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MOUSE MELIUS

Stock car races in 1958 northern Illinois, consisted in a quarter mile oval dirt track in a field, with wooden stands about 50 rows high on either side, high lighting on poles, and the pits for the race cars at one end outside the oval. It was like a high school football stadium night-game except it was racing.

Cars took practice laps before the start of the night's events which were 7 in number. There was first a Demolition Derby of old junk cars, approximately a dozen or so, of anything from the thirties to early fifties junkers. The object was for the cars to smash into each other at speeds from about a mile or two, up to 15 miles an hour. The event took place in the grassy center of the track, but cars were not forbidden from going onto the track. Cars that smashed from the front often destroyed their radiators with the fluid running on to the ground and steam billowing from under the hood. Some cars became disabled so that they could only be driven in reverse and had to smash that way. Sometimes this was done by design. The last car able to move was the winner.

The next events were four qualifying heats of the stock cars proper. These were usually the bodies of Model A Ford or other early model coups, of late twenties early thirties vintage, chosen for their small size. These bodies were adapted to more modern frames, with the latest suspension, brake systems, rear axles, tranies or transmissions and souped up late model high horse power fifties engines. They were capable of reaching speeds of 60 to 80 miles per hour on the straights, of the water slicked mud track.

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