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17th annual Rumble in Fort Wayne

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 26-28, 2014 ● Memorial Coliseum Expo Center ● Fort Wayne, Ind.


Peck wins again at ‘Rumble,’ challenges Stewart to return


Classic Motorsports


FORT WAYNE, Ind. – With his aw-shucks demeanor and ready smile, Justin Peck might be the last guy you’d expect to start trash-talking in victory lane.

But the precocious 16-year-old couldn’t help himself after winning Saturday night’s 50-lap midget feature in the 17th annual Rumble in Fort Wayne, suggesting that Tony Stewart might want to hurry back before someone – in this case, himself – breaks the NASCAR star’s record of nine victories here.

“Tony is a good guy,” Peck said later, almost apologetically. “I was just being a funny guy. If he does come back – or if he doesn’t – hopefully we can have a little bit of a challenge.”

Peck continued his remarkable run at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center, darting inside Jim Anderson in the second turn on lap 32 to wrest the lead, then pulling away for his second victory in two years at the 1/6-mile concrete track. Billy Wease passed Anderson for second on the final lap, with Friday winner Anthony Nocella and David Gough rounding out the top five in the caution-filled race.

Peck and Nocella are tied for the newly created points championship going into Sunday afternoon’s finale of the three-day event.

In six starts over three years here, Peck has two victories, a second, a third, a fourth and an engine-related 16th. Only one other driver, Derek Bischak, has even qualified for each of those six features.

“It’s pretty cool,” the high school sophomore said, assessing his streak. “It really helps having such a good car. (Owner) Steve Clay gives me a good Beast every time. But a lot of people really help me.”

Stewart, who has competed here on and off since 1999, is sitting out the Rumble for a second straight year after undergoing a fourth operation on the right leg he broke in 2013.

Anderson seemed headed toward a repeat of his 2010 victory here until his car developed a push just past the halfway point. When he couldn’t hold the bottom entering the second turn on lap 32, Peck shot underneath.

“I was trying all I could to whoa the thing down to get through the corner,” Anderson said. “The more I did that, I could feel him at the back bumper.”

“Honestly, we were a little better than him,” Peck said, “but the only way I got him, he got tight and then got loose (when he accelerated), and I got under him.”

Peck, driving the No. 5x Duracoat Beast-Autocraft Volkswagen, was unchallenged the rest of the way despite a succession of restarts.

Each driver’s (and car owner’s) three feature finishes will determine the overall title, with 1 point awarded for a win, 2 points for second, 3 for third and so on. Peck and Nocella each have a win and a fourth, giving them five points. Bryan Nuckles, with nine points, is the only other realistic contender for the $1,000 bonus, which will be split between the champion driver and car owner. In case of a tie, the higher finisher on Sunday will win the title.

Ben Quinones, youngest of three racing siblings, won the winged outlaw modified feature for his family’s first victory here in more than a decade of trying. Erick Rudolph captured the non-winged dirt modified midget feature, becoming the first driver to win in both of the 600cc classes. The non-winged division was added last year.

“Never been for lack of effort,” said Quinones, 22, who three years ago escaped injury in a wild crash in which he flew into the backstretch fencing. “This was all about patience and being consistent and keeping my nose clean. I knew the car was fast.”

The aptly-named Rudolph picked up a Christmas-time win here for the third straight year.

“We do a lot of homework at the shop,” he said of his Jim Lafler-owned team. “But a lot of the time we bring new equipment, and you’re not really sure what to expect.”

Korbyn Hayslett won twice in karts, with Zach Axlen, Patrick Clark, Brandon Dunn, Dustin Heath, Shawn Kluck and Philip Schneider picking up single victories.

Veteran John Ivy, who has competed in midgets, winged outlaw midgets and karts at the Rumble, received the inaugural David Lesiecki Award, presented in memory of the quarter midget race coordinator who died last March at age 47. The award, voted on by series officials, will be presented annually to the “driver who best exemplifies the spirit and dedication to racing that was (Lesiecki’s) trademark.”

“John is our all-time feature winner,” Rumble Series president Tony Barhorst said, “but this award is for his sportsmanship and willingness to help others. He very much deserves it.”




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17th annual Rumble in Fort Wayne

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 26-28, 2014 ● Memorial Coliseum Expo Center ● Fort Wayne, Ind.


MIDGETS (National/Regional/Focus/Kenyon Car)

             Qualifications – 1. Brandon Knupp, 78, Chambers, 7.904 seconds; 2. Derek Bischak, 31, Bischak, 7.911; 3. Cooper Clouse, 14, Clouse, 7.989; 4. Geoff Kaiser, 10, Moore, 8.041; 5. Joe Liguori, 8up, Williams, 8.054; 6. Ross Rankine, 9r, Rankine, 8.062; 7. Bobby Santos III, 1g, Gormly, 8.078; 8. Bryan Nuckles, 59x, Nuckles, 8.082; 9. Kyle Hamilton, 33, Hamilton, 8.128; 10. Jim Anderson, 99a, Guess, 8.146; 11. Patrick Bruns, 22, Grskovic, 8.168; 12. Justin Peck, 5x, Clay, 8.185; 13. Billy Wease, 99, Burrow, 8.191; 14. Chris Neuenschwander, 8, Neuenschwander, 8.199; 15. Russ Gamester, 46, Gamester, 8.210; 16. Anthony Nocella, 4, Seymour, 8.213; 17. David Gough, 6, Gough, 8.236; 18. Jimmy McCune, 61, Kenyon, 8.276; 19. Matt Westfall, 9, Ryder, 8.297; 20. Nick Hamilton, 1, Steele, 8.336; 21. Cory Setser, 24, Setser, 8.339; 22. Austin Nemire, 19, O’Connell, 8.352; 23. Lynsey Liguori, 74, Williams, 8.374; 24. Rex Norris III, 63, Norris, 8.388; 25. Mike Streicher, 19b, Belt, 8.390; 26. Brian Gerster, 98, Burrow, 8.404; 27. Chris Jagger Jr., 32j, Jagger, 8.498; 28. Anthony McCune, 45, 3-K, 8.514; 29. Rich Corson, 15, Corson, 8.533; 30. Kyle O’Gara, 27, Lawson, 8.560; 31. Kevin Atkins, 36a, Atkins, 8.642; 32. Joey Burrow, 49, Burrow, 8.647; 33. Branson Dils, 15k, Chambers-Knupp, 8.673; 34. Brad Greenup, 4g, Greenup, 8.708; 35. Alex Watson, 41, Sexton, 8.782; 36. Jake Mangeot, 92, Burrow, 9.403; 37. Robby Parish, 7k, Irwin, NT; 38. Taylor Jagger, 27, Jagger, NT; 39. Shayne Riley, 57r, Riley, NT; 40. Chris Jagger, 88, Jagger, NT; 41. Bryan Nuckles, 59, Nuckles, withdrew.

First heat (10 laps) – Knupp, Nocella, Gerster, Atkins, Setser, Mangeot, Rankine, Bruns.

Second heat (10 laps) – Gough, Peck, Santos, Bischak, Nemire, Parish, Burrow, Jagger Jr.

Third heat (10 laps) – Wease, Clouse, J. McCune, Nuckles, A. McCune, L. Liguori, Dils, Riley.

Fourth heat (10 laps) – K. Hamilton, Kaiser, Neuenschwander, Norris, T. Jagger, Westfall, Corson, Greenup.

Fifth heat (10 laps) – Anderson, N. Hamilton, Gamester, J. Liguori, O’Gara, Fedorcak (#19b), Watson, Jagger.

First semi-feature (12 laps) – Bischak, Santos, Neuenschwander, L. Liguori, O’Gara, Fedorcak, Dils, Mangeot, Jagger Jr., Westfall.

Second semi-feature (12 laps) – J. Liguori, Nuckles, Setser, Gamester, Parish, A. McCune, Atkins, Riley, Greenup, Norris.

Third semi-feature (12 laps) – J. McCune, Gerster, Rankine, Nemire, Burrow, T. Jagger, Corson, Watson, Bruns.

Feature (50 laps) – 1. Justin Peck, 2. Billy Wease, 3. Jim Anderson, 4. Anthony Nocella, 5. David Gough, 6. Cooper Clouse, 7. Bryan Nuckles, 8. Nick Hamilton, 9. Geoff Kaiser, 10. Brian Gerster, 11. Brandon Knupp, 12. Jimmy McCune, 13. Bobby Santos III, 14. Derek Bischak, 15. Joe Liguori, 16. Kyle Hamilton. Lap leaders: Anderson 1-31, Peck 32-50.



            Qualifications – 1. Erick Rudolph, 22, Lafler, 7.927 seconds; 2. Ben Quinones, 20, APS, 7.961; 3. Bill Dunham, 84, T&E, 8.185; 4. Brad Lamberson, 19, Dunigan, 8.217; 5. Matt Farnham, 7f, Farnham, 8.271; 6. Cap Henry, 17, Henry, 8.292; 7. Drew Dorsett, 11b, Sager, 8.296; 8. Ginny Quinones, 007, APS, 8.337; 9. Chase Ridenour, 11r, 8.422; 10. Tyler Fitzpatrick, 57, Fitzpatrick, 8.485; 11. Mark Zumbrun, 35z, Zumbrun, 8.523; 12. Rusty Strausbaugh, 29, Strausbaugh, 8.571; 13. Howard McCormick, 26, Sager, 8.767; 14. A.J. Lesiecki, 14, AJD, 9.401; 15. John Ivy, 94, Henry, NT.

           First heat (10 laps) – Dorsett, Ridenour, Rudolph, Zumbrun, McCormick, Dunham, Farnham.

Second heat (10 laps) – Henry, B. Quinones, Lesiecki, Strausbaugh, G. Quinones, Fitzpatrick, Lamberson.

Feature (25 laps) – 1. Ben Quinones, 2. Brad Lamberson, 3. Chase Ridenour, 4. A.J. Lesiecki, 5. Drew Dorsett, 6. Rusty Strausbaugh, 7. Howard McCormick, 8. Bill Dunham, 9. Tyler Fitzpatrick, 10. Erick Rudolph, 11. Matt Farnham, 12. Ginny Quinones, 13. Mark Zumbrun, 14. Cap Henry. Lap leaders: Zumbrun 1-5, Ridenour 6-15, B. Quinones 16-30.



            Qualifications – 1. Larry Joe Sroufe, 21, Sroufe, 8.176 seconds; 2. Matt Janisch, 14, Jones, 8.280; 3. Erick Rudolph, 32, Lafler, 8.421; 4. Daniel Robinson, 57, Robinson, 8.530; 5. Mike Fedorcak, 9, Fedorcak, 8.581; 6. Blane Culp, 34, Culp, 8.680; 7. Jason Ormsby, 51, Ormsby, 8.730; 8. Jonathon Lesiecki, 24, AJD, 8.776; 9. Russ Gamester, 49, GRP, 8.896; 10. Gary Klein, 68, Klein, 9.087; 11. Blake Lamb, 69, Lamb, 9.157; 12. Shawn Grace, 77, Woods, 9.193; 13. Jaden Rogers, 7, Williams, 9.263; 14. Ryan Ball, 10r, Ball, 9.273; 15. Drew Rader, 74h, Allen, 9.419; 16. Clay Sanders, 21c, Sanders, 9.436; 17. Ethan Foster, 11, Foster, 9.536; 18. Kim Hughes, 6, Hughes, 9.563; 19. Phil Bozell, 83jr, Wolfersberger, 9.585; 20. Braiden Black, 69b, Black, 9.622; 21. Richard Smith, 12, Smith, 9.627; 22. Nick Eastin, 93, Eastin, NT; 23. Jeremy Howe, 48, Howe-Foster, NT; 24. Mike Stahl, 40, NT.

           First heat (10 laps) – Sroufe, Rogers, Sanders, Bozell, Howe, Klein, Ormsby, Robinson.

Second heat (10 laps) – Lesiecki, Fedorcak, Janisch, Black, Lamb, Foster, Ball.

Third heat (10 laps) – Rudolph, Gamester, Smith, Culp, Grace, Rader, Hughes.

Semi-feature (10 laps) – Hughes, Grace, Robinson, Ormsby, Howe, Foster, Black, Klein, Rader, Ball.

Feature (25 laps) – 1. Erick Rudolph, 2. Mike Fedorcak, 3. Russ Gamester, 4. Blane Culp, 5. Clay Sanders, 6. Braiden Black, 7. Jaden Rogers, 8. Daniel Robinson, 9. Phil Bozell, 10. Richard Smith, 11. Shawn Grace, 12. Kim Hughes, 13. Larry Joe Sroufe, 14. Jonathon Lesiecki, 15. Matt Janisch, 16. Jason Ormsby. Lap leaders: Rudolph 1-25.



 First heat (8 laps) – Dustin Heath, Shawn Kluck, Craig Strayer, Cody Gallogly, Nick Grommes, Colt Ternet Sr., Austin Horn.

Second heat (8 laps) – Travis Fisher, Josh McKnight, Matt Randall, Kyle Burns, Kyle Kalweit, Andrew Johnson, Teddy Alberts.

Feature (15 laps) – Dustin Heath, Shawn Kluck, Travis Fisher, Matt Randall, Josh McKnight, Jake Shelley, Cody Gallogly, Cole Ternet Sr., Nick Grommes, Kyle Kalweit, Andrew Johnson, Cole Ternet Sr., Kyle Burns, Teddy Alberts.


 First heat (8 laps) – Shawn Kluck, John Ivy, Ronnie Niehaus, Steven Webb, A.J. Robinson, Brandon Minnick, Andrew Johnson, Wayne Parkhurst.

Second heat (8 laps) – Dustin Heath, Travis Fisher, Zach Wolff, Nate Randall, Derek Hammond, Sierra Lantz, Levi Wilbur.

Feature (15 laps) – Shawn Kluck, Dustin Heath, John Ivy, Travis Fisher, Derek Hammond, Zach Wolff, Ronnie Niehaus, Nate Randall, A.J. Robinson, Levi Wilbur, Sierra Lantz, Wayne Parkhurst, Steven Webb, Andrew Johnson.


 First heat (8 laps) – Brandon Dunn, Branson Dils, Josh Hanselman, Anthony Colandro, Zack Schaffer, Mike Ernsberger, Brian Barnett, Ty Conrad, Ashley Marqueling, David Hurley.

Second heat (8 laps) – Philip Schneider, Dylan Woodling, Joe Warner, Max Stambaugh, Ron Vandermeir Jr., Bradley Boyer, Jason O’Hara, Christopher Plank, Mike Welsh, Corey Saylor.

Third heat (8 laps) – Dan Bouc, Cole Rhoton, Zack Myers, Dustin Ingle, Kevin Wall Jr., A.J. Geren, Michael Giachetti, Shanon Chiddister, Aric Vandermeir.

Fourth heat (8 laps) – John Ventrello, Steven Berlin, Brad Schieber, Anthony Myers, Cole Roberson, Brandon Schnittke, Rick Dukes, Dan McLean, Eric Wall.

Feature (15 laps) – Brandon Dunn, Dan Bouc, Philip Schneider, Branson Dils, Cole Rhoton, Brad Schieber, Joe Warner, Max Stambaugh, Dylan Woodling, John Ventrello, Brandon Schnittke, Anthony Colandro, Steven Berlin, Ron Vandermeir Jr.


 First heat, round one (8 laps) – Korbyn Hayslett, Sam Weaver, Connor Truman, Kaitlin Randall, Hannah Galitz, Michael Paterno.

Second heat, round one (8 laps) – Tayte Williamson, Gene Gregoric III, Dylan Anderson, Amanda Bohn, Myles Morrolf, Andrew Scheid.

Feature (15 laps) – Korbyn Hayslett, Sam Weaver, Tayte Williamson, Gene Gregoric III, Dylan Anderson, Kaitlin Randall, Connor Truman, Andrew Scheid, Michael Paterno, Amanda Bohn, Hannah Galitz.


 First heat (8 laps) – Korbyn Hayslett, Tayte Williamson, Gene Gregoric III, Owen Houpt, Aaron Mulrooney Jr., Jaden Cretacci, Paige Rogers, Jim Emrich.

Second heat (8 laps) – Breiden Mooney, Kasey Ziebold, Aiden Williamson, Dalton Rogers, Madison Bland, Jakeb Boxell, Griffin Hisle, Michael Villena.

Semi-feature (10 laps) – Cretacci, Hisle, Bland, Boxell, Rogers, Creager, Emrich, Villena, Mulrooney.

Feature (15 laps) – Korbyn Hayslett, Tayte Williamson, Kasey Ziebold, Breiden Mooney, Aiden Williamson, Owen Houpt, Madison Bland, Ian Creager, Jakeb Boxell, Gene Gregoric III, Griffin Hisle, Jaden Cretacci, Paige Rogers.




First heat, round one (8 laps) – Cameron Vandermeir, Joshua Toth, Jasmine Goble, Jackson Orth, David Bretz.

Second heat, round one (8 laps) – Patrick Clark, Drew Phillips, Garrett Andexler, Hunter Weaver, Parker Lindemann, Brodie Wendel.

First heat, round two (8 laps) –Toth, Vandermeir, Goble, Bretz, Orth.

Second heat, round two (8 laps) – Clark, Andexler, Phillips, Weaver, Wendel, Lindemann.

Feature (10 laps) – Patrick Clark, Cameron Vandermeir, Brodie Wendel, Parker Lindemann, Hunter Weaver, Garrett Andexler, Drew Phillips, David Bretz, Jackson Orth.




First heat (8 laps) – Zach Axlen, Josh McKnight, Max Stambaugh, Kyle Pervis, Matt Browning, John Reiser, Nathan Bevard, Derek Lilly, Blake Adams, Cameron Miller.

Second heat (8 laps) – Brandon Dunn, Kobe Allison, Tyler Ransbottom, Tyler Kramer, Darrin Hurley, Owen Calderwood, James Thompson, Bill Booher, John H. Miller.

Third heat (8 laps) – Dustin Heath, Joey Pendergrass, Joe Barker, Matt Hall, Kyle Pervis, Dellas Burns, Tylar Rankin, Brandon Cretacci, Larry Fullbright.

Fourth heat (8 laps) – Philip Schneider, Jake Shelley, Ryan Moran, Charlie Schultz, Dustin Vandermeir, Scott Hamble, Nick Grommes, Jason Brenneman, Jeff Town.

First semi-feature (8 laps) – Pervis, Lilly, Browning, Hall, Burns, Bevard, Stambaugh, Ferrell, Rankin, Reiser, Ransbottom, Miller.

Second semi-feature (8 laps) – Moran, Kramer, Barker, Schultz, Ice, Grommes, Calderwood, Vandermeir, Booher, Town, Hurley, Miller, Hamble, Brennaman.

Feature (15 laps) – Zach Axlen, Dustin Heath, Jake Shelley, Brandon Dunn, Joey Pendergrass, Ryan Moran, Philip Schneider, Tyler Kramer, Josh McKnight, Joe Barker, Matt Browning, Kyle Pervis, Derek Lilly, Kobe Allison.


 First heat, round one (8 laps) – Brandon Dunn, Zach Axlen, Tyler Kramer, Jake Wachtman, Max Stambaugh, Tim Ice, John Reiser, Blake Adams, Christopher Whipple, Tyler Ransbottom.

Second heat, round one (8 laps) – Philip Schneider, Dustin Heath, Jake Shelley, Charlie Schultz, Joe Barker, Ryan Moran, Tyler Kalb, Jamie Ferrell, Zack Wolff.

Third heat, round one (8 laps) – Joey Pendergrass, Kobe Allison, Derek Hammond, Matt Browning, Matt Hall, Dustin Vandermeir, Bill Booher, Kyle Jones.

First semi-feature (8 laps) – Kramer, Wolff, Stambaugh, Moran, Ice, Jones, Browning, Kalb, Hammond, Adams.

Second semi-feature (8 laps) – Wachtman, Shelley, Schultz, Barker, Ransbottom, Hall, Ferrell, Reiser, Booher, Whipple, Vandermeir, Moran.

Feature (15 laps) – Philip Schneider, Dustin Heath, Brandon Dunn, Zach Axlen, Jake Shelley, Joey Pendergrass, Ryan Moran, Max Stambaugh, Kobe Allison, Charlie Schultz, Zack Wolff, Joe Barker, Jake Wachtman, Tyler Kramer.




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Chris Seelman photo



17th annual Rumble in Fort Wayne

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 26-28, 2014 ● Memorial Coliseum Expo Center ● Fort Wayne, Ind.


Rookie Nocella stuns ‘Rumble’ rivals on opening night


Classic Motorsports

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Truth be told, Anthony Nocella wasn’t Bobby Seymour’s first choice of driver for his team’s inaugural appearance at the Rumble in Fort Wayne. Or, the car owner admitted with a rueful grin, the second, either.

But that didn’t keep the 22-year-old college senior from Woburn, Mass., from scoring one of the biggest upsets in the 17-year history of the indoor racing classic.

Charging from ninth starting position, Nocella squeezed inside Justin Peck in turn three on lap 33, then pulled away for a convincing win in Friday night’s opening 50-lap midget feature at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center. Bryan Nuckles settled for second, followed by Derek Bischak, Peck and another rookie, 17-year-old Ross Rankine. The three-day program continues Saturday, then wraps up with a Sunday matinee.

“Pretty awesome, being our first time out here,” Nocella said as one competitor after another offered congratulations. “I’ve heard a lot of these names out here – some of them didn’t even make the show. To move up from ninth and win it is pretty awesome.”

Seymour, saying he hoped he was out of earshot of his driver, admitted he first offered the ride to NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader, then to former Rumble winner Lou Cicconi Jr.

Not that he didn’t have faith in Nocella, who competes primarily in modifieds.

“He’s been driving for me since he was 15,” said Seymour, son of the late USAC car owner “Boston” Louie Seymour. “He has a tremendous amount of talent. He’s a good racer. He drives our modified back East, and sometimes he gets beat up, because he’s such a clean driver.”

“Awesome, awesome,” engine builder Mike Seymour enthused. “What a great job. We have a lot of confidence in him.”

Nocella qualified only 19th-fastest, more than a half-second off Brandon Knupp’s pace. But with car builder Mike Streicher lending his assistance, he won his heat, then got a break when a reshuffled lineup allowed him to start ninth in the feature instead of 15th as scheduled. An engineering student at Wentworth Institute of Technology, he proceeded to march straight to the front, with virtually no contact along the way.

“I knew I had a good car,” said Nocella, who drove a Streicher-built Hawk powered by one of Mike Seymour’s Autocraft Volkswagen engines. “I wanted to do it clean.”

Nuckles admitted Nocella was a blur, but he wasn’t complaining about his day.

“I’m thrilled to finish second,” said the Ohio driver, who matched his career-best indoor performance. “We’ve had some bad luck in the past couple of years. I feel like we won.”

Longtime Rumble driver Jason Ormsby of Warsaw, Ind., dominated the non-winged dirt outlaw modified midget feature for his first Fort Wayne victory, leading all 25 laps to beat Larry Joe Sroufe and Russ Gamester. Dustin Heath and Korbyn Hayslett each won twice in karts, while Shawn Kluck, Anthony Colandro, Garrett Andexler and Philip Schneider notched single victories.

Saturday’s program includes the same classes, plus winged outlaw modified midgets and quarter midgets.

Nocella’s victory lifts him and the Seymours into the lead in the battle for the newly created Rumble in Fort Wayne overall championship. A driver’s (and car owner’s) three feature finishes determine the title, worth a $1,000 bonus.

He may need to sweep the weekend just to keep his ride.

“Schrader really wanted to race here,” Bobby Seymour said. “He said to mark him down, he’s coming next year.”