Midget Racing Legends: Ronney Householder
ARA begins its periodic feature Midget Racing Legends with Ronney Householder. The career documentation of the early midget racing greats is a challenging research project. ARA’s research has involved consulting AAA sanction records, National Speed Sport News, Illustrated Speedway News, and Speed Age on microfilm. The result of this effort to identify the dates and venues of races and the racewinners is illuminating but may not be complete in scope or detail; some races and winners may not have been published in the material consulted, and exact date and sanctioning information was often sketchy. ARA will be pleased to hear from any reader with additional information useful in chronicling the history of these great drivers.
Ronney Householder’s documented midget race victory history begins with a February 24, 1935 victory at the Chicago Armory one-fifth mile dirt indoor oval and concludes with an August 30, 1949 AAA Midget triumph at Mellotte Speedway, a quarter-mile dirt oval in Crawfordsville, Indiana. This 1935-1949 period encompasses a total of 189 career midget race wins by Householder! Householder was a racewinner every year from 1935 through 1941 and again from 1947 through 1949 in the postwar era.
Ronney won forty-five (45) races in 1935, twenty-one (21) in 1936, thirty-two (32) in 1937, eleven (11) in 1938, thirty-seven (37) in 1939, ten (10) in 1940, eleven (11) in 1941, eleven (11) in 1947, one (1) in 1948, and ten (10) in 1949.
In 1935 Householder won the Detroit Coliseum (2/13 mile indoor dirt oval) championship and finished second in St. Louis Arena (indoor oval) points. Householder finished second in 1936 Madison Square Garden Bowl (one-fifth mile paved oval on Long Island) points and fifth in 1936 Gilmore Stadium points, scoring his first victory in the Turkey Night Grand Prix 150 at Gilmore on November 26, 1936.
In 1937, Householder was runnerup for the championship of the National Midget Auto Racing Circuit, sixth in Freeport Stadium points, seventh in American Midget Association points, and eighth in Heiserman Promotions points. He won the Turkey Night Grand Prix 150 at Gilmore Stadium for the second consecutive year on November 25, 1937.
Ronney’s 1938 highlights were victories in the Gilmore Stadium Gold Cup race and in the Motor City 150 on the one-half mile oiled dirt oval in Detroit.
In 1939, Householder won the Soldier Field 100 AAA World Championship race on a specially-constructed quarter-mile banked “board track” wood oval. He ranked ninth in Fort Miami Speedway (Toledo. Ohio) points in 1939.
Householder won the 1940 Gilmore Stadium midget championship point title and also won the Gilmore Stadium Gold Cup race.
Householder ranked fifth in 1941 AAA Pacific Coast Midget points and was sixth in 1941 Flint Speedway midget points and twelfth in Motor City midget points.
Householder won the 1947 South Bend Motor Speedway (quarter-mile paved oval) Midget championship title.
Ronney Householder contested three AAA Indycar races. He qualified tenth for the 1937 Indianapolis 500 driving the Henry J. Topping, Jr. Viglioni-Miller and finished twelfth, sixth laps down. He then contested the July 5 Roosevelt Raceway 300 road course race, qualifying tenth in Leon Duray’s Miller but retiring after only eight (of 90) laps with a broken oil line. Householder qualified tenth for the 1938 Indianapolis 500 in Joel Thorne’s Adams-Spark supercharged entry but retired after 154 laps with supercharger failure, placing fourteenth. In 1948 Householder failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in Joe Lencki’s entry.
Frederick F. “Ronney” Householder was born May 5, 1908 in Omaha, Nebraska and died November 11, 1972. He is a member of the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame as well as the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame. After retiring from race competition, Householder served in Chrysler Corporation management and played a major role in the successful MOPAR stock car program of the 1960s.