Ed “Dutch” Schaefer
An outstanding Midget racer and the man who saved the American Racing Driver’s Club from extinction, Ed “Dutch” Schaefer (June 23, 1915 – March 12, 1978) of Floral Park, New York, combined his skills on the track with clear and thoughtful business judgment that led to the development, stability and progress of Eastern Midget racing.
One of the stars of Midget racing prior to World War II, Schaefer was the 1940 Champion at the old quarter-mile paved Cedarhurst Speedway out on Long Island which sat very near to where New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport is located today.
More than just being a racing driver, Schaefer looked out for the good of the sport and he was involved with the creation of the American Racing Driver’s Club in 1939 when it was formed by a group of concerned drivers and car owners who felt that the American Auto-mobile Association’s efforts to control all of Midget racing was not going to be a good thing.
Schaefer – who only had vision in one eye due to a racing injury – was right in the thick of things when racing returned after World War II and he won Midget titles in 1946 and 1948 at the old one-fifth-mile asphalt Yellow Jacket Speedway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The winner of an all-time leading 87 victories in ARDC competition, Schaefer – who sported a pencil-thin moustache – was the ARDC president from 1952 through 1968, and a four-time (1956-1957, 1960 & 1965) ARDC Champion.
Schaefer’s time as ARDC president proved to be most important for the overall outlook of Midget racing in the East as he kept ARDC’s small group of dedicated car owners and drivers in the forethoughts of his administration and through his efforts he was able to keep the club and ARDC Midget racing in a prominent position on the East Coast.
By the time that his tenure as president was finished in 1968 ARDC’s owners and drivers would compete in 51 race dates for prize money exceeding $93,000.
As a consistent winner in the Midgets, the popular Schaefer always had a first-class ride and these include such entries as: the No. 3 wire-wheeled Motorcycle-powered Midget that he raced with in early indoor races; the Golden Arrow No. 6 Kurtis-Kraft Offy Midget that was his ride in the late 1940s; Mike Caruso’s hot black Offy Midget in 1951; the Bennett Brothers No. 4 Spotoil Kurtis Offy; Buck Weaver’s No. 64 Offy that was wrenched by speed shop owner Frankie Del Roy, a former Indianapolis 500 riding mechanic who later became the United States Auto Club’s Technical Director; Harry Hespell’s No. 29 Offy; Mike Sheehan’s red and white No. 3 Offy; and, fellow EMPA Hall of Fame member Ken Hickey’s No. 1 Offy.
The Hickey Offy was one that Schaefer did rather well in, especially on the quarter-mile paved track that surrounded the football field inside of the Hershey (Pa.) Stadium as in 1967 he won: the 50-lap Bobby Marshman Memorial; the Memorial Day 50; both segments of the 100-lap Labor Day race; and, on July 14 he authored a spectacular drive in the USAC National Championship 50 as he came home the winner that Friday night over a stellar field of cars with a one-lap advantage over second-place finisher Mike McGreevy
But that wasn’t all that he did in 1967 as over a two-day period he also won a 100-lapper at the one-third-mile asphalt Wall (N.J.) Stadium on September 2, and twin 25-lappers at the half-mile asphalt Owego (N.Y.) Speedway on September 3.
The winner of several North East Midget Association races, Ed “Dutch” Schaefer was president of the Super Midget Racing Club – a winged Midget group – in 1973 and he also won that season’s driving title. In 1977, like the champion that he was, he triumphed in the last race that he ever competed in when he won at the half-mile dirt Bloomsburg (Pa.) Fairgrounds.