From Bob Koorsen
FORT WAYNE, IN (December 26, 2023) — In 1953, shortly after the opening of the (then) new Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, the facility hosted its first indoor auto races, inaugurating a Fort Wayne tradition. Over the next 36 years, history was made as the Arena played host to the first-ever event sanctioned by the United States Auto Club (USAC) in 1956, and some of the country’s biggest stars and up-and-coming talent made the annual trek to the summit city, until renovations ended racing in the arena in 1989.
Then, in 1998 Ohio concert promoter, entrepreneur, and race fan Tony Barhorst along with race promoter Jack Calabrase raised the possibility of racing in the (then) new Coliseum Exposition Center, and the “Rumble in Fort Wayne was born! Now under the leadership of Larry Boos, the 25th edition of the Rumble In Fort Wayne, presented by Jason Dietsch Trailer Sales roars back to life this Saturday and Sunday, December 29 & 30!
In honor of the Silver Anniversary, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry has Proclaimed Friday, December 29, “Rumble In Fort Wayne Day!”
With 31 Midget cars on the pre-entry list, the 2023 event looks to be wide open and primed for new winners. The diverse field includes six former winners and eight rookies on a roster that includes racers from eight states, all chasing the elusive Rumble Bell trophy.
With recent shoulder surgery relegating 12-time Rumble winner and NHRA Top Fuel rookie Tony Stewart to a car owner role for 2023, 5-time winner Russ Gamester (Peru, IN) leads the list of former winners on the 1/6-mile concrete oval. Joining him on the list of returning champions are Nick Hamilton (2) and single winners Mike Fedorcak, Mario Clouser, Kyle Hamilton, and Jim Anderson.
Joining the Midgets at the Rumble this year will be the Outlaw Winged 600cc Midgets, Non-Winged 600 Micro Sprints, and six divisions within the Baker Racing Engines Quarter Midgets. The fastest action will be in the Go-Karts where Joey Pendergrass toppled the all-time Rumble lap record with a time of 7.173 seconds during competition in 2022. A record ten classes of Go Karts will be featured including the Sr. Champs, Coe Heating & Air Conditioning Junior 3’s, Economy Auto Parts 360, 300 & 400 Clones; Wedge Karts, Junior Sportsman, Kid Karts, and the new Predator-engine class.
Each day will see a full program of qualifying, heats, last chance races and Features for the Midgets, Non-Winged 600 Micro Sprints, Outlaw Winged 600cc 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 Micro Sprints. Go-Kart and Quarter Midget Features are at 5:30; 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 ($24 reserved) with kids 2-12 $12 ($14 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