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The Story Of
The Finger Lakes Microd Club
& Little Wheels Speedways
The idea of having a microd club first came to A.J. in 1981, he saw the cost of racing getting too high for many families and wanted to start a club which placed limits on motor & microd modifications so that parents could continue to give their children the opportunity to race microds. He wanted to create a positive atmosphere where families would enjoy spending time together. The idea of giving “Car Scholarships” (allowing a family the use of the car for the season) came about the first year (1983). The idea was a popular one, and to the author’s knowledge the Finger Lakes Microd Club is still the only micod club to offer “Car Scholarships” and did so for 27 Seasons. “Car Scholarships” were “Suspended” for the 2010 Season & will not be offered in 2022.
Little Wheels Speedways now owns 48 Microds, & children draw chips on race day to determine witch motor they will use that day. Over the years we have tried to minimize “Daddy Racing” so that the child’s skill would win or lose the race rather than a well built car or engine.
1) Late May 1988 2) Late Aug. 1988
For the first 5 years of the Finger Lakes Microd Club, they sub-leased Hillcrest Speedway from the Cortland County Microd Club (Now Mid-State). During this time A. J. began looking for property to satisfy his goal of owning his own track. In September of 1985 A.J. found 7 acres just 1000 feet east of the corner of Routes 38 & 34B between Freeville and Groton (in the town of Dryden). It wasn’t until the spring of 1988 that any work was started however; the soil excavation began in April, but had to be halted for two weeks due to heavy rains. Once work could be re-started, things moved fairly quickly, the 1/10-mile oval track was paved the first week of June in 1988. After a 10 day curing period the club’s first point race was held on June 18th. The club named their new home “Little Wheels Speedways”. There wasn’t much grass, that first year mostly just brown dirt and pavement.
“Taken Just after Paving June 1988”
The idea of giving “special kids” a chance to drive always was in the back of A.J.’s mind. Because of his background you see he too is a “Special kid” himself. He has “Epilepsy”. In microd racing A.J. found it was something he could do, and do it as well as any “Normal Child”. For A.J. and many others since, just the knowledge, the realization that they can do something as well as a “Normal Person” is very powerful. “I was finally able to stop thinking about all the things I was not allowed or couldn’t do and began to think of what I could do with the talents and abilities that I had” He said. So the idea of giving a “Special Child” a chance to drive a microd, came because someone (A.J.’s Parents) had given him the chance many years earlier. Now He wanted to offer a child that same “Chance to be Normal”. A.J. saw a wheel chair bound child while he was in the Cortland Burger King one day in 1986, he talked to the boy & his mom, and after a week or so, they decided they wanted to try racing. Soon after Jeff Thew, a member of the club at the time, was listening to A.J. express his desires of modifying a Microd so that this boy could drive it. Jeff asked A.J. if he would allow him to help make the modifications needed because he realized how special giving a child like this a chance would be. Between A. J. and Jeff the idea of hand control microds was born. Jeff got steering wheels used on Honda Odysseys from Honda of Cortland, and Marc Newbury started the 1987 season as the Finger Lakes Micod Club’s first “Special needs Driver” in his #26 Microd. A few weeks later another child Chris Kemp became the club’s second “Special Driver”, Since 1987 Denny Rankin, Johnny Rogers, Shawn Kemp, Tim Hughes, Johnny Newbury, Mike Rehbein, Jamie Rizzo, Bryan Bliss & Jordan Turner, have all benefited from A.J.’s desire to be inclusive, and offer this “Chance to be Normal”.
For more on special cars for special kids Click Here
1) Bryan Bliss with the checkered flag & his dad after one of his feature wins ! (Bryan is the first Wheelchair bound driver, ever to win a points title in the club’s history ! )
2) The Turner family (Jordan #78, Mom Garnet, & Joel #28)
In Recent years the members have raised enough money to get the track re-paved in 2001 and in August of 2002 they bought a scales/motor/tech building. On September 26th 2005 the club’s new Cons. Stand / Bathrooms building was Delivered. The building was finished and Dedicated on June 23rd 2007. In the fall of 2021 the Pits were paved for the first time,
1) July 2001 After Paving
2) New Scales, Motor & Tech Building (2002)
3) Serving windows of New Cons. Stand (2006)
4) Bathroom Side of New Building (2006)
Today the mud is gone, trees have been planted and the grass is mowed. Little Wheels Speedways is “Microding’s Premier Facility”. Most Microd tracks have few if any trees & few amenities for Spectators. Little Wheels Speedways has Bleacher seating on our backstreach, along with Speakers on our north bank which has the best view of any Microd Track to watch a Race. A.J. has lived at the track since 1995 and it is his life’s dream in constant process. In 2012 a new scorers building with extended roof & ramp & new flagstand. (Pictured below) In 2014 a new Backstreach Flag stand was added. (Pictured below)
On May 23, 2005: A.J. received the Award for Excellence form the Tompkins Trust Company Pictured Below:
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