SLINGER, Wis. – Miles “The Mouse” Melius – who won seven track championships at Slinger Super Speedway, including the 1949 midget title during the track’s second year – has passed away. He was 95.
In addition to his 1949 midget title at Slinger, Melius won five modified championships between 1958 and 1967. He also won a second midget title in 1955.
Melius is considered by many in the Wisconsin short-track racing community as one of the greatest drivers to ever race.
“Slinger Speedway would like (to) express our condolences to the family, friends and fans of Miles ‘The Mouse’ Melius,” track officials noted in a post on Slinger Super Speedway’s Facebook page. “Mouse was a favorite of many teams at the track, and while many of them were too young or not even born to see him race, the stories and friendships were memories that will last forever. RIP Mouse.”
The village of Slinger is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding, and the celebration’s Facebook page also issued a note of condolences about Melius.
“One of Slinger’s true racing legends Miles ‘The Mouse’ Melius passed away at the age of 95,” the post read. “We send the family and friends of Miles sympathy and prayers. Miles was very well known in the racing community and was a great person. RIP Miles and you will always be a legend.”
Even into his 90s, Melius would still attend races every Sunday night at Slinger, sitting on top of a short grandstand that sits outside turn four, near the track entrance from the pit area.
In the hours after the announcements, tributes poured in through social media, including from Beaver Dam Raceway in Wisconsin, one of several tracks Melius won track championships. He also won track titles in Wisconsin at Hales Corners and Cedarburg.
Melius was a favorite of NASCAR legend and Hall of Famer Bobby Allison.
When Allison was a young adult in the 1950s, he was moved by his mom to live in Wisconsin and away from Florida in hopes of getting the young Allison away from racing. While in Wisconsin, he discovered Slinger and went to the track.
When he was at Slinger, he met Melius and was impressed with Melius as a driver and as a person.
“Slinger was dirt back in the early days and I became a fan of Miles ‘The Mouse’ Melius,” Allison said in April. “Here’s this kid from Miami and he would talk to me like I was a real person, which, back at home, I had a real hard time getting people to talk to me like I was a real person because of my size and my timidness.
“I really enjoyed ‘The Mouse.’”
Allison became friends with Melius’ family and it’s a relationship that remains strong today. Allison said he was always impressed with how the family supported Melius’ racing career.
In 2007, Melius was part of the inaugural class inducted into the Southeastern Wisconsin Short-Track Hall of Fame in Hartford, located a few miles west of Slinger.