Blowback

The Mighty Mite Was One Heck Of A Midget Driver

cd_c1960.jpg

cd_c1960.jpg

Known as “Iron Mike,” “Dyna-Mike” and “Mighty-Mite,” diminutive Mike McGreevy — standing 5 feet, 1 inch — excelled in midgets, but also fared well in other classes during a racing career spanning 23 years.

Racing out of Oakland, then Hayward, Calif., McGreevy began his career on Bay Area ovals such as Oakland Stadium and Belmont Speedway. Like many drivers of the era, he raced just about anything he could, including the weekly doubleheaders at Contra Costa Stadium where he strapped into both midgets and hardtops.

He also drove in all three 50-lap races — midgets, sprints and hardtops — in the 1956 “Cavalcade of Auto Racing” on the one-mile Bay Meadows oval. That same year, McGreevy won the ARA sprint-car championship, something he repeated in 1957.

In 1958, McGreevy won the first of his Bay Cities Racing Ass’n midget championships. He went on to add the ’60 and ’62 BCRA titles before heading east to tackle the USAC National Midget Series. The USAC midget schedule during the time was one of the most grueling in racing — a January through November grind of 60 to 70 races while crisscrossing the country.

In 1963, McGreevy scored his first USAC midget feature victory at Long Island’s Islip Speedway, but finished the year just outside the top 10 in points. The next year he jumped up to fourth in points, but better things were to come. In the 1965 season, consisting of 70 races, McGreevy came home first seven times driving for various owners to earn the USAC national title.

The only goal McGreevy didn’t reach was making the starting field for the Indianapolis 500. He did qualify for two Championship races — on the Springfield mile dirt in ’65 and in Myron Caves’s rear-engined car at Phoenix in ’66 — but attempts to crack the Indy circuit proved fruitless over several attempts with several owners. After failing to qualify Caves’s Gerhardt at the next two ’66 events, including Indy, he returned to defending his midget title.

Driving for Dick and Owen Kincaid in 1966, McGreevy won five times en route to being crowned USAC midget champ for the second-straight year.

McGreevy was runner-up in both ’67 and ’68, adding 10 more wins, including the prestigious Night Before The 500 at Kokomo in ’67 and Terre Haute’s Hut Hundred in 1968.

McGreevy had another good year in 1969, winning six more times and finishing fourth in points. In 1970, he retired to Florida to raise horses.

His USAC midget career tally: two championships, six-consecutive seasons in the top five in points and either 30 or 33 wins (depending on the source) — among them, victories at iconic tracks like Terre Haute, Rockford, Islip and Ascot Park.

Inducted into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1987, he still lives in Florida.

Posted by on May 11 2010 Filed under Blowback. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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