Eugene Allen "Gene" Loudenback at Cejay Stadium in Wichita, Kansas 1945 with a V8-60 Ford midget he had purchased from Ralph Foster of Salina, Kansas for Dwight Wadley to drive.

Jim Loudenback collection

 

Dwight Henry Wadley

1914 – 1980

 

Dwight Wadley was born March 8, 1914 at Lebanon, Kansas as the only child of Sherman Cecil Wadley (1883-1969) and his wife, Leona Mable (Dever) Wadley (1883-1968).  By 1920, the family had moved to Clifford, Kansas and, by 1925, Dwight was attending school at Iola, Kansas where he graduated in 1928.  The family moved to Wichita, Kansas by 1930.  Dwight had gone to work for the Stearman Aircraft Company when he began racing midget autos in Wichita in 1942.  He joined the U. S. Army in later that same year.  He took his basic training and was station in California.  There, he was married in the 1940s to Ethleen Willma Fitts and they had two children.  Dwight got out of the army in 1945 and he returned to Wichita for a few years but then went back to San Jose, California where he found a job as an auto mechanic in 1948.  He later took a job in San Jose as a welder before opening his own Wadley’s Auto Service at 126 East St. John Street in San Jose, California.  His wife passed away in Santa Clara, California in 1979.

 

Dwight Wadley’s incomplete racing record:

 

May 24, 19421/5 mile dirt ovalWest Side Speedway in Wichita, Kansas

Sanctioned by:  Kansas Midget Racing (K. M. R.)

Promoter:  Frank Murphy of Wichita, Kansas

Car:  V8-60 Ford midget

           Finish:  2rd in the 8-lap 4th heat race behind Carl Oliver of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Feature race winner:  Clarence Brooks of Sioux City, Iowa who was driving a V8-Ford 60 midget #33 owned by Ralph Foster of Wichita.  (This was the same midget that later became the Loudenback midget #6 that was driven by Dwight Wadley, among others.)

 

May 30, 19421/5 mile dirt ovalWest Side Speedway in Wichita, Kansas

 

Dwight Wadley in the Loudenback V8-60 Ford midget #6

 at Cejay Stadium in Wichita, Kansas.

Jim Loudenback collection

 

Sanctioned by:  Kansas Midget Racing (K. M. R.)

Promoter:  Frank Murphy of Wichita, Kansas

Car:  V8-60 Ford midget

           Finish:  2rd in the 8-lap 2nd heat race behind Vic Rothe of Kansas City, Missouri.

                                Won the 20-lap B feature race, finishing in front of Ernie Booth* of Chickasha, Oklahoma.

Feature race winner:  Guy “Mac” McHenry of Wichita, Kansas who was driving the Menasco-powered front-wheel-drive midget #13 owned by D. A. Clem of Wichita.

 

May 31, 19421/5 mile dirt ovalWest Side Speedway in Wichita, Kansas

Sanctioned by:  Kansas Midget Racing (K. M. R.)

Promoter:  Frank Murphy of Wichita, Kansas

Car:  V8-60 Ford midget

Finish:  3rd in the 8-lap 4th heat race behind Dick Sharp in a V8-60 Ford midget #8 and Ernie Booth, both from Chickasha, Oklahoma.

Feature race winner:  Clarence Merritt of Chelsea, Oklahoma who was driving a V8-60 Ford midget #7JR owned by Virgil “Peaches” Campbell of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

 

June 7, 19421/5 mile dirt ovalWest Side Speedway in Wichita, Kansas

Sanctioned by:  Kansas Midget Racing (K. M. R.)

Car:  V8-60 Ford midget

           Finish:  These races were canceled due to rain.

 

June 14, 19421/5 mile dirt ovalWest Side Speedway in Wichita, Kansas

Sanctioned by:  Kansas Midget Racing (K. M. R.)

Promoter:  Frank Murphy of Wichita, Kansas

Car:  V8-60 Ford midget

Finish:  These races were canceled due to rain.

 

July 4, 19421/5 mile dirt ovalWest Side Speedway in Wichita, Kansas

 

Dwight Wadley in the Loudenback V8-60 Ford midget

 at Cejay Stadium in Wichita, Kansas.

Jim Loudenback collection

 

Sanctioned by:  Kansas Midget Racing (K. M. R.)

Promoter:  Frank Murphy of Wichita, Kansas

Car:  V8-60 Ford midget

           Finish:  3rd in the 8-lap 3rd heat race behind Red Taylor of Wichita and Charley Hedges of Salina, Kansas.

                                2nd in the 4-lap 2nd match race behind Eldon “Curley” Steerman of Salina, Kansas.

                               3rd in the 20-lap B feature race behind Red Taylor of Wichita, Kansas and Eldon “Curley” Steerman of Salina, Kansas.              

Feature race winner:  Eldon “Curley” Steerman of Salina, Kansas who was driving his own V8-60 Ford midget #66.

 

July 5, 19421/5 mile dirt ovalWest Side Speedway in Wichita, Kansas

Sanctioned by:  Kansas Midget Racing (K. M. R.)

Promoter:  Frank Murphy of Wichita, Kansas

Car:  V8-60 Ford midget

           Finish:  3rd in the 8-lap 3rd heat race behind Eldon “Curley” Steerman and Don Brown, both from Salina, Kansas.

                                3rd in the 4-lap 1st match race behind Eldon “Curley” Steerman of Salina, Kansas.

                               2rd in the 4-lap 2nd match race behind Bob McKim of Salina, Kansas.         

Feature race winner:  Wayland “Bud” Camden of Wichita, Kansas who was driving his own V8-60 Ford midget #C5.

 

 

Eugene Allen "Gene" Loudenback’s V8-60 Ford powered midget that was driven in the Midwest in the Mid-1940s by Dwight Wadley of Wichita, Kansas.

Jim Loudenback collection

 

July 9, 19421/5 mile dirt ovalWest Side Speedway in Wichita, Kansas

Sanctioned by:  Kansas Midget Racing (K. M. R.)

Promoter:  Frank Murphy of Wichita, Kansas

Car:  V8-60 Ford midget

Finish:  2nd in the 8-lap 1st heat race behind Guy “Mac” McHenry of Wichita.

                                3rd in the 4-lap 2nd match race behind Guy “Mac” McHenry and Wayland “Bud” Camden, both of Wichita.

Feature race winner:  Guy “Mac” McHenry of Wichita, Kansas who was driving the Menasco-powered front-wheel-drive midget #13 owned by D. A. Clem of Wichita.

 

July 19, 19421/5 mile dirt ovalWest Side Speedway in Wichita, Kansas

Sanctioned by:  Kansas Midget Racing (K. M. R.)

Promoter:  Frank Murphy of Wichita, Kansas

Car:  V8-60 Ford midget

           Finish:  3rd in the 8-lap 4th heat race behind Eldon “Curly” Steerman of Salina, Kansas and Clarence Brooks of Sioux City, Iowa.            

Feature race winner:  Guy “Mac” McHenry of Wichita, Kansas who was driving the Menasco-powered front-wheel-drive midget #13 owned by D. A. Clem of Wichita.

 

July 26, 19421/5 mile dirt ovalWest Side Speedway in Wichita, Kansas

Sanctioned by:  Kansas Midget Racing (K. M. R.)

Promoter:  Frank Murphy of Wichita, Kansas

Car:  V8-60 Ford midget

Finish:  2nd in the 8-lap 3rd heat race behind Clarence Brooks of Sioux City, Iowa.

                                2nd in the Australian Pursuit race behind Mike Applebee of Salina, Kansas.              

 

This is a poor-quality copy of a posed publicity photo of Dwight Wadley kneeling beside a midget with his right hand on the fuel cap.

Page 44 of the November 24, 1946 issue of the Daily Oklahoman newspaper

 

Feature race winner:  Guy “Mac” McHenry of Wichita, Kansas who was driving the Menasco-powered front-wheel-drive midget #13 owned by D. A. Clem of Wichita.

 

April 14, 19461/5 mile dirt ovalCejay Stadium in Wichita, Kansas

Promoter:  Carl Johnson of Wichita, Kansas

Car:  V8-60 Ford midget #6 owned by Eugene Allen "Gene" Loudenback.

Finish:  Won the 20-lap semi-final race in 6:25.21, finishing in front of D. A. Clem of Wichita, Kansas who was driving his own Menasco-powered front-wheel-drive midget #13.

Feature race winner:  Leonard Albert “Cotton” Musick of Wichita, Kansas who was driving a Star-powered-midget #5 owned by Chester “Chet” Wilson of Wichita.

 

August 17, 1946 1/5 mile dirt ovalTulsa Fairgrounds in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Car:  V8-60 Ford midget #6 owned by Eugene Allen "Gene" Loudenback.

Finish:  Wadley was uninjured but the midget he was driving was badly damaged after it overturned after colliding with one driven by Clarence Merritt of Chelsey, Oklahoma.  The midgets driven by Freddie Bass of Tulsa; Jay Booth of Oklahoma City; George Binnie of Kansas City, Missouri and Don Brown of Wichita were also damaged when they became involved after they took evasive measures to avoid running into the first two midgets.  The midget that Merritt was driving also overturned in the melee.

 

September 9, 1946¼ mile dirt ovalTaft Stadium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

 

Dwight Wadley’s B.C.R.A. hardtop stock car in front of his Wadley’s Auto Service in San Jose, California.  It is believed that the car was white over dark blue with light blue “eyes”.

Bill Wadley collection

 

Promoter:  Ray Lavely of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Car:  V8-60 Ford midget #6 owned by Eugene Allen "Gene" Loudenback

Attendance:  5,000

           Finish:  Wadley entered these races but his name does not appear in published results.

Feature race winner:  Lloyd Ruby of Wichita Falls, Texas.

 

November 25, 1946¼ mile dirt ovalTaft Stadium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Promoter:  Ray Lavely of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Car:  V8-60 Ford midget #6 owned by Eugene Allen "Gene" Loudenback

           Finish:  These races were postponed until November 28, 1946 due to cold “wintry weather”.

 

November 28, 1946¼ mile dirt ovalTaft Stadium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Promoter:  Ray Lavely of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Car:  V8-60 Ford midget #6 owned by Eugene Allen "Gene" Loudenback

           Finish:  Wadley entered these races but his name does not appear in published results.

Feature race winner:  Jay Booth of Oklahoma City, who was driving an Offenhauser-powered-midget #7 owned by his brother, Ernie Booth, who was also from Oklahoma City.

 

When Dwight Wadley joined the Bay City Racing Association (B.C.R.A.) in 1949, he began competing exclusively in the hardtop stock car division in a car that he owned and sponsored himself through his Wadley’s Auto Service.

 

September 6, 1949¼ mile paved ovalOakland Stadium Speedway at San Leandro, California

Sanctioned by:  Bay City Racing Association (B.C.R.A.)

 

Ethleen and Dwight Wadley with their B.C.R.A. hardtop stock

car in front of Wadley’s Auto Service in San Jose, California.

Bill Wadley collection

 

Car:  His own hardtop stock car

Finish:  Wadley entered these races but his name does not appear in published results.

              Feature race winner:  Johnny Smith

 

September 20, 1949¼ mile paved ovalOakland Stadium Speedway at San Leandro, California

Sanctioned by:  Bay City Racing Association (B.C.R.A.)

           Attendance:  3,300

Car:  His own hardtop stock car

Finish:  2nd in the 15-lap semi-final behind Bob Thomson.

              Feature race winner:  Bud Williamson of Hayward, California.

  

July 4, 1950¼ mile paved ovalOakland Stadium Speedway at San Leandro, California

Sanctioned by:  Bay City Racing Association (B.C.R.A.)

           Attendance:  4,200

Car:  His own hardtop stock car

Finish:  2nd in the 33-car, 50-lap feature race behind Ed Normi.  Wadley led this race until he was passed by Bob Caswell on the 33rd lap.

              Feature race winner:  Ed Normi of Petaluma, California

   

July 22, 1950¼ mile dirt ovalCapitol Speedway at Sacramento, California

Car:  His own hardtop stock car

 

#25 Dwight Wadley is seen here mixing it up with a couple of unidentified competitors during a hardtop stock car race in California.

Bill Wadley collection

 

Finish:  Results of these races have yet to be located.

 

 

 

 

Dwight Wadley passed away on May 25, 1980 at San Jose, California and is buried with his wife in Oak Hill Cemetery at San Jose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cejay Stadium, Wichita, Kansas – 1946

Frank Dickerson in the lead driving a midget owned by Jack Maupin.  He is followed in second place by Dwight Wadley who is driving a V8-60 Ford midget owned by Eugene Allen "Gene" Loudenback.  The driver in third place is George Binnie in his own Offenhauser powered #20.

One Tough Circuit, Midget Racing in America’s Heartland by Bill Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

* A newspaper article in the Wichita Beacon newspaper says this driver’s name was Clarence Booth but that is undoubtedly incorrect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you:

Jim Loudenback, Tom Motter and Bill Wadley