Pioneering Midget driver from Colorado. Won over 75 feature races in a career that spanned thirty years. He even won a race in 1966 after a ten year break!
Lloyd Axel died 50 years ago, he was 66
A pioneer of Midget Racing, he was born in Golden in Colorado, he drove with an unlit cigarette in his mouth. When Fangio came to Indy in the mid-1950s, Axel was his "rookie" instructor. Axel was also the chief mechanic for George Walther's No.77 "Dayton Steel Fdry. Special" that Fangio attempted to qualify at Indy in 1958.
Axel drove Sprint Cars for several years before moving into the Midgets in 1937, at Merchants Park, when they made their first appearance in the Denver area. He drove in the AAA Championship races held on the Chicago Board track at Soldier Field in 1939.
Axel founded the Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association in 1940. RMMRA is the third oldest midget club in the nation that is still sanctioning midget races. With the club running mostly on paved tracks the Denver cars were known for their beautiful paint jobs and fielded some of the prettiest cars in the nation.
In 1945, Lloyd Axel bought a new Kurtis-Kraft chassis from Frank Kurtis and when racing resumed in 1946 after WWII, Axel drove in events out of the area. He was back in Denver as a regular during the 1947 season, but after '47, he ran most of his dates with the AAA racing sanctioning body.
Axel was quick to recognize the potential of the Kurtis Kraft Offy combination and purchased the third Kurtis Kraft chassis off the line. Lloyd was the RMMRA 1940 and 1941 Champion and was the club’s first President. He placed second to Hall of fame member Johnnie Tolan in the 1946 RMMRA points.
In 1950 he started his own club that went under the banner of Mile-Hi Auto Racing Association (MHARA). The club ran 15 races mostly at Englewood Speedway, Axel won 14 of them, winning the MHARA title.
He won over 75 feature races in Colorado during a career that continued into the late 1950s. Records indicate several victories with AAA including events at South Bend, Indiana and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was also a very tallented mechanic able to get the best out of the Offy engines he tuned.
He came out of retirement in 1966 for one last race after a break of some ten years. He drove the Shearston Offy Sprint Car to victory at Greeley's Island Grove Park.