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King of the Midgets
1974 USAC National Midget Champion 1977 USAC National Midget Champion
The 1970's


    1970's Summary:

      1970 - Jimmy Caruthers, son of long-time car owner Doug Caruthers, took over his father's mount in 1970, shortly after completing a two-year stint in the Army, and won the 1970 title by nosing out Dave Strickland in the final race.

      1971 - Jimmy Caruthers had to play second fiddle to his 21 year old little brother, Danny Caruthers, who came back to the Midwest hopeful of winding up somewhere in the top five. Danny won 12 races and had already iced the title when his brief but brilliant career tragically came to an end with fatal injuries sustained in a Midget accident after his throttle stuck open at Corona raceway in California, just before the season ended.

      1972 - A revised point system came into effect in 1972 and is virtually the same as the one currently employed. The season was just as tight as ever, with 22 year-old Duane "Pancho" Carter almost dead-locked with Billy Engelhart going into the last race. Carter came out the winner by nine points.

      1973 - Larry Rice, a former school teacher, was the winner of a three-way struggle in 1973, besting Tommy Astone, the brother-in-law of Billy Vukovich and Bobby Olivero, who as a boy raced quarter midgets against the Caruther brothers and others. Olivero's mount was on it's way to revolutionizing midget racing, for just as the Offenhauser-powered Kurtis Kraft midgets dominated the post-war years and were then superseded in the late 1960's by the Sesco (one bank of a V-8 Chevrolet), so the Sesco found itself being beaten by Olivero's car, powered of all things by a Volkswagon. Unlikely as it may have seemed at first, it wasn't long before the "Vee-Dubs" reigned supreme.

      1974 - Mel Kenyon's record-breaking fourth title came in 1974.

      1975 - 76 - Nobody could touch Ron "Sleepy" Tripp as he won back-to-back titles in '75 and '76. Tripp, another Californian who had raced quarter midgets almost before he had started school..

      1977 - Mel Kenyon won his fifth USAC Midget championship title.

      1978 - Rich Vogler won his first USAC Midget championship title in 1978.

      1979 - Steve Lotshaw, a two time runner-up, pulled an upset by coming from behind to outscore Mel Kenyon in the final race by only four points.


    1970
    Mel Kenyon's USAC Midget stats for 1970

      Starts..................19
      Feature Wins........1
      Runner Ups...........3
      3rd Place..............1
      4th Place..............1
      5th Place..............0
      6th - 10th.............3
      Failed to Qual.......2
      Season Results...12th

    1971
    Mel Kenyon's USAC Midget stats for 1971

      Starts....................8
      Feature Wins........1
      Runner Ups...........0
      3rd Place..............2
      4th Place..............0
      5th Place..............2
      6th - 10th.............3
      Failed to Qual.......0
      Season Results...20th

    1973
    Mel Kenyon's USAC Midget stats for 1973

      Starts..................20
      Feature Wins........2
      Runner Ups...........3
      3rd Place..............3
      4th Place..............0
      5th Place..............3
      6th - 10th.............2
      Failed to Qual.......2
      Season Results.....7th

    January 7, 1973 - Allen County Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne - Mel finishes second in the 100 lap feature which is won by late entry Johnny Parsons Jr.

    January 28, 1973 - Allen County Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne - Mel finishes third in the 100 lap feature which is won by USAC Sprint Champ Larry Dickson. Mel is crowned "Indoor Champ" with a second and a third place finish in the two races.

    Photo courtesy of "Racing Pictorial" 1973 Spring Edition

    Photo courtesy of "Racing Pictorial" 1973 Spring Edition
    April 28, 1973 - Lima, Ohio Mel Kenyon wins the USAC Midget feature race and heads to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for practice with a smile and a win.

    1974
    1974 USAC National Midget Champion
    Mel Kenyon's USAC Midget stats for 1974

      Starts..................36
      Feature Wins........4
      Runner Ups...........4
      3rd Place..............3
      4th Place..............5
      5th Place..............3
      6th - 10th.............3
      Failed to Qual.......1
      Season Results.....National Champion (by 112 points over Tommy Astone)
      1974 USAC National Midget Champion


    Photo courtesy of www.openwheelracing.com
    Mel on the Action Track at Terre Haute in 1974.


    Taken from "A Hand For the Wheel" by Jack Albinson
    Rich Vogler #8 and Larry Cannon #31 battle it out with Mel.

    1975
    Mel Kenyon's USAC Midget stats for 1975

      Starts..................26
      Feature Wins........2
      Runner Ups...........4
      3rd Place..............2
      4th Place..............3
      5th Place..............2
      6th - 10th.............5
      Failed to Qual.......5
      Season Results.....3rd


    Taken from "A Hand For the Wheel" by Jack Albinson
    Mel with sons Vaughn & Brice and a friend at Terre Haute in 1975.

    1976
    Mel Kenyon's USAC Midget stats for 1976

      Starts..................24
      Feature Wins........2
      Runner Ups...........2
      3rd Place..............3
      4th Place..............2
      5th Place..............6
      6th - 10th.............3
      Failed to Qual.......3
      Season Results.....4th

    1977
    1974 USAC National Midget Champion
    Mel Kenyon's USAC Midget stats for 1977

      Starts..................43
      Feature Wins........5
      Runner Ups...........7
      3rd Place............12
      4th Place..............5
      5th Place..............0
      6th - 10th.............3
      Failed to Qual.....12
      Season Results.....National Champion (by 287 points over Johnny Parsons Jr.)
      1977 USAC National Midget Champion


    Taken from "A Hand For the Wheel" by Jack Albinson
    Mel on the pole in the 4-wide parade lap.


    News release courtesy of Tom Eidemiller
    Fellowship of Christian Athletes news release.

    April 19, 1977 - It is announced that Mel will be presented with the FCA's Professional Award at the National Recognition Banquet on May 3 1977 in Indianapolis.

    1978
    Mel Kenyon's USAC Midget stats for 1978

      Starts..................28
      Feature Wins........2
      Runner Ups...........3
      3rd Place..............3
      4th Place..............4
      5th Place..............2
      6th - 10th.............7
      Failed to Qual.......4
      Season Results.....3rd

    1979
    Mel Kenyon's USAC Midget stats for 1979

      Starts..................41
      Feature Wins........5
      Runner Ups...........9
      3rd Place..............2
      4th Place..............5
      5th Place..............5
      6th - 10th.............8
      Failed to Qual.......2
      Season Results.....2nd (closest ever USAC points - Mel lost to Steve Lotshaw by 4 points)

    Mel at the Tri-State Speedway in 1979
    Photo courtesy of www.openwheelracing.com
    Mel at the Tri-State Speedway in 1979.


    With God You're Always A Winner!
    1964 USAC National Midget Champion 1967 USAC National Midget Champion 1968 USAC National Midget Champion 1974 USAC National Midget Champion 1977 USAC National Midget Champion 1981 USAC National Midget Champion 1985 USAC National Midget Champion 1995 NAMARS Midget Champion 1996 NAMARS Midget Champion 1997 NAMARS Midget Champion

    #61 - Mel Kenyon: King of the Midgets
    This site born on March 10, 2004


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