ARDC Rookies Are Ready to Race

ARDC Rookies Are Ready To Race Easton, Pa., February 18 --- Four drivers have registered to compete in the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) CARQUEST Midget Series as Rookies for the 1998 season. Shawn Burke, Billy Courtright, ...

ARDC Rookies Are Ready To Race

Easton, Pa., February 18 --- Four drivers have registered to compete in the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) CARQUEST Midget Series as Rookies for the 1998 season. Shawn Burke, Billy Courtright, Cornell Neiderer and Mark Wakefoose all have prior experience in either Micro Sprints or Mini Sprints and two of these Rookies, Courtright and Wakefoose, have experience in a Midget. The ARDC rule states that a rookie must take three green flags in point paying features in a single season. If they take a fourth green flag they no longer qualify as a Rookie. Courtright and Wakefoose both qualify as Rookies in 1998 with ARDC.

Shawn Burke, of Saylorsburg, Pa., will drive a D&G chassis Midget powered by a Fontana engine. The car is one that Doug Borger campaigned with ARDC in 1997. The car owner is Chris Burke of Wind Gap, Pa. John Hill of Saylorsburg, Pa. will act as crew chief for the Burke Racing Team and the car will carry the No. 54. Shawn Burke has competed in the Micro Sprint ranks for five years and is now ready to make a move into ARDC. Burke said, "We're ready to try this. We are definitely going to hit all the dirt shows. I've never raced on asphalt but if everything is going good when we get to Flemington on the schedule I want to try it. We'll be ready for the opener at Silver Spring. And, one more thing. Sponsorship would be greatly appreciated!".

Cornell Neiderer of York, Pa. will enter the 1998 ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series driving a Schaeffer/Chevy II. Neiderer bought the Midget from veteran Midget driver, Dennis Schaeffer. Schaeffer built the car and ran it as the No. 48 with ARDC. Neiderer will use the No. 99. He has four years experience in Micro Sprints and three years in the Mini Sprints. Cornell Neiderer is the owner/driver of the No.99 and his crew is his brother Craig Neiderer and Terry Lehman. Neiderer talked about his plans for 1998 with ARDC. "We're getting some help from Tim Dietz and his dad, Dick. And, we are going to run for Rookie of the Year. Our goal is to finish in the top 10. Williams Grove is such a historic track, I'm looking forward to racing there. We have to finish races and get track time. Right now, I'm still looking for sponsors."

Doug and Claudette Starrett from Yorktown, Virginia have hired Billy Courtright of Beattystown, New Jersey to drive their Racetek Northeast-D&G/Fontana Midget No.94 in 1998. Courtright is going to maintain the car at his Racetek Northeast shop in New Jersey. His team mate in the Starrett racing stable is Bryan Kobylarz who drives the Starrett owned No.49. Courtright probably has the most overall racing experience of the 1998 ARDC rookie class, having seat time in three-quarter Midgets, Midgets and Sprint cars. Courtright reviewed his racing resume. "I ran two races in 1980 or 1981 with the SMRC Midget Club at Nazareth Speedway. I've been running a Limited Sprint at Williams Grove and Lincoln Speedway for Jimmy and Nayibe Maxson from Milburn, New Jersey and I'm going to race as much as I can this year with that car. And, when ARDC is off, I'll run with NEMA." Billy Courtright's father, Bobby Courtright, raced with ARDC and won a feature in 1966, driving a Midget owned by Bill and Ed Mataka. Billy Courtright's crew chief this year is Craig Rochelle from Hackettstown, New Jersey. The Rochelle name has been familiar to eastern racing history for many years. Craig's father, Paul "Sandy" Rochelle, was a well known Modified driver and the 1979 and 1980 URC Sprint Car Champion. Craig Rochelle was the 1995 KLASCAR Legends Champion. Courtright enters the hunt for the rookie title with some sponsorship behind this Starrett/Courtright/Kobylarz Team. Lobitz's Catering, Rich's Rainbow Room, Glen's Designs, H&B Railroad, Coal Export Services and Off Road Welding are the business's that will be supporting Billy Courtright's ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series efforts in 1998.

Another Rookie planning to run the entire ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series in '98 is Mark Wakefoose from Hopatcong, New Jersey. Wakefoose is the owner/driver of the former Jack Kirchner No.81. Kirchner won two consecutive ARDC Championships with this Boston Hawk/Gaerte powered Midget. In 1995, Nick Fornoro, Jr. captured the title in Kirchner's No.81 and the accomplishment was repeated in 1996 with Phil DiMario behind the wheel. Wakefoose has changed the car number. It will be the No.12 in 1998. Mark Wakefoose is coming to ARDC from the Micro Sprint ranks and was a feature winner in that division twice in 1997. He also drove the No.81 at Flemington Speedway last year in an ARDC event. The first time he was ever in a Midget, he drove to an eighth place finish in the feature. Wakefoose is looking forward to the 1998 ARDC season and said, "Phil DiMario has been a big help to me in getting the car ready and I need to thank him for that. I hope to finish in the top 8 in points with ARDC this year and to have some top 5 finishes in feature races. Performance Trailers in Flanders, New Jersey is going to be a sponsor."

All four drivers of these Rookies are expecting to be in the field when the ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series opens the 1998 racing season at Silver Spring Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa. on April 4th.

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Series Midget
Drivers Bryan Kobylarz
Teams Williams