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Entry list as of Dec 19 2014

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Veteran Russ Gamester and rising star Justin Peck, who drove into the record books a year ago, head the preliminary entry list announced Friday for the 17th annual “Rumble in Fort Wayne.”

The defending winners are among nearly 40 national midget drivers entered for the expanded, three-day indoor racing classic at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center. The event is Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 26-28, with a matinee the final day. Winged and non-winged outlaw midgets (600cc), karts and quarter midgets also are part of the program.

Gamester, who was less than two weeks shy of his 49th birthday, dominated on the opening night last year to become the Rumble’s oldest midget feature winner. Then Peck, a 15-year-old high school freshman, stunned a near-capacity crowd a night later, taking advantage of Gamester’s late-race blown engine to become the youngest winner.

But the stakes will be higher this year. For the first time, an overall champion driver and car owner will be crowned, with a $1,000 bonus on the line.

“That would be neat to do,” said Gamester, from Peru, Ind., who 25 years ago won the final indoor title at the former Coliseum track. “I’m pretty close to the end of my career. Seems like we always run good indoors, knock on wood.

“But you know how indoors (racing) is. Any given night can be your night. Racing is racing. Anybody can get hot and win. There are an awful lot of good cars.”

Peck, from Monrovia, Ind., echoed Gamester’s words.

“I think anybody can win it,” said Peck, pointing to his own debut at the 1/6-mile concrete track in 2012, when he finished second and third in the features. “I wouldn’t single out anybody (as a clear favorite). It could be somebody in their first year.

“Bobby Santos is awfully good. Russ Gamester. Billy Wease. It might be somebody who people haven’t really heard of, like (fellow teen) Austin Nemire. We have high hopes.”

Wease, who owns four Fort Wayne victories, returns as part of owner Randy Burrow’s four-car team. Jim Anderson, Derek Bischak, Rich Corson and Tony Stewart Racing’s Mike Fedorcak also are back among former winners.

Their challengers include 2014 champions Brian Gerster (Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series), Chris Neuenschwander (USSA Sprint Car Challenge Series), Kyle O’Gara (USAC National Pavement midgets) and Nemire (USAC HPD Midwest Pavement Midwest Dirt midgets).

National midgets and non-winged dirt modified midgets will race all three days, joined by winged outlaw modified midgets on Saturday and Sunday. Karts (Friday and Saturday) and quarter midgets (Saturday and Sunday) round out the event. Gates open at 11 a.m. each day, with the main portion of the program at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Among the other 2013 feature winners who are returning in the same class are Erick Rudolph in winged outlaw midgets; Blane Culp in non-winged outlaw midgets; Brandon Dunn, A.J. Geren, Gene Gregoric III, Dustin Heath and Ryan Moran, all in karts; and Zeb Wise, Chase Burda and Koulten Herbert in quarter midgets.

In all, 232 entries were received by the pre-race deadline. Entries continue to be accepted, Rumble Series president Tony Barhorst said.

Longtime broadcaster Jack Arute will host special guests Saturday and Sunday in the Pressbox Suite Club. Purchase of a VIP package includes dinner with Hall of Fame driver Tom Bigelow on Saturday, lunch with IndyCar team owner Sarah Fisher on Sunday, pit access and pressbox-level seating. Top Rumble drivers will visit the suites on Friday. All will participate in question-and-answer sessions.

In addition, the Evans Toyota Fan Zone will feature race cars and other displays.

More information, including the event schedule, ticket prices, VIP suite seating and “racer’s rate” hotels, is available at www.rumbleseries.com. Tickets will be available at the door each day, and fans may purchase pit passes at the event to see drivers up close as teams prepare their cars.

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Victory lane art of Russ Gamester Dec 27 2013FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Drivers and car owners will compete for a newly created $1,000 bonus as overall champion of the “Rumble in Fort Wayne” midget division, event organizer Tony Barhorst has announced.

“With the expansion of our event to three days, I think it’s fitting that we formally recognize an overall champion,” Barhorst said, looking ahead to the 17th annual indoor racing classic on Dec. 26-28 at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center.

“This harkens back to the old USAC days, when an indoor champion was crowned. It’s going to make the whole weekend more interesting.”

The champion driver and his car owner will equally split $1,000, said Barhorst, who hopes additional sponsors will step up so the award can grow in coming years. “We’d like to add to this, but this is a good start.”

Drivers and owners will earn points solely on the basis of their feature finishes on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon in the expanded three-day program. The winning driver and owner each day will earn one point, second place two points, third place three points and so on through the field. The driver and owner with the lowest point total – provided they start all three features – will be crowned “Rumble in Fort Wayne” champion.

Separate standings will be kept for drivers and owners. Owners who field multiple entries will earn points for each car, but the point totals are separate.

In case of a tie, the highest finisher on the final day will win the title.

Grant Galloway would have won last year’s championship on the basis of second- and third-place feature finishes. Russ Gamester and Justin Peck won the features.

Barhorst also issued a rules update for the national midget division. No cockpit shock adjustments of any kind and no remote canister shocks are permitted.

National midgets and non-winged dirt modified midgets will compete all three days of the Rumble, joined by winged outlaw modified midgets on Saturday and Sunday. Karts will be part of the program Friday and Saturday, while quarter midgets are included Saturday and Sunday. Competition is held on a specially constructed 1/6-mile concrete track inside the renovated Expo Center.

Gates open at 11 a.m. each day, with the main portion of the program at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

In addition to the racing, the Evans Toyota Fan Zone will feature race cars and other displays. Fans may purchase pit passes at the event to see drivers up close as teams prepare their cars.

More information, including the event schedule, ticket prices, entry forms and “racer’s rate” hotels, is available at www.rumbleseries.com.

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 Photo by Chris Seelman.

  ‘Rumble in Fort Wayne’ to expand to three days

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The “Rumble in Fort Wayne” indoor midget event, featuring top national drivers, will expand to three days for the 17th annual running on Dec. 26-28.

Separate programs are scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the 1/6-mile track inside the remodeled Memorial Coliseum Expo Center, with a matinee on the final day.

National midgets and non-winged dirt modified midgets will compete all three days, joined by winged outlaw modified midgets on Saturday and Sunday. Karts will be part of the program Friday and Saturday, while quarter midgets are included Saturday and Sunday. Gates open at 11 a.m. each day, with the main portion of the program at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Event promoter Tony Barhorst said the decision to spread the holiday event over three days – prompted by Christmas falling on Thursday – was made with fans and race teams in mind.

Usually, teams practice the day prior to the “Rumble,” he noted. Running three divisions instead of five on Friday allows for adequate practice to build up a racy track surface as well as a day of racing – without requiring teams to come in on Christmas.

“A big reason is that it gives us a more comfortable and enjoyable show for fans who want to see certain divisions,” Barhorst said. “Going to three days also allows us to not run so late on Friday.

“I think a lot of fans are going to like the Sunday matinee, which is like it was in the old days of the Coliseum.”

Last year’s event was one for the ages, with veteran Russ Gamester, just shy of his 48th birthday, and high school freshman Justin Peck, 15, becoming the oldest and youngest midget feature winners, respectively, in “Rumble in Fort Wayne” history.

Gamester, driving a family-owned car built in 1977, also joined Mike Fedorcak as the only drivers to win at both the Expo Center and the former Coliseum track, which hosted midgets from 1953-89.

In addition to the racing, the Evans Toyota Fan Zone will feature race cars and other displays. Fans may purchase pit passes the days of the event to see drivers up close as the teams prepare their cars.

More information, including the event schedule, ticket prices, entry forms and “racer’s rate” hotels, is available at www.rumbleseries.com.

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