National Dirt
Friday, 2 August 2019


#84 Chad Boat #84 Chad Boat Rich Forman Photo


By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Speedway, Indiana (August 2, 2019)………Thursday night, Chad Boat raced to his ninth career USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget feature victory in round three of Pennsylvania Midget Week at Path Valley Speedway Park.

A victory under any circumstance is notable, but Chad’s triumph was extra noteworthy as he tied his father, Billy Boat, on the series’ all-time win list.

That brought to mind other father/son duos who've accumulated USAC National Midget feature wins in their careers.  Some of whom were kin of series champions, some who raised the bar that their own father set, and some cases in which both notched just a single victory in their careers.

Father Don and son Rich Vogler earned the most combined father/son USAC National Midget victories with 97.  Don’s two in 1969 were upped by the amazing stats put up throughout Rich Vogler’s career, including 95 USAC National Midget wins (2nd all-time) and five series championships in 1978-80-83-86-88.

Bob Wente was the patriarch of USAC Midget success in the famed Wente racing family, scoring 78 victories (3rd all-time) in addition to the 1963 series title.  Son Terry bookended the 1980s, winning the first race of the decade at Fort Wayne, then won his second and final in 1989 in Moberly, Mo.

The Bettenhausen family was highly successful in a variety of racing machines, and the USAC Midget division was certainly in that category.  Tony Sr., a 1951 AAA and 1958 USAC National Champion in his own right, won eight USAC National Midget races between 1956 and 1960.  Son Merle followed in his footsteps with eight from 1968-1972.  Merle’s brother Gary topped all with 27 victories of his own, bringing the Bettenhausen family total to 43 wins in the series.

The Jones family, led by the legendary 1963 Indianapolis 500 victor Parnelli Jones, has tallied 34 total victories.  Like the Bettenhausens, the family name joined USAC lore beginning with the father gathering a series title.  In Parnelli’s case, it was four total championships: three in Sprints in 1960-61-62, plus a Stock Car title in 1964, that solidified the Jones name in racing circles for eternity.  Sons Page and P.J. carried the legacy in the late 1980s and early 1990s in USAC National Midgets, P.J. with a pair and Page with 7.

Another racing family name that had two sons following in the father’s footsteps was Hines.  Tracy Hines set the standard for nearly two decades from the mid-1990s to the mid-2010s, winning USAC National titles in all three divisions, Silver Crown in 2000, Sprint in 2002 and Midget in 2015, earning 35 National Midget wins along the way.  Brother Ted captured his one and only in the 1994 “Night Before the 500” at Indianapolis Raceway Park while their father Jim reached victory lane once in 1983 at Santa Fe Speedway in Hinsdale, Ill. for a total of 37 by the family.

Johnnie Parsons picked up three feature wins in his USAC National Midget career alongside a 1949 AAA National title and a victory in the rain-shortened 1950 Indianapolis 500.  While never a USAC National Champion, Johnny was one of the most successful drivers of his era, winning in all three divisions and accruing a total of 30 wins in Midgets, which ranks 11th all-time.

Unheralded Dave Strickland and Dave Strickland, Jr. earned 31 USAC National Midget feature wins between the two.  Strickland, Sr. was a 25-time USAC winner between 1966 and 1978, a career which included three Rocky Mountain Midget titles and a runner-up finish in the 1970 USAC standings.  Dave Jr., meanwhile, was also a three-time Rocky Mountain titlist, earning six victories between 1981 and 1996 with USAC to bring the father/son total to 31.

Pancho Carter, the 1972 USAC National Midget king, won 23 in his career with the series, in addition to becoming the first member of the USAC Triple Crown club of drivers to win titles in Silver Crown (1978), Sprints (1974 & 1976) and Midgets.  Son Dane Carter won only one, but it came on one of toughest tracks to tame on the half-mile Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 1999.

Interestingly, two father and son duos equaled each other by claiming just one win apiece during their USAC National Midget careers.  Brent Kaeding took the 1985 Turkey Night Grand Prix at Ascot Park in Gardena, Calif. while son Bud also found success on a half-mile, in Knoxville, Iowa, during the 2006 season.

Don Boorse and Dan Boorse each earned one USAC National Midget feature win apiece, Don in 1959 at Macon Speedway in Illinois while son Dan, a seven-time Badger Midget champ, won once with USAC in 1987 at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisc.

Henry Pens put together a successful run between 1965 and 1970, winning 16 USAC National Midget races in that span.  Son Danny joined his father as a winner in 1988 indoors at the Rosemont Horizon near Chicago.

Chuck Gurney won nine in a 21-year span between 1973 and 1994, culminating in a victory at Phoenix International Raceway’s Copper World Classic a quarter of a century ago.  His son, Chuck Gurney, Jr., owned the oval at Indianapolis Raceway Park in 2008-09 where he won two straight, including the 2009 Night Before the 500.

Dave Ray, a 1977 Badger Midget titlist, emerged as a USAC Midget winner in 1980 at Hales Corners Speedway in Wisconsin.  Son, Davey, has earned four victories in his USAC career, among those was the second Indiana Midget Week race ever held, at Gas City I-69 Speedway in 2005.

Likewise, Gene Gennetten and Steve Gennetten marked their names as USAC Midget winners as well.  Gene totaled three in 1981-83-84 as son Steve snagged his first and only USAC win in 1989 at Moberly, Mo., ironically, one night after Terre Wente, son of Bob Wente, won his final USAC event.