Harry McQuinn

Harry McQuinn "King of the Midgets": Dirt Track, Sprint Car, and Midget Racer; Airplane Pilot; and Race Official


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This book is a compilation of the racing career (and beyond) of Harry McQuinn who was dubbed “King of the Midgets” and ran with the “Chicago Gang.” It’s an historical narrative to chronicle the information about his career and to tell the story of someone who came before and helped blaze the path in auto racing.

The information has been assembled by Dr. Brad T Tinkle who, as a child, fondly remembers fishing and boating with his great grandparents, Harry and Juanita McQuinn. He recalls many of “Daddy Harry’s” racing stories, trophies, injuries, and scars, but didn’t have a true understanding of the significance of his racing career since Harry had long retired by that time.

These memories didn’t come to the forefront until decades later when his son, Zachary Tinkle, started his stock car racing career, which plunged Brad into learning about mechanics, car set up, and spotting. While traveling around to the different tracks, he started to notice photos of Harry at different tracks during events like Hall of Fame weekend at Grundy County Speedway.

He delved into family archives, newspaper archives, and track historical records to bring Harry’s stories to light. People that heencountered that knew or knew of Harry have different perspectives. Some remember him as a firm race official. Othersremember that he is the first and only person to land an airplane on the Brickyard. And, others recall his contribution to the start of NASCAR® because of his kicking Mr. France out of a race track. Many know the stories, but may not have necessarily known the man behind them.

Included in the book are:

• Early Years- McQuinn falls in love… with cars.

• Dirt Track Racing (1924-1934)- McQuinn didn’t have the best start to his racing career, but he persisted to become one of the best in the Midwest.

• Big Car Racing (1934-1948)- Living in the shadow of the Indianapolis Speedway, he aspired to join the 500 race. He made his dream come true, but routinely had bad luck. However, he still managed to get two top tens in ten starts.

• Midget Racing (1934 – 1946)- Midgets roared onto the Midwest scene in 1934 and 1935. McQuinn fell in love with the little dynamos and wheeled them with furor, making his name known coast to coast.

• Race Officiating (1949-1969)- McQuinn was well experienced in racing and when he was done as a driver, he still continued in his love of racing. He was considered stern, but fair and had his share of controversy.

• Piloting (Airplane)- World War II introduced McQuinn to airplanes and he enlisted in the reserve. He worked hard to have the airplane as much a part of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the race car was.

• Later Years- Having retired from racing activities after 45 years, he accepted a quieter life. His accomplishments were still recognized long thereafter.

Reading the excerpts and stories about Harry McQuinn gives an appreciation for the safety issues with racing and how far standards have come across all series. For anyone that has dealt with issues with racing mechanics and politics, reading the evolution of Harry McQuinn’s career gives them a respect for what it took for McQuinn to make a career of racing, both on and off the track.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781943356553
Publisher: Left Paw Press
Publication date: 08/08/2017
Pages: 328
Sales rank: 1,184,253
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

For his 'day' job, Brad T. Tinkle, M.D., Ph.D., is the Division Head of Advocate Children's Hospital in the Chicago, Illinois area. Dr. Brad, as he's called by many of his patients, specializes in caring for individuals with heritable connective tissue disorders such as Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, Marfan syndrome, osteogenesis imperfecta, and achondroplasia among the many. Dr. Tinkle has authored medical articles, book chapters, and two books on EDS: "Issues and Management of Joint Hypermobility." (2008) and "The Joint Hypermobility Handbook" (2010) and is internationally recognized as an expert in the care and management of those with EDS.

He earned a Bachelor's in Science for Engineering (BSE) in genetic engineering from Purdue University in 1989 and received his Ph.D. in Human Genetics from the George Washington University in the District of Columbia in 1995. Dr. Brad then attended medical school at Indiana University and completed a pediatric/ clinical genetics residency at Cincinnati Children's. He also finished a fellowship in clinical molecular genetics at Cincinnati following residency.

In 2012, Dr. Tinkle left his position at Cincinnati Children's to start his position with Advocate. While living in Indiana and working in Cincinnati, his son, Zachary Tinkle, was always interested in racing, but there weren't cost-effective options to test his drive for sport. Shortly after moving to the Chicagoland area, the family discovered Chicago Indoor Go-Karting where karts could be rented for racing. Zachary proved himself committed and talented by winning his first championship right away. When the facility was sold to K1 Speed, he went on to win three junior championships.

The last karting championship(s) overlapped the family discovering minicup (super cup) cars, which are half scale NASCAR® cars. Even though Zachary was training in an outdoor kart, the switch was made to race stock cars since that was more in alignment with Zachary's dream of racing in NASCAR®. This was the start of Dr. Brad's role (moonlighting job) as crew chief, mechanic, and spotter on the #53 car. While traveling to the different tracks like Grundy County Speedway,
he saw photos of his great-grandfather, Harry McQuinn, and started compiling historical information, newspaper clippings, and photos. He interviewed multiple people including track historians at places like Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This process took several years through ups, downs, wins, and championships at various tracks. He is now a racing history buff with archives of information on racing in the Midwest - especially as it pertains to "King of the Midgets," Harry McQuinn.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian Donald Davidson first showed up at the track in 1964, obsessed with the 500 and having memorized a plethora of trivial facts about the event and its participants. Returning in 1965, he was invited by IMS Radio Network Chief Announcer Sid Collins to participate as a commentator on the race-day broadcast, a duty he has performed ever since. The week after that race, he was hired (by Director of Competition Henry Banks) to be the keeper of records for the United States Auto Club (USAC), and since that time has contributed to dozens of books, written numerous magazine stories and local newspaper columns, given hundreds of talks, been featured on ABC News, and been a guest, along with Mario Andretti and Jackie Stewart, on Ted Koppel's Nightline. He has hosted a call-in radio show every May since 1971, and for 20 years has conducted a four-night course on 500 history for IUPUI, the Indianapolis-based combined campus of Purdue and Indiana Universities. He joined IMS full time in 1998. He is regarded as the ultimate authority on the race, its history and its participants. Donald

Table of Contents

Foreword vii

Introduction xi

1. Early Years 1

2. Dirt Track Racing 5

3. Big Car Driver 35

4. The Mighty Midgets 71

5. Race Official 249

6. Airplane Pilot 273

7. Later Years 287

Epilogue 293

Acknowledgements 295

Appendix A McQuinn Career Highlights 297

Appendix B Persona of the Era 301

Resources 311

About The Author 313

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