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Old 04-28-2009, 10:24 AM   #1
Mitch G.
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Default Mitch Guttormson

My folks took me to my first midget race at Lakeside Speedway when I was 6 weeks old, late July of 1960. Was hooked for life. I Bought Brian Renshaw's Barnett chassis midget out of Phoenix, AZ back in 1982. Was RMMRA "Rookie of the year (without prior experiance)" that year . Owned, and co-owned, and drove midgets on and off till 1996. Ran the Belleville Midget Nationals in 82, 83 and 84, never made the Saturday night A main however. Had a lot of fun. My dad John, drove CARC coupes in 1954, 55, 56, 57, part of 58 and ran Jack DeShon's V8-60 midget with the RMMRA at Englewood on the dirt for the entire 1959 season. We have some incredible sources on this site, it's a pleasure every day to log in and see what's new, what great memories are stirred up! Oh, yeah, I married into a racing family, my wife is Karen Harr, Duane and Anne's daughter and Bobby's sister. We kinda have the racing thing in our blood.
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Old 04-28-2009, 01:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: Mitch Guttormson

Mitch is a walking race car museum. I have never met a guy who knew more about racing than Mitch.

Glad to have you on-board!
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Old 05-26-2009, 05:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Mitch Guttormson

Hello Mitch, When I read your introduction I figured out the Rick Cook inqery. Rick and Duane Harr were friends when Rick and I worked at Plue's. I believe it was Duane who turned Rick onto the midget that he bought. I seem to remember that it was a Kurtis copy with a Falcon 6 and 6 Amal carbs. Rick already bought a Chevy II motor in the crate and I think he either bought or was shopping for a Mercruiser head. May be you know what who's car that was? After he got put in the wall in my car Rick told me it was the hardest hit he ever took. He said the sound was like be being inside a garbage can with people beating on it. The last time I saw Rick was in the pits at Rocky Mountain back in the 90's. He was with Bobby Harr and the sprint car. Do you ever talk to Rick? If you do, please tell him that I said Hello. Thank you.

Chris Ertler
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:59 AM   #4
Mitch G.
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Default Re: Mitch Guttormson

Back in 1991 I built a new midget, actually I helped, Bob Harr built 5 midgets in one winter. I had picked up a used midget on the west coast, took the running gear, and put it in a new "Hallarr" midget chassis. At that time I was working at Kryptonics, in Louisville, CO. Bob Harr was head of engineering there, and Rick Cook was also working as a contract machinist. Rick rebuilt the Chevy II engine I brought back from California. I never new Rick had a midget in the past, he never mentioned it. Duane Harr's midget was a Kurtis with one of the first Chevy II engines, but I don't know anything about Rick Cook's midget. Last time I heard anything about Rick, he owned a guitar shop on the "Old Tennyson St." area. I have not seen or spoken to him since maybe late 1992? I moved to Florida in 2005, and moved again to Texas, last June. What year did Cook have the midget?
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Mitch Guttormson

Hi Mitch, Thank you for the update on Rick Cook. It must have in 1992 when I last saw him too. In our lives we meet a lot of people over the years, but we remember well only a select few. Rick was a memorable guy that I enjoyed working with. He bought the midget in 1973 from Mike Dire. I was told it was a Kurtis copy. I never saw the car as Rick had it at his house, so I can't tell you what color it was or what number it ran. I'm not very knowlegeable when it comes to midgets. I remember a few cars running out of the ordinary engines, Volvo, Pinto, a Corvair 6, even a Cosworth Vega. Rick's car had Falcon 6, did many guys use that engine? I don't know. For a casual fan I thought the Sesco Chevy was a really amazing engine.
Mitch, you are very fortunate, you were Rookie of the year and you had the opportunity to travel to out state races. I envy you sir, that must a have been world class experience. Thank you again.

Chris Ertler
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Old 05-27-2009, 04:08 PM   #6
Mitch G.
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Default Re: Mitch Guttormson

I'll ask my wife if she remembers any of that, after all being a Harr she was around those cats all the time. I loved traveling and racing, it was a blast, I miss it every day. I was o.k., held my own, but not a big winner, won 3 heat races in my career, lots of top 5's in main events. Never finished in the top 10 in points, didn't have the money to put together a real good season. Being low dollar teaches you bad habits, you get too careful, if you crash, your done, that's how I raced, trying to save my equipment to get to the next race, oh well it was fun. Not may guys ran a Falcon, a couple in Denver, more in the mid-west, typically west coast, mid-west guys raced so much more than Denver guys, they could develop chassis, and engines to perform better, lots more laps. Midgets were known for lots of weird engine choices, I've seen: Dodge Colt, Turbo charged Subaru, Mazda (Wankel) Rotary, Buick V6, Chevy V6, Chevy V4, Johnson outboard V4, Volvo, Pinto, Daimler Hemi V8, Falcon, Olds F85 V8, Fuel injected V8-60, Offy, VW, Sesco, Chevy II, and more, just in the Denver area. The Sesco as you may recall, was a Small Block Chevy V8, 327 c.i. ( I think, because they were usually 153 c.i.) cut in half length wise, using one bank of cylinders, and one head. Ron Hoettles (spelling?), back in the mid west invented that engine. Fun stuff.

Just found this photo in Bill Hill's great book "Decades of Daring" all about midget racing in Colorado, and Utah. Chris, if this is the car, it's an old rail frame, see where the tail fits to the frame? Sort of like an old Solar midget, I'm guessing this is the car.

Last edited by Mitch G.; 05-27-2009 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Mitch Guttormson

Mitch, I worked with Ann Harr at Decals Inc for 9 years. She is my 2nd mom. We still exchange X-mas cards every year. She is a great lady. When my son was born 16 years ago I was at decals and she threw a diaper party for me and my wife of 21 years July. We didnt need to buy diapers for almost a year.Ann and I got to be great friends. When you talk to her again, tell her I said hello. Tim
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:36 AM   #8
Mitch G.
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Default Re: Mitch Guttormson

I think I met you a time or two, I used to bring my daughter to Decals and deliver die cast cars to Ann that she was ordering through me!
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