Donna Mae Mims Memorial Spridget Race
Schenley Park Vintage Races – Saturday, July 23, 2022
The PVGP is hosting a Spridget Race at Schenley Park this year on Saturday, July 23. All Austin Healey Sprites and MG Midgets are eligible. Racers must be entered for the weekend’s races in their respective groups and for an additional $50 they can participate in this last race of the day Saturday.
This year will mark the first year that the Sprite-Midget Race Series (SMRS) comes to the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in Schenley Park. We hosted it before at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. Many thanks to Pittsburgh racer Mark Maehling for putting this together.
Sprite Midget Racing Series
This race is the third race in the VSCDA’s Sprite-Midget Racing Series, which consists of races in Michigan and Illinois. The series was designed as a best-of series of race events so that if one of the racers was unable to attend they could still be in the competition. racers that attend all of the races can select their poorest race of the series and have it taken out from the points calculations. They receive points for the number of laps races, qualifying position and of course, finishing placement
There are six different classes of cars based on level of preparation, but the largest difference is in the size of the engines, some cars have engines less than one liter, the others just a little larger. Often times the racing is so close they don’t know who won in their group because they dash across the finish line together. During the race, the lead change sometimes is as frequent as the number of laps. As you watch these racers you will see how close these cars run to each other, pick your favorite car and watch them move through the pack of cars.
The racers that participate in this series are unique, they are fierce competitors on the track but great friends off the track. If someone has engine issues or breaks something everyone around lends a hand to help get the car fixed. It is not uncommon to see their closest rival on the track loan a needed part just to get them back on the track for the next session. They want their friend out there racing not watching. Walk through the paddock in the evening and you will find them clustered together, around a fire talking of life, family, sharing tips to make each other just a little faster on that track. These are not just racers they are family.
By David Kessinger
Alan Patterson’s 1961 Austin Healey Sprite
David Kessinger’s 1970 MG Midget
Donna Mae Mims
Known as the “Pink Lady” of racing, PVGP volunteer and member of the SCCA Hall of Fame, Donna Mae Mims established herself as a formidable competitor in sports car racing, and an active participant in Steel Cities Region activities and leadership before becoming the first woman to win an SCCA road racing National Championship in 1963. Though known as a Chevrolet fanatic, Mims’ 1963 National point championship came in H Production behind the wheel of a pink Bugeye Sprite. Mims was also a licensed grid worker, a member of the Region’s Board of Directors, a driving instructor, and editor of the award-winning Region magazine, “Drift.”
Easy to spot in her pink driving suit, pink helmet and pink wig, with “Think Pink” emblazoned on the back of her race car, Mims also competed (with Suzy Dietrich and Janet Guthrie) in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Mims also competed in the third running of the Cannonball Run race in November 1972.
A wonderful person that touched many lives, sadly, Donna passed in 2009 at the age of 82.