ARDC Sports Eleven Rookies in 1999

11 New Drivers Set to Challenge for ARDC CARQUEST Midgets' Top Rookie Award [By Gard Rail] PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 18 - Eleven rookies have signified their intentions to join the ranks of the 60-year-old American Racing...

11 New Drivers Set to Challenge for ARDC CARQUEST Midgets' Top Rookie Award

[By Gard Rail]

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 18 - Eleven rookies have signified their intentions to join the ranks of the 60-year-old American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) in 1999 to contend for the prestigious "Dutch Schaefer/Jiggs Peters Memorial Rookie of the Year" award in the ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series.

The rookie "Class of '99" for the ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series includes Pennsylvania's Andy Simon Jr. (Penndel), A.J. Ernesto (Reading), Kevin Bastian (Emmaus), Mark Sweeney (Bloomsburg), Buddy Baker (Limerick), Jack Curtis Jr. (Frazer), Cornell Neiderer (York) and Paul Bailey (New Providence); New Jersey racers Jill Canuso (Cinnaminson) and Scott Harm (Stanhope); and Hank Katz of Sparrow Bush, N.Y.

Named for Ed "Dutch" Schaefer and Fred "Jiggs" Peters - two of the ARDC's greatest drivers who passed away from natural causes after gaining recognition around the country for their exploits in the "mighty midgets" - the rookie award is certainly one which every new competitor in the club aspires to obtain. Along with being ARDC driving champion in 1956, 1957, 1960 and 1965, Schaefer was at the helm of ARDC as its president from 1952 through 1968. Peters was the 1951 ARDC champion, and won many races through the 1950s and '60s.

The Rookie of the Year recipient will be presented with $500 at the annual ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series banquet at the Stan Lobitz Catering Hall in Hazleton, Pa., on Nov. 27.

Simon comes to the ARDC after a career in go karts. He will drive a red No. 17 Stealth with a Gaerte motor. Ernesto plans to drive a white and blue No. 2 Stealth/Gaerte, and Bastian will steer a white No. 8K King/Gaerte. Sweeney has a seat in the blue and yellow Jackson No. 61, a D&G chassis with a Chevy II engine. Baker will try to mimic the great stock car driver of the same name when he's behind the wheel of his own white No. 45 powered with a Ford engine. Neiderer will wheel his own No. 99 Schaeffer/Chevy II. Curtis and Bailey are still looking for a ride.

New Jersey's Canuso makes her debut with ARDC after a career racing motorcycles and micro-sprints. Her ride will be a blue/yellow/white Chevy-powered Ellis, No. 67. Young Harm is not yet set with a ride, but should announce something shortly.

New York's Katz, no relation to racing's famous Krystle Katz, will campaign the No. 47 car owned by Doug Borger of Kunkletown, Pa. The Borger Racing Team entry is a D & G with a Scat V-4 motor.

The points will start adding up at the season opener Saturday night, April 17 at Lincoln Speedway in New Oxford, Pa. The entire 1999 ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series schedule will be announced soon.

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Series Midget
Drivers Buddy Baker , Paul Bailey