Ronney Householder *

Inducted into the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 1997


(1908 – 1972)

HouseholderRonnieHead72When the midgets were first coming onto the scene back in 1932 Ronney Householder was one of the first to jump on the bandwagon. In addition to auto racing, Householder won the West Coast class C hydroplane championship and held many records on the water.

Ronney’s first race in 1932 was in an outboard midget at Loyola Stadium, Los Angeles, CA. He soon got to traveling and started touring the whole country racing his midget and won the 1934-35 midget indoor Mid West championship.

On April 18, 1937, a record for midgets was set by Householder when he ran his midget to a straightaway speed record of 123.28 MPH at the Muroc dry lake near Los Angeles. Indianapolis then beckoned with an 11th place finish in 1937. 1938 found Ronney winning the pole position for the Indy 500 in the Sparks Thorne supercharged 6 cylinder. After running a consistent 3rd, he dropped out at 154 laps due to mechanical problems. His last shot at Indy came the following year in the Barbasol Special. The car was one of the first to use 16-inch wheels in the front and 18 inch aft. Unfortunately the car was designed for 15 inches all around and the crew didn’t have the know how to compensate in chassis set up. Ronney flipped, ending upside down in the creek, and almost drowned. He retired from Indianapolis at once.

HouseholderRonnie35B 72On the midget scene, Householder won at Rosemoor Park oval near Davidson, Michigan on May 27, 1937. Then after winning further East he stopped at Detroit long enough to snag the National Midget title, taking the 150mile classic on the Zeiter half mile, breaking a big car record in qualifications doing it. Back on the West coast, he won the big 150 lap Thanksgiving Day Grand Prix Classic on Thursday, November 25, 1937. Sam Hanks finished second.

The following year, on October 2, 1938, he once again won the 150 mile midget classic on the half-mile at Detroit, breaking his record of the previous year. He toured the 300 laps in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 55 seconds, which gave him an average of over 68 MPH. In addition, he broke the qualifying record with a 75.70 MPH time.

HouseholderRonnie35A 72June of 1939 found Householder winning a championship race at the Chicago board track before 30,000 fans and also the AAA National Midget Racing Championship. By this time Ronney was crisscrossing the country and running all the big midget races right and left. An example of his determination to win was shown in September of 1940 during the 100 miler at the Toledo one-mile dirt track. He was leading with 30 miles to go when the carburetor came loose. Driving with one hand, he held the carburetor in place and won the race in 1 hour, 12 minutes, averaging 82 MPH, while driving one handed.

Householder raced until World War II, served overseas, and emerged a lieutenant colonel. He retired as a driver in 1948 to manage a radio station he owned. In 1955, Chrysler employed Householder to monitor a stock car program and work as a development engineer on projects such as the Plymouth Fury. He stayed with Chrysler in various racing capacities and was planning on retiring in 1973, but Ronney Householder, one of the greatest midget drivers ever, succumbed to cancer on November 11, 1972 in Detroit.