The minimum age for a driver's license in California is 16, but on this private ½-mile track at Anaheim, near Los Angeles, kids 3 to 12 years away from being allowed on the road zip around in low-slung racing cars that look like they would be right at home in the Indianapolis 500. Figuratively the Anaheim racers would just about fit in Bill Vukovich's coat pocket for they are specially designed for small fry with hot rods in their hearts.
Powered by a Continental, four-cycle, nine-cubic-inch gasoline engine, the tiny cars use direct drive and with the pedal jammed to the floor by an adroitly lead-footed youngster have hit 25 mph. Despite this relatively high speed and the tender age of the drivers, mothers view the proceedings at the Anaheim Jelly Bean Bowl calmly. Rigid safety precautions—i.e., crash helmets, wheel spans which eliminate any possibility of a car turning over, safety belts, and shatter-proof goggles—bar injury. Fathers, many of whom have raced midget or big cars, taste the exquisite joy of putting together the small cars, either from scratch with special kits or with major components, such as body and frame, already assembled, at a cost of $300 to $1,000.
The minutes before the big race begins are tense ones. A few drivers with nerves of steel chatter aimlessly; others reach for a chew of candy to steady their nerves; some seek further instructions and encouragement from their pitmen (their parents). Suddenly the starter's flag goes down: the racers are off in a haze of exhaust fumes and dirt
Cracker-Jack Chaw settles taut nerves of driver Bobby Parks, 6, who stands beside his car in pit area, watching a race.
Rounding a turn at start of main event, Jimmy Caruthers, 9, in car 7 takes the lead. Jimmy won the race, received a small cup for his efforts. His father, Doug, is the founder of the Quarter Racing Association.
Girl driver Donna Richards, 8, patiently waits for the race to begin while her father, Earl, kneels beside the tiny car.
Before-the-race Chat occupies driver Dick Raab Jr., 5, and Bobby Olivero, 6, who straddles car's hood. Dick is already strapped in his seat.
Instructions from his father are received by Bobby Olivero with the cocky assurance of a veteran.
Back straight-away is setting for duel in main event. Jimmy Caruthers in car 7 continues to hold his lead while Don Henderson, 10, in car 98 tries desperately to catch him before second turn. Spectators look on behind fence in background.
Consolation is offered to Danny Caruthers, 4, by Monte Smit, 7, after Danny recorded poor qualifying time in a heat.
Blue Ribbon for taking third place in slow cars race is held up proudly by Danny, who is youngest driver in the association.
EDWARD A. HANDLER