenuous link to the topic*, but a very interesting video about Karl Kinser's first Sprint car (* which he says he copied off McCluskey's Konstant Hot Special):

 

THE LEGEND OF BIG BERTHA, WITH KARL KINSER & KEITH FORD - YouTube

 

 

I didn't know Karl was still alive, but he looks good and fit for an octogenarian!! :up: