Young Lions Contend for ARDC CARQUEST Midget Crown FLAGTOWN, N.J., Aug. 28 - The new guard is in command of the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) CARQUEST Midget Series as the organization heads into a busy Labor Day ...
Young Lions Contend for ARDC CARQUEST Midget Crown
FLAGTOWN, N.J., Aug. 28 - The new guard is in command of the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) CARQUEST Midget Series as the organization heads into a busy Labor Day weekend.
With only three point races left in the 1998 season, including the show at Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway on Saturday night, Sept. 5, three of the four drivers in contention for the championship were rookies with the club only two years ago.
Other relative newcomers and some veterans alike will be showcased in another Labor Day weekend show, the special non-points "First Feature" program at Flemington (N.J.) Speedway the following afternoon.
The three top drivers from ARDC's "Class of 1996" who are vying for a victory at Oswego and the championship include 34-year-old point leader Bryan Kobylarz of Birdsboro, Pa. He finished third overall last year. He hasn't won an ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series feature yet this year, and he only has three more races to change that statistic.
In second place overall heading into the Oswego show is the defending champion, Ed Stimely Jr. of McVeytown, Pa.. He won the club's Dutch Schaefer/Jiggs Peters Rookie of the Year Award in 1996. He'll turn 34 the day after the season finale, which is slated for Saturday, Sept. 19 at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. He has two feature victories so far this season, including the most recent race.
Third in the standings is 30-year-old Mark Freeland of Ickesburg, Pa., who was also a rookie in 1996. Like Kobylarz, Freeland has been knocking at the door at almost every race, and he wants nothing better than to finish the season in winning fashion.
The only veteran who still has a shot at the title is Phil DiMario of Piermont, N.Y. DiMario, the 1996 ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series champion, was the organization's top rookie back in 1988. Although he has been running midgets longer than the other three, he just turned 36 on Aug. 26. He has more ARDC feature victories than anyone else so far this year, four, and one of them came at Langley in June.
Before they duke it out at Langley, however, the title contenders must face the competition at Oswego and then compete in another event at Lincoln (Pa.) Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 12. The Oswego show is being organized by the Oswego Speedway management, and both ARDC and the Northeastern Midget Assn. (NEMA) will award points for that program.
The ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series teams will then revert back to their dirt-track set-ups for their show at Lincoln on Saturday, Sept. 12. This will be a challenge too because wings will not be permitted, and most of the ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series drivers have never driven their midgets without a wing.
That sets up the season finale at Langley Sept. 19, but before that is the popular "First Feature" show at Flemington Sunday, Sept. 6 for drivers who have never won an ARDC feature. Anyone who lives for new winners won't want to miss this show, which is always popular with visitors to the annual Flemington Fair. Gary Mondschein has to be considered a favorite in that race, because the Stewartsville, N.J. driver is currently fifth in the overall point standings. The pits open at 11 a.m. at Flemington, with the racing starting at 2 p.m.
The schedule to date follows:
1998 ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series
1. April 4 Silver Spring Speedway, Mechanicsburg, Pa.Walt Stearly 2. April 18 Lincoln Speedway, New Oxford, Pa. John Heydenreich 3. April 25 Port Royal Speedway, Port Royal, Pa. Ed Stimely Jr. 4. May 8 Williams Grove Spdy., Mechanicsburg, Pa.Rain out 5. May 16 New Egypt Speedway, New Egypt, N.J. Tim Dietz 6. May 30 Flemington Speedway, Flemington, N.J. Rudy Boetticher Jr. 7. June 7 Evergreen Raceway, St. Johns, Pa. Rain out 8. June 20 Flemington Speedway, Flemington, N.J. Russ Stoehr 9. June 27 Langley Speedway, Hampton, Va. Phil DiMario 10. July 4 Oswego Speedway, Oswego, N.Y. Drew Fornoro 11. July 17 Dixieland Speedway, Elizabeth City, N.C.Rain out 12. July 25 Flemington Speedway, Flemington, N.J. Phil DiMario 13. Aug. 1 Evergreen Raceway, St. Johns, Pa. Phil DiMario 14. Aug. 8 Port Royal Speedway, Port Royal, Pa. Phil DiMario 15. Aug. 15 New Egypt Speedway, New Egypt, N.J. Ray Bull 16. Aug. 22 Lincoln Speedway, New Oxford, Pa. Ed Stimely Jr. 17. Sept. 5 Oswego Speedway, Oswego, N.Y. Sept. 6 Flemington Speedway, Flemington, N.J. (non-points "First Feature" program.) 18. Sept. 12 Lincoln Speedway, New Oxford, Pa. (non-wing show) 19. Sept. 19 Langley Speedway, Hampton, Va. Nov. 28 ARDC Banquet, Lobitz Catering Hall, Hazleton, Pa.