The late Jimmy Sams worked as a professional photographer in Kansas City, Missouri, from 1930 through the 1950's. Jimmy was a lifelong fan of open wheel racing, especially midget racing!!
The photographs on this website were taken mostly at Olympic Stadium located in Kansas City, Missouri during the late 1930's and continuing through 1952. Jimmy operated a photography concession at the stadium and many fans have collections of his work. He used the JSS logo in the lower right hand corner of his photographs, however when he was in a hurry he did not include this as part of the process. Jimmy's work has a quality about it that makes it distinct. It is common to see his work in books and magazines dealing with vintage racing, however the photos are usually credited to the collector.
Jimmy's photographs are works of art and document a golden age in midget racing. He knew most of his subjects personally, being lifelong friends with many of them. Jimmy was very active in the racing community serving a term as President of the Kansas City Midget Auto Racing Association in the late 1940's and contributing photos to the Central Auto Racing Boosters 50th Anniversary publication as late as 2002.
Jimmy was a wonderful person and a great story teller. He and his wife Wavo, often travelled to Chicago and other cities to observe and photograph racing events. This was not an easy task. Jimmy's camera was a large bulky graflex, that certainly required a knowledge and understanding of the photographic process. A great deal of patience and hard work were required to create the great photographs that are represented in this collection. The website contains only a small portion of his work and will change from time to time. I want to thank Jimmy's daughter Janan for her support in making these wonderful photographs available to me for use in this project.
The purpose of this website is to make Jimmy's photographs available to racing fans, so that they might view and appreciate work that he cared about deeply.