Anderson surprises even himself with ‘Rumble’ victory

From Ron Ware

FORT WAYNE, Ind. –Anderson surprises even himself with ‘Rumble’ victory

Classic Motorsports

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Jim Anderson didn’t have to wait until the stroke of midnight to start his New Year’s Eve party.
The 34-year-old driver from Joliet, Ill., powered past Dave Darland with 18 laps to go for a stunning victory Friday in the 60-lap midget feature that capped the opening night of the 13th annual “Rumble in Fort Wayne.”
An upset? Anderson, who had never before won indoors, wouldn’t disagree.
“I was so ecstatic just to make the feature, because it paid $350 to start,” said Anderson, a budget racer by anyone’s definition. “That paid for our gas over here.”
“I don’t even know what to say. Unbelievable. I don’t know what to say. It’s just a dream.”
Or a nightmare of sorts for Darland, who blamed himself after fading in the closing laps. Adam Wilsdon, a 15-year-old who led 44 laps here a year ago, proved it was no fluke by charging to a runner-up finish, with Darland, Rich Corson and Fort Wayne’s Geoff Kaiser completing the top five.
“We just didn’t get it finished like we usually do,” said Darland, who nonetheless scored his ninth top-three finish in 16 career starts on the 1/6-mile track at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center.
“A lot of that was me. I’m out of shape. I need to be a little better prepared.”
Anderson, who co-owns his Ellis-Mopar midget with Bob Guess, had qualified for the feature only once – finishing 11th in 2000 – in sporadic appearances here. He earned $2,000.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Anderson kept saying. “We knew we were capable of racing really well here with the race car we have, but to be able to pass some of these specialized indoor race cars is really special. We passed some fast race cars that run here every year.”
Starting sixth in the 14-car feature, Anderson bolted into the lead by pressuring Darland, then scooting inside exiting turn two on lap 43.
“He was starting to pick up a little push through the middle and off the corner,” Anderson said. “When I showed my nose, I think he ran it in a little harder. It pushed enough I was able to duck underneath him. I don’t even know what to say.”
Darland was quick to offer congratulations.
“That’s great for him,” the former USAC Silver Crown, sprint and midget champion said. “Jimmy’s been a good friend of mine for a while. It’s good to see a guy like that win a race.”
Wilsdon, a two-time winner of the prestigious Gasoline Alley quarter midget nationals, was impressive, too, in only his “sixth or seventh” race in a full midget.
“I was pretty happy with it,” the high school sophomore said. “I was hoping I could get first, but the car wasn’t there. But second is pretty cool.”
An even younger driver, 13-year-old Nick Hamilton, finished eighth.
Larry Joe Sroufe had a comparatively easy time in the winged outlaw modified midget feature, leading all 40 laps to beat Chris Stockham, Jason Ormsby, Chris Miller and Ryan Smith.
Anthony Perrego cruised in the Slingshot by Tobias feature, with racing legends Kevin Olson and Hank Lower finishing fifth and 10th, respectively, in “guest driver” roles.
Zach Axlen doubled in karts, and Cason Konzer won twice in quarter midgets. A.J. Spangnuolo, Robbie Sarchet, Ben Knight, Stratton Briggs and Bryan Cataldi also earned kart victories, while Austin Nemire, Starla Parsons and Zeb Wise won in quarter midgets.
Stuntman Henry “The Pit Bull” Rife, who performed after the racing, escaped serious injury when he crashed after easily clearing 10 cars in an attempt to make a world indoor record jump on an all-terrain vehicle. The record remains seven cars because Rife did not land successfully.
Rife, 42, who has appeared on “Late Show with David Letterman,” shrugged off medical attention despite bouncing off the concrete floor. His ATV careened into a concrete barrier as he skidded to a halt just a few feet short of the wall.
He apologized to the crowd and vowed to break the record here next year.
“If his leg was broken,” close friend Russ Belt said, “right now, he wouldn’t tell you. I think it just knocked the wind out of him.”
Another complete program of midgets, winged midgets, Slingshots, karts and quarter midgets is scheduled for Saturday, with spectator gates opening at noon and the main portion of the event after 7 p.m. More information is available at


MIDGETS (National/Ford Focus/Kenyon)

Qualifications – 1. Chris deRitis, 66, deRitis, 8.078 seconds; 2. Billy Wease, 99, Burrow, 8.096; 3. Jon Stanbrough, 7, Daugherty, 8.119; 4. David Gough, 11, A&G, 8.142; 5. Cory Setser, 56, Setser, 8.191; 6. Bobby Santos III, 98, Burrow, 8.236; 7. Matt Westfall, 19, Ryder, 8.285; 8. Derek Bischak, 31, Bischak, 8.359; 9. Geoff Kaiser, 10, Moore, 8.396; 10. Dave Darland, 0, Daugherty, 8.397; 11. Tim Jedrzejek, 8up, Williams, 8.449; 12. Jim Anderson, 99g, Guess, 8.460; 13. Adam Wilsdon, 3, Barnett, 8.467; 14. Kyle Hamilton, 33, Hamilton, 8.494; 15. Zach Daum, 41, Sexton, 16. Nick Hamilton, 33h, Hamilton, 8.532; 17. Joe Liguori, 6rr, Liguori, 8.567; 18. Aaron Pierce, 49, Burrow, 8.596; 19. Dan Dunigan Jr., 19d, Dunigan, 8.618; 20. Kevin Olson, 20, Osite, 8.664; 21. Steve Irwin, 0s, 8.691; 22. Brandon Knupp, 78k, Knupp, 8.695; 23. Bryan Nuckles, 59, Nuckles, 8.709; 24. Jim “Timex” Morgan, 2, Afterhours Imaging, 8.734; 25. Rich Corson, 15, Corson, 8.830; 26. Michael Bilderback, 56x, Dull, 8.840; 27. Taylor Lynn Ferns, 55, Motor City Motorsports, 8.854; 28. David Fuhrman, 32, Fuhrman, 8.874; 29. Kent Christian, p8, 8.928; 30. Grant Galloway, 84, Grant, 8.933; 31. Ronnie McLean, 67, McLean, 8.958; 32. Deanno Lennon, 27, Lennon, 9.019; 33. Steven Intravaia, 00, Quinones, 9.020; 34. Will Wilson, 61, Kenyon, 9.124; 35. Ronnie Wuerdeman, 33w, Wuerdeman, 9.197; 36. Donnie Jeschke, 5, Williams, 9.244; 37. Joey Burrow, 92, Burrow, 9.622; 38. Brandon Knupp, 15k, Knupp, NT.

First heat (10 laps) – Jedrzejek, N. Hamilton, Irwin, deRitis, Bilderback, Jeschke, McLean, Santos.
Second heat (10 laps) – Wease, Anderson, Westfall, Liguori, Knupp, Ferns, Lennon, Burrow.
Third heat (10 laps) — Stanbrough, Wilsdon, Bischak, Pierce, Fuhrman, Intravaia.
Fourth heat (10 laps) – K. Hamilton, Kaiser, Gough, Dunigan Jr., Wilson, Morgan, Christian.
Fifth heat (10 laps) – Daum, Darland, Corson, Olson, Galloway, Wuerdeman, Setser.
First semi-feature (10 laps) – deRitis, Pierce, Westfall, Irwin, Galloway, Wilson, Bilderback, Burrow.
Second semi-feature (10 laps) – Gough, Santos, Ferns, Lennon, McLean, Knupp, Dunigan Jr., Wuerdeman.
Third semi-feature (10 laps)- Corson, Liguori, Intravaia, Jeschke, Olson, Morgan, Fuhrman, Setser, Nuckles.

Feature (60 laps) – 1. Jim Anderson; 2. Adam Wilsdon; 3. Dave Darland; 4. Rich Corson; 15. Geoff Kaiser; 6. David Gough; 7. Tim Jedrzejek; 8. Nick Hamilton; 9. Cory Setser; 10. Zach Daum; 11. Chris deRitis; 12. Billy Wease; 13. Jon Stanbrough; 14. Kyle Hamilton. Lap leaders: Kaiser 1-3, Wease 4-23, Darland 24-42, Anderson 43-60.


Qualifications – 1. Kris Knox, 92, 8.376 seconds; 2. Paul Lotier Jr., 20L, 8.595; 3. John Ivy, 02, 8.612; 4. Amanda Quinones, 00, 8.667; 5. Clay Sanders, 21c, 8.695; 6. Chris Stockham, 44, 8.738; 7. Jason Ormsby, 51, 8.776; 8. Larry Joe Sroufe, 51, 8.776; 9. Tyler Ross, 3t, 8.790; 10. Tyler Underwood, 8.804; 11. Larry Fox, 28f, 8.848; 12. Brad Lamberson, 27b, 8.855; 13. A.J. Lesiecki, 14L, 8.871; 14. Ryan Smith, 22, 8.885; 15. Cap Henry, 04, 8.899; 16. Ryan Nawrocki, 5, 8.916; 17. Chris Miller, 20m, 8.960; 18. Danny Shirey, 16, 9.077; 19. Marv Hephner, 45, 9.126; 20. Dan Dunigan Jr., 19d, 9.158; 21. Ben Taylor, 19t, 9.243; 22. Zac Taylor, 18, 9.248; 23. Chris Malaterre, 79, 9.352; 24. Rusty Strausbaugh, 29, 9.360; 25. Richard Smith, 12s, 9.376; 26. Mark Zumbrun, 35z, 9.407; 27. Howard McCormick, 26m, 9.475; 28. Bill Dunham, 84, 9.516; 29. Dax Kendall, 28k, 9.526; 30. Butch Hamilton, 1h, 9.609; 31. Tyler Gunn, 68g, 9.618; 32. Michael Kettnich, 19k, 9.792; 33. Jared Lamberson, 27j, 9.881; 34. Ben Quinones, 007, 10.137; 35. Steve Myers, 88, 10.468; 36. Matt Janisch, 14j, 18.238; 37. Jacob Wachtman, 12w, NT; 38. Craig Mintz, 09, NT.

First heat (8 laps) – Lesiecki, Ross, Sanders, Knox, B. Taylor, Ri. Smith, Miller, J. Lamberson, Wachtman, Kendall.
Second heat (8 laps) – Ry. Smith, Stockham, Lotier Jr., Shirey, Underwood, Z. Taylor, Zumbrun, Hamilton, B. Quinones.
Third heat (8 laps) – Henry, Ormsby, McCormick, Ivy, Fox, Gunn, Malaterre, Hephner.
Fourth heat (8 laps) – Janisch, Sroufe, A. Quinones, Strausbaugh, Kettnich, Dunham, Nawrocki, B. Lamberson, Dunigan Jr
First semi-feature (10 laps) – Knox, Miller, Ri. Smith, Ivy, B. Taylor, Fox, Kendall, Gunn, Wachtman, J. Lamberson, Malaterre.
Second semi-feature (10 laps) – Shirey, Underwood, Kettnich, Dunham, Dunigan Jr., Z. Taylor, Nawrocki, Zumbrun, Strausbaugh, Hamilton, B. Lamberson.
Feature (40 laps) – 1. Larry Joe Sroufe; 2. Chris Stockham; 3. Jason Ormsby; 4. Chris Miller; 5. Ryan Smith; 6. Kris Knox; 7. A.J. Lesiecki; 8. Howard McCormick; 9. Matt Janisch; 10. Amanda Quinones; 11. Paul Lotier Jr.; 12. Cap Henry; 13. Tyler Ross; 14. Danny Shirey; 15. Tyler Underwood; 16. Clay Sanders. Lap leaders: Sroufe 1-40.