The diecast brand GMP (Georgia Marketing and Products) in the beginning of 2000s have produced the “Gilmore Stadium Midget Series” set of models in 1/43 scale to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stadium demolishing. The set included a stadium diorama and 5 midget cars of Roger Ward, Danny Oakes, Perry Grimm, Bill Vukovich, and Walt Faulkner, all were sold separately. Ward’s midget is the first in the series.
Roger Ward was born in 1921 and during World War II he served in the US Air Force as Lockheed P-38 fighter pilot. In 1946 when Ward was discharged from the Army, he began racing midgets. He won the San Diego Grand Prix in 1948, as well as several West Coast midget races in 1949. The fast improving skills of the former pilot took much attention to him, and experienced midget star Perry Grimm recommended Ward to Vic Edelbrock as his replacement in 1950. Edelbrock, who operated his own car repair shop in Los Angeles, was one of the most successful midget car owner and entrant in the 1940s – 1950s. In 1950 Vic decided to challenge Offy by installing a Ford V8-60 engine in a Kurtis Kraft midget chassis. The first win of this cream and red #27 car with Roger Ward was registered at Gilmore on August 10, 1950. The race was “Gilmore Stadium’s 13th Anniversary Auto Race”. Edelbrock and Ward followed up the win by travelling to Orange Show Stadium in San Bernardino and winning the following night. This feat was never duplicated in the history of midget racing. The midget success propelled Ward’s career. In 1951 he won the AAA stock car championship and raced at Indianapolis for the first time. Ward raced in AAA / USAC Championship car for 17 seasons – from 1950 to 1966. He won Indy-500 in 1960 and the National Championship in 1959 and 1962. He scored 26 wins in Champ car races, his last was in Trenton in 1966 when Ward was 44 years old. During his Champ car career Ward continued to race sporadically in midgets winning 4 USAC National midget events in 1956 – 1959.
See more details about midget racing and GMP Gilmore Stadium set here.
|1950||AAA Midhget Nat’l Champiomship||Gilmore Stadium|
|Roger Ward||27||Vic Edelbrock|
|Kurtis Kraft||Ford V8-60||Edelbrock Ford|
|1:43||GMP||Gilmore Stadium Midget Series|
|0580 / 7681G|