By Bob Koorsen
FORT WAYNE, IND (December 9, 2021) – After losing the 2020 event to Covid-19, the 23rd Rumble in Fort Wayne, presented by Jason Dietsch Trailer Sales, returns with one of the most diverse fields of Midget entrants in the 22 running’s of the historic event inside of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Expo Center.
With 36 cars on the pre-entry list, the 2021 event is guaranteed to see the largest field since 2016. The diversity is shown by eight former winners (27 total wins) and 12 rookies in a driver roster that includes racers from 11 states that will be chasing the elusive Rumble Bell trophy December 17 and 18.
With a sweep of the program in 2019, recently married Tony Stewart increased his record total of Rumble wins to 11 on the 1/6-mile concrete oval. Joining Stewart on the list of returning champions are Billy Wease (5), Russ Gamester (4), Justin Peck (3), and single winners Mike Fedorcak, Derek Bischak, Brandon Knupp and Nick Hamilton. A total of 42 feature events have been contested since the historic event moved into the new Expo Center in 1998. Prior to that, the racing action took part on the hockey rink floor inside the adjoining Coliseum Arena.
With the unique formula of pitting National, Regional, Focus and Kenyon Midgets into one class, the Rumble in Fort Wayne annually attracts a wide variety of drivers and a wide range of experience to make for unpredictable racing.
Leading the Rumble “Rookie” class will be 4-time NASCAR Cup Series winner and 2-time USAC National Champion Kenny Schrader and open-wheel fan-favorite “TMez” Thomas Meseraull. Although a rookie to the Rumble in Fort Wayne, Schrader (Fenton, MO) did make three USAC Midget appearances in the Coliseum Arena, finishing 5th in both races in 1981. A 4-time USAC Midget winner in 2022 and a veteran of the Chili Bowl Nationals, Meseraull will make his pavement indoor debut in a new car fielded by veteran racer Joe Liguori. Joining them will be a pair of drivers with winning histories in the prestigious East-Coast Indoor TQ Racing series, 5-time winner and Penske Racing NASCAR tire-changer Ryan Flores (Huntersville, NC) and 2-time winner and Rumble 600 track record holder “The Jersey Jet” Joey Payne as well as a pair of successful winged sprint car veterans Cody Gallogly and Ryan Moran, moving up to Midgets after previous Rumble go-kart appearances.
Joining the Midgets at the Rumble this year will be the North Baltimore Custom Cuts winged 600cc Midgets, LiUNA non-winged 600’s, and multiple divisions within the Baker Racing Engines Quarter Midget Division. The go-kart division will also be represented with 8 classes including the Jeremy Howe Racing Sr. Champs, Coe Heating & Air Conditioning Junior 3’s, Economy Auto Parts 330 Clones, Bob Buescher Homes 360 Clones, everageauto.com Wedge Karts, Junior Sportsman, 400 Clones and Kid Karts.
Each day will see a full program of qualifying, heats, last chance races and Features for the Midgets, LiUna Non-Wing Dirt 600 Mini Sprints, North Baltimore Custom Cuts Outlaw Modified Winged Midgets, Go-Karts, and Quarter Midgets. Spectator gates will open each day at 11:00 am with two rounds of qualifying heats for the Go Kart and Quarter Midgets along with practice and qualifying for the Midgets, Winged, and Non-Winged 600 Mini Sprints. Go-Kart and Quarter Midget Features are at 4:30; Opening Ceremonies will be at 7:00 followed by the full program of Midget, Winged and Non-Winged 600 heats and Features. Adult tickets are $22 per day ($25 reserved) with kids 2-12 $12 ($15 reserved). Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or the Coliseum Box Office. For those unable to make the trek to Fort Wayne, this year’s program will be live streamed in its entirety via Pit Row TV and SPEED SPORT TV.
Complete event information may be found at www.rumbleinfortwayne.com