The Stryker Family involvement in Midget Auto racing dates back to 1950. In the early 1940’s Harry Stryker and his childhood friend Charlie Lawlor would spend their time outside the Big Car races in Oakland California peeking through knot holes in the fence to see the races. They could not afford to pay admission. Then they found that a shop in their neighborhood was the home for Bob and Bud Kelleher’s Big Car and they could hang out at the Kelleher’s shop. After World War II Charlie started driving midgets and Harry was on board as mechanic. In 1962 Harry and Charlie were finally able to purchase a first class Kurtis Kraft Offenhauser Midget from West Coast Offy Guru, Jack London—who later became Harry’s friend and mentor. Jack’s mentor at the time was George Bignotti. At the time, these two men were two of the best Offy mechanics and Harry was soaking up all the knowledge that he could.
50 years of Stryker Offy history
Stryker's Custom Offenhausers
"Keeping the Legend Running!"
Harry and Charlie were off to a great start when they easily won the 1963 Bay Cities Racing Association Indoor Championship. They went on to place second in overall in car owner points for 1963. From that point on the Stryker Offy was always a car to be reckoned with in BCRA or USAC on the west coast. Harry never had a large racing budget, so he performed all of the work on his cars and engines, with Jack available to help with Offy updates and new developments from Meyer and Drake Engineering. 1966 was the most notable season for Harry as he signed on a very young and talented Billy Vukovich Jr. to drive the Stryker Offy. With the help of his brother and crew member, Tom, Harry went on to win the 1966 BCRA Championship, in addition to 15 BCRA and west coast USAC main event wins and numerous track records. Harry was a Die-Hard Offy Man. He would not give up on the OFFY, even installing it into one of Red Caruthers new light weight LTC chassis designed for the Volkswagen air-cooled engines. This car was extremely potent and won many races with Harry’s sons Harry Jr. driving and Mike as mechanic. During this time Jack London was winding down his racing activities and Harry had started rebuilding Offys for a few of the other teams in BCRA. The Stryker Offy competed with BCRA and limited West Coast USAC events until 1977. Some of the best drivers were attracted to the quality of Harry’s cars including: Charlie Lawlor, Bob DeJong, Mike McGreevy, Tommy Copp, Ed Andrews, Tommy Morrow, Don Meacham, Billy Cantrell, Dee Hileman, Hank Butcher, Billy Vukovich Jr., Jan Opperman, Chuck Arnold, Gary Ponzinni, Gary Koster, Bill DeChamps, Colby Scroggins, Danny O’Niell, Larry Patton, Richard Powell, and his son Harry Stryker Jr. In 1978 Harry retired, sold his race cars, and moved to Seattle to go fishing.
Well, that lasted a short time and in 1982 Harry, Harry Jr. and Mike could no longer stay away from racing. They discovered a local vintage racing fraternity named The Golden Wheels. It didn’t take long before the Stryker’s found a Kurtis Kraft Offy Midget that had sat in a garage since 1955. It had been unmodified for almost 30 years. They quickly restored the car. Again the Stryker Offy Legacy was continued as Harry Sr. ran the car in vintage exhibitions up and down the west coast until 2004. With Harry’s renewed involvement in vintage midget racing he felt compelled to write the only Offenhauser 110 Overhaul Manual ever written as he vowed to continue…
“Keeping the Legend Running” This was the beginning of another 30 year run with building and restoring countless vintage and current day midgets and engines. During that time Mike started driving and building current-day midgets with Washington Midget Racing Association. Mike followed in his father’s footsteps and pioneered a Chevy V-6 engine that was installed into an Edmunds VW midget chassis. This car and engine became another winning combination. Again, with the support of Bill Petter and--former Offy and Indy Car mechanic--Homer Norman, the Stryker’s became a force to be reckoned with: this time in WMRA. From 1987 through 1991 one of the two Stryker Brothers was in the top two in the final points at year end with Mike taking the championship two of the four years he competed. Budget was always an issue, so Mike performed his own engine and chassis work with his father Harry Sr. as his mentor and crew chief. In 2004 Harry Sr. and Mike relocated to Las Cruces New Mexico to soak up a little sun after 30 years of Seattle rain. Mike and his father continued to rebuild Offy Midget engines for a number of the vintage midget enthusiasts on the west coast. Meanwhile, Mike campaigned his own sprint car with the Renegade Sprint Car Series. With Harry Sr. at his side Mike went on to win in the sprint car, build his own engines, and become the Engine Technical Inspector for the sealed spec. engine sprint car club. In 2009 Harry Sr. passed away and Mike has vowed to use his Offenhauser knowledge and experience to continue…
"Keeping the Legend Running!"
The Strykers have been racing, building, and tuning Offy powered race cars since shortly after WWII. The goal has always been to continue to restore, build, and deliver Offy engines to allow enthusiasts to enjoy and race these marvelous engines of the past to ensure they continue on. Harry Stryker Sr's passion for Offys continued to grow as the fire spread to his sons, Harry Jr and Mike. Mike has continued the spirit and love of Offys and has been recognized as a expert in building, restoring, and tuning Offy engines. His experience and knowledge helps preserve the legacy of the Offy.
Mike was born in to a family that introduced him to mechanics at birth. From the beginning he was in trouble for taking apart things around the house to see how they worked. He was fortunate to be involved with his father’s racing. At the age of 12 years old he was performing mechanical repairs on his sister’s cars. He was also involved with helping his father rebuild Offy’s. Although it was only washing parts, he was learning to inspect the components. In 1975 Mike’s name was put on the family midget as mechanic. He spent countless hours on the race car’s preparation with his Father and brother Harry Jr. In addition, he had the idea of putting the Offy in the LTC chassis. He has worked his entire career in the automotive repair industry beginning as an apprentice and eventually to owning his own facility. In his spare time he has always participated in some form of open-wheel racing. From Karts to Mini Sprints, Midgets, and Sprint Cars he has used his mechanical, fabrication, and driving skills to become a winning car owner/driver in all classes. Mike has always been respected for his attention to detail and quality of workmanship.