What Does Bonneville, A Legend, And A Midget Racecar Have In Common?

Recently we were stopped in our tracks by a story on Facebook that our friend Ed Justice Jr. had posted. Ed is the President and CEO of Justice Brothers, Inc., a legendary international manufacturer of car care products, founded by his father and his uncles (the Justice Brothers).

While many of our readers are very familiar with the “glory days” of auto racing, few have lived the experience as Ed Justice, Jr. has. For example; At the age of 44, he became one of the youngest members to be inducted into the Old Timers Club at The Indianapolis 500 Motor Speedway.  Ed was an award-winning host of the ROAD & TRACK radio show, and he’s been awarded the prestigious Motor Press Guild (MPG) Dean Batchelor Best of the Year award. He also was awarded many International Automotive Media Awards, including a Gold Medal. It is not uncommon to see or hear Ed on numerous radio and television shows or acting as master of ceremonies at events around the country.

Ed Justice Jr. behind the camera capturing motorsports through the years. All photos courtesy of Ed Justice Jr.

Ed Justice Jr. has become one of the most respected racing historians and collectors in the world. His passion for racing journalism means that his stories are well crafted and complete when published in any media. Without further explanation, we will repost Ed’s Facebook offering in his words, without editing.

In Ed’s Words:

What does Bonneville, a Racing Legend and a Midget Racecar have in common? All three were part of a record-setting run on September 14, 1949.

First the Racing Legend, his name is Rex Mays and if you’re under a certain age you maybe have never heard his name. When I first heard his name used at the title of an Indy Car race at Riverside, I asked my dad, “Who is Rex Mays?” My dad’s response was, “He was the A.J. Foyt of his time, Ed. He was every bit as good, but died before he had a career to prove his total talents”.

Before Mays died in a graphic accident at the Del Mar horse track in Del Mar, California, he had already sat on the pole at the Indy 500 four times. Rex Mays is a Racing Legend.

Ed Justice Jr.: “Rex Mays in the record setting Midget Race Car with his crew. The fellow on the right is Danny Eames who would later head the Autolite Racing program for Ford Motor Company and who I received the panels from. This picture was taken right after Rex had set the record. You’ll notice the car was called Mobil Jr.”

Now Bonneville. Bonneville is one of my all-time favorite racing venues. The place itself and the people that inhabit it. Bonneville is a Legendary Place.

And now the last bit is the legendary Midget racecar. To get to the record we first have to go back to one of the first Midget racecar records at Bonneville in 1947 with Danny Oaks as the driver. Danny was able to set a flat-out speed record of 139.460 mph.

Ed Justice Jr.: “The upholstered cockpit side panels as they look today. They actually still have some salt residue on them.”

Fast forward to 1949 when Mobil Oil sponsored a series of speed runs by Mays in the NOVI Indianapolis car. It was a short hop for Rex to then go to Bonneville on Mobil’s behalf to set a new Midget racecar record, which he did on that September day at 147.307 mph. Increasing the old record by 8 miles per hour.

You’ll notice one of the slight modifications to Rex’s Midget, which was actually owned by Johnny Balch, were upholstered cockpit side panels. Those side panels are actually part of the Justice Brother’s private collection today.

The Triple-A certificate that was issued for the record-setting run and acknowledging the use of Mobil products.

For more information on The Justice Brothers company, their car care products, and their private auto collection, visit them online at justicebrothers.com.

 

Article Sources

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
Read My Articles

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