Wease Wins Friday Night Rumble!

Photo Credit: Kevin Lillard
Billy Wease wins Friday night's 15th Annual Fort Wayne Rumble
Billy Wease couldn’t believe it when he eased his way past Cooper Clouse with two laps to go, taking the checkered flag in Friday night's 50-lap midget feature of the 15th Annual Fort Wayne Rumble. This was his fourth career victory on the 1/6 mile track and fifth overall indoor midget victory. “I kept on diggin' man,” said Wease from victory lane. “I’ll tell you what, I was pretty upset I had to start last. But there was a bunch of crashes, a bunch of crap going on. I stayed in it and let everyone else put themselves out.”

As excited as Wease was finishing first, he was nowhere near as surprised as the legions of Tony Stewart fans who had braved the cold and snow to watch their champion pull off what had been considered a sure thing in the past. Friday night, however, it was not to be. Stewart would blow a motor in his Volkswagen powered Munchkin just before halfway. Although his Munchkin carried him to second, there was warning that something was amiss on the car. It refused to fire in morning practice but after working on the car for a short while the munchkin fired. Crew members stated somewhat jokingly that she was old and got cold but it was nothing to worry about. At least it seemed that way when he won his heat race with seemingly very little effort. On Lap 20 of the feature the air cleaner blew off the motor and three laps later he pulled off the track. “Motor” he said glumly. “We beat ourselves. Mechanical problems have been a part of racing ever since I can remember.” Stewart said he would have a replacement Volkswagen engine – “a very tired one” – in his Munchkin chassis for Saturday’s finale of the Rumble.

Mike Fedorcak, Stewart's teammate and car builder, seemed to be headed toward his second career Expo Center win until spinning under pressure from Bobby East on Lap 27. With nowhere to go, East stopped on the track and had to go to the tail end, giving the lead to Cooper Clouse. "Overall, I'm pretty happy,” conceded seventh-place finisher Clouse.

So was Justin Peck, making first start in a full midget under the watchful eye of former IndyCar driver Ronnie Johncox, his mentor “Billy Wease is a really good driver,” said Peck, who got a hearty slap on the back from Wease. “Pretty cool finishing behind him.”

Wease dedicated this victory to his 95-year-old great-grandmother, Pauline Wease, who died on Christmas Day. He also dedicated the win to Colleen and Steve Savage, mother and step-father of his fiance' Amanda Jaraczewski, who both died in the past two months.

Erick Rudolph scored an equally improbable win in the winged outlaw modified midget feature, inheriting the lead when Cap Henry spun just before taking the white flag. Henry reported his throttle stuck but Rudolph wasn’t red-nosed or red-faced, “In indoor racing, that’s half the battle – to get to the end and we were there,” he said.

Jason Dunn and Philip Schneider each won twice in karts. Bennett Lushin doubled in quarter midgets.

The nearly 16-hour racefest ended at 12:50 a.m.

Qualifications – 1. Derek Bischak, 31, Bischak, 8.155 seconds; 2. Joe Liguori, 67, Liguori, 8.200; 3. David Gough, 6, Gough, 8.247; 4. Tony Stewart, 2, Stewart, 8.259; 5. Geoff Kaiser, 10, Moore, 8.278; 6. Brandon Knupp, 78k, Chambers, 8.318; 7. Jimmy Anderson, 99g, Guess, 8.382; 8. Justin Peck, 5x, Clay, 8.444; 9. Billy Wease, 99, Burrow, 8.445; 10. Cory Setser, 24, Setser, 8.457; 11. Russ Gamester, 46, Gamester, 8.486; 12. Bobby East, 61, Kenyon, 8.513; 13. Mike Fedorcak, 97, Stewart, 8.524; 14. Cooper Clouse, 14c, Clouse, 8.625; 15. Rex Norris III, 63, Norris, 8.667; 16. Rich Corson, 15, Corson, 8.672; 17. Jim “Timex” Morgan, 2m, Morgan, 8.685; 18. Joey Burrow, 49, Burrow, 8.740; 19. Matt Westfall, 19, Ryder, 8.778; 20. Chris Jagger, 27, Jagger, 8.806; 21. Chris deRitis, 66, deRitis, 8.842; 22. Stratton Briggs, 2r, Briggs, 8.857; 23. Bryan Nuckles, 59, Nuckles, 8.871; 24. Aaron Pierce, 26, Gaines, 8.919; 25. Basil Hicks, 88, Hicks, 8.952; 26. Vince Kuelbs Jr., 10x, Wallace, 9.028; 27. Bobby Santos III, 98, Burrow, 9.057; 28. Joe Swanson, 3, Barnett, 9.073; 29. Terry Ahern, 6t6, Ahern, 9.346; 30. Mike Wallace, 10w, Wallace, 9.399; 31. Keith Ousley, 14, Ousley, 9.482; 32. Mike Osite, 20, Fedorcak, 9.610; 33. Nick Hamilton, 3h, Hamilton, 9.817; 34. Grant Galloway, 84, Galloway, 15.648; 35. Bill Hulbert, 88x, Hulbert, NT; 36. Kyle Hamilton, 33, Hamilton, NT

First heat (10 laps) – Bischak, Corson, Gamester, deRitids, Ousley, Knupp, Kuelbs.

Second heat (10 laps) – East, Liguori, Santos, Anderson, Briggs, Morgan, Osite.

Third heat (10 laps) – Fedorcak, Gough, Peck, Nuckles, N. Hamilton, Swanson, Burrow.

Fourth heat (10 laps) – Stewart, Clouse, Pierce, Galloway, Westfall, Ahern, Wease.

Fifth heat (10 laps) – Kaiser, Setser, Hulbert, Jagger, Wallace, Norris, Hicks.

First semi-feature (12 laps) – Knupp, Hurlbert, Nuckles, Santos, Ousley, Gamester.

Second semi-feature (12 laps) – Anderson, Pierce, Jagger, Osite, Norris, Swanson.

Third semi-feature (12 laps) – Peck, deRitis, N. Hamilton, Hicks, Ahern.

Fourth semi-feature (12 laps) – Wease, Galloway, Briggs, Wallace, Burrow, Kuelbs.

Feature (50 laps) – Billy Wease, Justin Peck, Jimmy Anderson, Bobby East, Mike Fedorcak, Geoff Kaiser, Cooper Clouse, Rich Corson, Cory Setser, Brandon Knupp, David Gough, Tony Stewart, Joe Liguori, Derek Bischak. Lap leaders: Fedorcak 1-26, Clouse 27-48, Wease 49-50.

Wease Wins Friday Night Rumble! Wease Wins Friday Night Rumble! Reviewed by Unknown on Saturday, December 29, 2012 Rating: 5