When it’s too cold and wet to race outside what do you do in Indiana? You take the racing inside. And now, night number one of the 18th annual Rumble in is complete. Saturday night saw more than 200 Karts, Quarter Midgets, Non-Winged 600cc Midgets, Winged 600cc Midgets and the Rumble Series National Midgets take to the one-sixth mile temporary oval at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, IN.
The Midget division is the annual headliner for each of the two days of the post Christmas event.
Long-time SuperPro and the former Angola Motor Speedway competitor Derek Bischak, who claimed a Rumble Series victory in 2012, posted the fast time in qualifying for both Saturday night’s race as well as Sunday’s matinee show. Qualifying was determined by two laps on Saturday afternoon, the first served as the qualifying time for Saturday night, and the second lap served as the time for Sunday.
In the main event, Russ Gamester pulled his 1977 Midget into victory lane. Not only was that the oldest car in the field, but he set a new record for the oldest driver to win the race. In fact, he beat his own record that he set in 2013 when he was 44. The now 46 year-old had a near-perfect night in the Rumble opener after inheriting the lead with 14 laps to go.
“When it’s your night, it’s your night. I’ve done it long enough to know what it takes to win in one of these at this kind of a place,” said Gamester. “Sometimes you have to press other times you don’t want to press; you just have to be able to judge the circumstances.”
“The no. 4 car (Brad Greenup) was quicker than I was, but I didn’t want to set that kind of a pace, so I was hoping he was going to catch lapped traffic and I could run in and catch him and that’s what I was doing when he spun,” continued Gamester. “Our car was really fast all day and I was just happy with the our come of our hard work.”
Rumble rookie Brad Greenup raced his way into the Midget 40-lap main-event after being locked in during the second of five heat races. At the drop of the green flag Greenup ran away from the field and continued to build a larger gap over the field until he lost it on his own coming into turn three. That opened up the door for “Rapid Russ” Gamester who took over the lead. Gamester held off Cory Setser on several late-race restarts.
Blane Culp started on the pole and led every lap en route to his second Rumble victory in the non-winged 600cc Midget class. Longtime Rumble racer John Ivy won the winged 600cc Outlaw Midget class.
Brandon Dunn led the go-kart field with two victories on the day (Clone Heavy, Clone Medium), while Zach Axlen (Sr. Flathead), Danny Bouc (Sr. Caged), Aiden Williamson (Jr. Caged), Gene Gregoric III (Junior 3) and Garrett Andexler (Kid Karts) each grabbed single victories in karting action.
Taylor Nibert doubled up on Stoops Freightliner Quarter Midget feature wins (Heavy Honda, Heavy 160), with Levei Hargraves (Sr. Honda), Seth Pugh (Jr. Honda), Jacob Denney (Light 160) and Noah Didinger (Animal) also earning quarter midget trophies.
There is one-day left of door-to-door and close-to-the-ground racing that surely won’t disappoint all of the fans that pour into the Fort Wayne War Memorial Coliseum. The only question is… “Are you ready to rumble?”
By Mikayla Kugler, Correspondent, Speed51.com – Twitter: @MikaylaKugler
Photo Credit: Speed51.com