By T.J. Buffenbarger
Wyoming, MI — Over the past 12 years the Rumble Series has evolved into a mid-winter gathering of racers young and old for a change to gather with friends for some winter racing. Part of the series success has been the availability of the Fort Wayne Exposition Center on the weekend between Christmas and New Years Day. This season an interesting challenge arose with both holidays falling on Saturday.
The same situation came up in 1999 and the Rumble Series ran mid-week events. Since then the Rumble in Fort Wayne has grown with more competitors covering a wider geographical area. This resulted in promoter Tony Barhorst booking the event on New Years Eve and New Years Day this season.
“I had to make the choice of the mid week dates the first year we operated in Fort Wayne. Christmas and New Years fall on the weekend about every four years or so,” said Barhorst. “It has always been tempting for me to run on New Years Eve and day in the past when confronted with the decision. These have been the only dates that have been open for our event in the winter.”
The end result is a unique opportunity for the race teams and fans to ring in the New Year together during the Rumble event featuring a post race program with popular racing radio host D.O. Laycock, a stunt show, and lounge area where fans can follow their favorite football team while at the event.
Barhorst explained that the growth of the event made the decision of racing on the holiday weekend easier.
“I made the choice of taking the holiday dates this time around because with the way the economy is, I would rather fans and teams not have to take off days of work. I know many are off work, but not everyone. After 12 years we are getting teams from farther away than ever like Delaware, New Jersey and more. This give teams and fans more time to travel. To tell you the truth, I am really looking forward to the Pit Party we have planned on New Years Eve. The opportunity to have even more fun and festivities is what has made the dates tempting to me, and this time I chose the party route.”
Even though the event has been highly successful in recent years Barhorst is not standing on the status quo. It will be interesting to see how a race over the holiday weekend is received. For more information go to rumbleseries.com.
• If you didn’t have a chance to listen to Mike Emhof from the Patriot Sprint Region on last night’s TJSlideways Open Wheel Spectacular, it’s a must listen segment if you are anywhere in the Patriot’s region. The Patriots announced last week they were separating from ASCS.
• Benic Enterprises is having their open house on December 4th and 5th at their shop in Fairmount, Indiana. During the open house long time TJSlideways.com friend and to the sprint car community, Tom Bayless, will celebrate his retirement. Make sure to stop in and say hi to Tom before he heads to warmer climates.
• Ride changes are already starting in Central Pennsylvania. Keith Kauffman has moved to the Heckman Tree Farm racing team for 2011. They will focus on Port Royal and select time trial shows in the area. Look for some more driver and team shuffles among the Pa. Posse in the near future.
• If you go to the Spike Chassis website they are touting a winged sprint car kit. So far we have heard rumblings of several teams that plan on switching to this chassis for 2012. Spike has built non-wing sprint cars for Chalk Enterprises, but this car will apparently be Spike branded.
What T.J. is reading….
• Curt Cavin from the Indianapolis Star reports that IndyCar is going to announce a third engine manufacturer at the L.A. Auto Show tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. EST.
• Tony Stewart’s weekly NASCAR Nextel Cup press release has a lot of sprint car content including Stewart’s thoughts on returning to Australia this winter.
• OntarioOval.comhas Peter Turford writing about the possibility of weekly 410 sprint cars in Canada (not likely)….
• Bryan Householder writes in the York Dispatch about Greg Hodnett picking up more post season honors along with a review of Susquehanna and other info.
• WhoWon.com has a neat article about a former midget racing venue. 6
• This USA Today article shows why football players could make like race cars hitting the wall at Wrigley Field on Saturday.
• National Speed Sport News columnist Deb Williams believes NASCAR could learn a lot from the World of Outlaws, while Chris Economaki is always worth reading, SMRS and other news..(Subscription)