Updated: Jan 16, 2022
Fort Wayne, IN (Sunday, December 19, 2021) – After the bitter disappointment of missing his first Rumble A-Main a night ago, Tony Stewart rebounded Saturday to collect his twelve Midget feature win at the 23rd Running of the Rumble in Fort Wayne. The Rumble is an indoor Midget race held at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on the concrete floor around Christmas time each year.
Travis Welpott, the Pendleton, Indiana driver who led a majority of Friday night’s feature before a broken u-joint ended his run, started on the pole for Saturday’s 50 lap, $2,000 to win feature race. Alongside Welpott on the grid was Rumble veteran Bryan Knuckles, still in search of his first Rumble title. The Three-Time NASCAR Cup Series Champion, Tony Stewart lined up in the third position next to Rumble Rookie young Jack Macenko.
There was trouble twice before green when Austin Nemire’s car stalled, stacking up the field on the parade laps, but once the yellow flag was furled, a caution wouldn’t make another appearance for the remainder of the night as the weekend’s feature event went ‘flag-to-flag’.
Nuckles fought on the top side of the race track to get past Travis Welpott on the opening couple of laps but was eventually dropped back to fifth.
Tony Stewart drove underneath Welpott with ease on lap four to take the lead and begin pulling away. Just six laps later, Smoke had opened up a full straight-a-way gap over Welpott and Rookie Jack Macenko.
Macenko searched lap after lap for a way around Welpott who visibly didn’t have the speed Macenko did. After patiently waiting for Welpott to slip up, Macenko laid a bumper to him, but that still didn’t work. On lap 26 Macenko took a big risk, moving off the bottom grove, leaving the front door wide open for the train of cars behind him to move forward. Macenko spent four laps in the second groove alongside Welpott before completing a rare outside pass for the second position.
Next, Macenko set sail for Stewart who had over a half track advantage with 20 laps to go. As Macenko closed the gap to the race leader, mechanical woes again brought Welpott’s night to an end. The race stayed green, and Stewart continued to sift his way through lapped traffic. Macenko gained ground lap after lap but there wasn’t enough time to catch the winningest driver in Rumble history.
The number 2 Tony Stewart Racing Munchkin Midget crossed the finish line to extend his winning record to 12 Rumble victories. Jack Macenko finished second and Billy Wease third.
Heat Race wins were claimed by Jack Mascenko, Russ Gamester, Ryan Flores, and Billy Wease. Derek Bischak and the ‘Jersey Jet’, Joey Payne won the Last Chance Races.
23rd Running of the Rumble in Fort Wayne
Saturday – Midget Feature Results
1) 2 Tony Stewart
2) 24M Jack Macenko
3) 99W Billy Wease
4) 6K Trey Osborne
5) 2.5 Joey Payne
6) 59 Bryan Nuckles
7) 31 Derek Bischak
8) 16 Nick Hamilton
9) 19 Austin Nemire
10) 98 Ryan Flores
11) 8UP Joe Liguori
12) 97 Mike Fedorcak
13) 46 Russ Gamester
14) 18 Travis Welpott