*Just* learned about Kevin Ward Jr’s death at the age of 20 (I don’t follow the news) (and saw one of the videos of it). RIP. I remember watching Microstock racing; Modified lawn-mower engines or go-cart engines back in the late 1980s when my mother was dating a guy who raced them; – Wikipedia’s entry has the heyday of Microstock racing listed as the 1980s; and I believe that’s probably true.
The Microstock were just slightly bigger than the drivers themselves. Pine Brook Speedway in Pine Brook, NJ. was their home-base back then. The sport generally appears to be a very local-to-New Jersey phenomenon, with race tracks in NJ, PA and NY.
But Microstock, though was different than another class of cars that often showed up in the same shows;
TQ-Midget. They are only slightly bigger but were about twice as powerful.
They’re also known as 3/4 midgets. You could feel the difference in the ”buzzing” around the track, even though they weren’t much bigger than Microstock.
Then you have the:
The Midget cars. They have a distinctive look and typically use 4 cylinder engines. They go quite fast; and you could feel the difference. Future NASCAR hopefuls often get their feet wet on this class of cars.
Finally, you have the size of Sprint cars.
The cars only slightly bigger than the Midgets but they are *LOUD*. They usually have distinctive wings on top of them.
These have *very* powerful engines in them; they can go to speeds up to 140 mph; many of them use 8 cylinder engines.
And… well, you could *feel* the danger of these bigger cars as they raced around the track. These cars were not modified go carts at all; they are big cars in small packages. NASCAR racers often use them for training purposes as they can get up to the kinds of speeds they need for the faster racing.
That’s about all I know about small cars and racing. Being late to knowledge of the tragedy, I felt the need to say something a little more, giving honor to the small car racing industry which many people enjoy.
Condolences to Kevin Ward Jr’s family and to Tony Stewart and his family.