Eureka Midget racer fits his car just fine-- breaks Tulsa track record

Monday, July 7, 2003
Record setter! -- Eureka fourth-grader Anthony Platt just got into the Quarter Midget racing groove and already has racked up the trophies seen above. He also recently broke the track record for his class, racing around the oval in 6.83 seconds to topple the 7.12 second record set last summer. What's next? A race in San Antonio in October. Photo by David Platt

Racing cars in elementary school usually conjures up images of a wooden, hand-held replica being pushed back and forth across a table, or at most, one of those radio-controlled jobs streaking across a parking lot.

Not this racer.

Anthony Platt, age nine, a fourth-grader at Eureka Springs elementary school, recently broke the qualifying track record in his division at the Tulsa Quarter Midget Racing Track.

That's a real motor-powered racer around a real asphalt track.

Quarter Midgets are scaled down versions of Midget Racers designed for drivers aged five to 16, that race on an oval track approximately 1/20th mile long. Heat races are usually 15 to 25 laps and feature races are up to 40 laps.

The qualifying lap record, held since last summer, stood at 7.12 seconds, but on Sunday June 8, Anthony qualified at 6.83 seconds.

Sounds like quite a feat for a seasoned, veteran driver, huh? How about a fourth-grader that started this past April?

Anthony's father, David, said he was surfing the Internet and a heading about midget racers popped up. He checked it out, found the closest track was in Tulsa, and got in touch.

"I gave them a call, and we went to the races the next week," David said. "One of the club members at Tulsa had a car his son had outgrown, so we bought it."

Anthony took a training course over six weekends, learned how to drive, what the racing flags meant, how to pass, and then was ready to race.

"He loves it," David said last week. "We are club members of the Tulsa Quarter Midget Racing Association, and race in Region 6, which includes Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. There are two age divisions, five to eight, and nine to 15, with six categories in those.

"Anthony is racing in the senior novice division, and will move up to senior Honda next month. There are so many races."

Of the six feature races held at his home track in Tulsa since the start of the race season, Anthony has taken home four firsts, a second, and a third place trophy, plus numerous first place medals for first place finishes in heat races.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Topeka, Kan., held the Region 6 Quarter Midget Associations Annual "States Race," which combines the best drivers from Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Eastern Missouri.

In this highly prized race Anthony took home a very respectable and hard-earned third place.

"Anthony watches some NASCAR now," David said. "He never followed those races until we got into this."

Getting into "this" is a tradition with the family, as Anthony's 11-year-old sister, Dani, was a certified scuba diver at age 10.

So, how is Mom with all these adventuresome sports?

"She likes it," David said with a laugh, adding, "It gets us out of the house. We go most weekends, and race three times a month. We've raced at Tulsa, Topeka, and Austin, and are set to go to San Antonio in October."

To learn more about Quarter Midget racing, go to www.quartermidgets.org, or just hook up with David and Anthony at the Tulsa track and see what some elementary students and their dads do for fun on weekend outings.

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