Thirty-two of the world's finest Midget car drivers have been honored in a trading card set produced by open-wheel photographer David Sink. The card set is called Midget Champions of the World. Some of the best Midget photography from top professionals is included to honor champions from the United States, New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, and South Africa. U.S. drivers include Dave Darland, Tony Elliott, Mel Kenyon, Davey Ray, Cory Kruseman, Bobby East, Dave Steele, and Aaron Fike. The Australian brigade includes Adam Clarke, Brett Morris, and Mark Brown. New Zealand is appropriately represented with stars such as Michael Pickens, Bryce Townsend, and Graham Standring.

To produce this set, Sink spent countless hours gathering statistics found on the reverse side of the card. An avid Midget race car fan, Sink travels extensively each season to most of the major Midget events in the U.S. He has also made the trek to New Zealand for the last two seasons to watch Midget racing.

Limited to just 1,000 copies worldwide, the card set is also available in an uncut sheet form. Each sells for $8 (please add shipping and handling; $1.50 for a card set, $3 for a sheet. Foreign orders, please contact for shipping). To purchase a set while supplies last, send check or money order to Midget Champions of the World, c/o David Sink, 2219 Kayhill Dr., Anderson, IN 46012. E-mail inquiries to mrlittle500@aol.com.

Semper Fi
The United States Marine Corps, together with Paramount's Kings Island, SoffSeal Inc., and Keen Parts, will hold the Third Annual Toys For Tots Cruise on Sunday, October 31. The drive starts in any of five locations: Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Cincinnati, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; or Louisville, Kentucky. Cruisers will arrive at Kings Island, and those who give the first 2,000 donations will receive free admission to the amusement park. A car show will be held in the parking lot from noon to 3 p.m. A custom bike by the Orange County Choppers will be raffled with the drawing held at 2 p.m. in Paramount Kings Island. Last year's event raised nearly $30,000 and loads of toys which brightened the holidays of needy youngsters. All proceeds are distributed in the five local areas where the cruise originates.

Bob Memmer
As the 2004 United Midwestern Promoters (UMP) Summernationals was winding its way through the Midwest on July 8, the word arrived. UMP founder Bob Memmer had died at the age of 69 after an extended hospitalization.

Memmer was known as a champion for the little man in dirt racing. Inspired by the work of NDRA founder Robert Smawley, Memmer took Smawley's traveling series rules and adapted them to the weekly short tracks. With body styles getting out of hand, Memmer convinced a small group of promoters to abide by standardized rules. The idea grew throughout the region as tracks began to embrace the concept. This led to lower costs for many racers and kept the headlining Late Model class strong in places where UMP served as the guideline.

That group of six tracks extended to more than 100, with Modifieds also coming into the UMP fold. In 2002 the national champions of the Late Model and Modified divisions were rewarded with $100,000 each. The points gathered at UMP-sanctioned events determined the national championships. A driver could choose to stay at one track or perhaps travel to a distant track. Any UMP-legal car could race at another UMP track and expect to be within the rules.

Memmer's grueling Summer-nationals provided a test for local racers to match wits with the travelers. Those wishing to secure the Summernationals championship had to square off at some of the UMP weekly stalwart tracks, and the locals always gave the visitors a run for their money. The series, which runs consecutive nights for more than two weeks, gave local racers a chance to test the waters at other tracks with lucrative payouts. The 2004 Summernationals had a 26-race schedule over 27 days. The final tally saw five rainouts for a total of 21 races.