While the precise origins of TQ racing in the East are somewhat sketchy, it can be safely stated that the beginnings of the American TQ Midget Racing Association date back to 1950, when TQ racing made its first organized East Coast debut under the sanction of the Tom Thumb Midget Association.

The Tom Thumb Midget Association was formed at a meeting in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in late 1949. TQ racing under the sanction of the Tom Thumb Midget Association made its debut at the Uline Arena in Washington, DC, on November 20, 1950, where Tony Bonadies was the winner. A second event, on the next day, saw Wayne Selser emerge victorious.

Prior to the formation of the Tom Thumb Midget Association, in the years immediately after World War II, hobbyists in the Morristown, New Jersey, area, as well as in Connecticut and in Staten Island, New York, built what were termed "midget-midget" racers. These were tiny cars, powered by Indian or Harley-Davidson motorcycle engines, and were raced by their builders at such places as the Morristown Airport. While these cars are very certainly the first of what we now call TQ racers, it was not until that first Tom Thumb Midget Association race took place in 1950 that TQ racing became at all formalized.

The Tom Thumb group was taken over by the American Racing Drivers Club in 1952, and under the wing of this full midget club and with the guidance of "Dutch" Schaefer, the TQs enjoyed their first sustained success. A summer season of over a dozen races followed an indoor season of over a dozen races as well, and late that year the TQs even traveled to Florida to stage a series of races.

The American Automobile Association was the next to enter the picture by sanctioning a series of indoor races during the winter of 1953-1954, while the ARDC continued to sanction TQ events both indoors and out through 1954.

In order to further organize and coordinate East Coast TQ racing, the present-day American TQ Midget Racing Association was formed in 1956 at a meeting in Trenton, New Jersey. Norm Smizer, a car owner and driver, was elected to be the first ATQMRA president. Smizer, whose long career as a top-flight mechanic continued through the 1970s despite the loss of his eyesight in 1967, held the presidency of the ATQMRA for two years, during which time the TQs raced at such diverse locations as Lebanon and Bowling Green, Pennsylvania, Peekskill and Islip, New York, and even Raleigh, North Carolina.

For the 1958 season, industrialist Bill Mildern was elected president of the ATQMRA, a position he held for nearly a decade. During his first term the ATQMRA raced in the Teaneck, New Jersey, Armory, as well as Riverhead and Middletown, New York, Wilmington, Delaware, and many other locations.

In 1959 the TQs were again showcased in the Teaneck Armory, as well as in a series of races in the Rhode Island Auditorium. Among the outdoor tracks visited in 1959 was the Old Bridge, New Jersey, facility, and the Orange County Fairgrounds in Middletown, New York.

As Mildern continued as ATQMRA president into the sixties, one of the young drivers coming up through the ranks was Mario Andretti. And in 1962, the TQs got their first custom-built track, the Pine Brook, New Jersey, Stadium. Built in just one month by businessman Dick Marlow, the track continued to operate every summer, featuring the ATQMRA, through 1989.

More information about Pine Brook is available here.

In 1965 the ATQMRA began a new chapter in its history by appearing in Atlantic City's Convention Hall, under the promotional direction of George Stockinger. Convention Hall was not only the largest indoor track for the ATQMRA, it was larger than several outdoor tracks! Winter racing took place in the boardwalk arena through 1981. TQ racing returned to the building, now remodeled and named Boardwalk Hall, in 2003, albeit on a track considerably smaller than before.

More to come!

ATQMRA Presidents through the years

Norm Smizer, 1956 and 1957
Bill Mildern, 1958 through 1963, 1965 and 1966
Bob Pouleson, 1964
Jim Yates, 1967 through 1969, 1971 and 1976
Joe Gimpel, 1970
Bob Watkins, 1972 and 1973
John Little, 1974
Ed Enes, 1975 and 1977
Luke Lydon, 1978
Bruce Jones, 1979 and 1980
Sonny Cooke, 1981 and 1982
Mike Sheehan, 1983
Ed Hawkins, 1984 and 1985
Bob Berry, 1986 through 1989
Carl Storero, 1990 through 1992
Colin Martin, 1993 and 1994
Bob DeBois, 1995 through 1997
Ken Zrinski, 1998
Glen Halbing, 1999
Art Lawshe, 2000 through 2005
John Leombruno, 2006
Blu Metz, 2007 through 2009
Mike Roselli, 2010 through 2014
Buddy Sload, 2016 - 2022
Kule Taraska, 2023

ATQMRA Driver Champions Through the Years
Can you help fill in some of the blanks?

1957, Ray Lacy
1958, Al Charnock
1960, Fred Clifton
1961, Bobby Albert
1962, Al DeAngelo
1963, Ernie Borelli
1964, Joe Kidd
1965, George Sweeten & Jerry Wall (co-champions)
1966, Doug Craig
1967, Joe Lacy
1968, Doug Craig
1969, Doug Craig
1970, Doug Craig
1971, Tony Romit
1972, Tony Romit
1973, Jack Bertling
1974, Johnny Coy
1975, Larry Michaels
1976, Jack Bertling
1977, Jack Bertling
1978, Johnny Coy
1979, Will Ford
1980, Dave Thompson
1981, Dave Thompson
1982, Joey Coy
1983, Joey Coy
1984, Joey Coy
1985, Mike Osite
1986, Randy VerHoest
1987, Lenny Boyd
1988, Nick Fornoro, Jr
1989, Randy VerHoest
1990, Joe Payne, Jr
1991, Randy VerHoest
1992, Joe Payne, Jr
1993, Don Adams
1994, Don Adams
1995, Don Adams
1996, Mike Tidaback
1997, Mike Tidaback
1998, Jon Gambuti
1999, Don Adams
2000, Don Adams
2001, Don Adams
2002, Don Adams
2003, Don Adams
2004, Don Adams
2005, Don Adams & Mike Tidaback (co-champions)
2006, Don Adams
2007, Bob Watkins, Jr
2008, Ryan Tidman
2009, Allison Cumens
2010, Ian Cumens
2011, Ryan Tidman
2012, Ryan Tidman
2013, Ryan Tidman
2014, Matt Janisch
2015, Buddy Sload
2016, Matt Janisch
2017, Ryan Tidman
2018, Matt Janisch
2019, Joey Bailey
2020, Points not awarded due to COVID-19 pandemic
2021, Joey Bailey
2022, Kyle Taraska
2023, Buddy Sload

ATQMRA Car Owner Champions Through the Years
Can you help fill in some of the blanks?

1957, Ed Selquist
1958, Bob Pouleson
1961, John Dini
1962, Bob Pouleson
1963, Pete Petraitis
1964, Audie Boyd
1965, Herb Sweeten
1966, Doug Craig
1967, Ray Scigowski
1968, Doug Craig
1969, Doug Craig
1970, Doug Craig
1971, John Wehrle
1972, John Wehrle
1973, John Little
1974, Ted Seiz
1975, Ted Seiz
1976, Alan Mollot
1977, Alan Mollot
1978, Alan Mollot
1979, Alan Mollot
1980, Harry Thompson
1981, Harry Thompson
1982, Jon Petraitis
1983, Jon Petraitis
1984, Jon Petraitis
1985, Pete Petraitis
1986, George VerHoest
1987, Alan Mollot
1988, Jon Petraitis
1989, Ted Seiz
1990, Matt Vuolo
1991, Jerry Morese
1992, Tim Yarger
1993, Alan Mollot
1994, Alan Mollot
1995, Alan Mollot
1996, Bob Tidaback
1997, Bob Tidaback
1998, Bob Tidaback
2000, Tom Williams
2001, Alan Mollot
2002, Jamie Colucci
2003, Joe Zuzzolo
2004, Don Adams
2005, Bob Tidaback
2006, Colin Martin
2007, BJ MacDonald & Alan Mollot (co-champions)
2008, Dan DeRitis
2009, Robin Johnston
2010, Brent Cumens
2011, Donna & Lenny Boyd
2012, Donna & Lenny Boyd
2013, Donna & Lenny Boyd
2014, Matt Janisch
2015, Colin Martin
2016, Matt Janisch
2017, Donna & Lenny Boyd
2018, Matt Janisch
2019, Alan Mollot & Russ Bailey (co-champions)
2020, Points not awarded due to COVID-19 pandemic
2021, Donna & Lenny Boyd
2022, Russ Bailey
2023, Colin Martin