Grand Marshal named for 'Rumble in Fort Wayne'

Gary Bettenhausen To Serve as Grand Marshal For "Rumble in Fort Wayne" USAC Midgets Dec. 29-30 Four-time USAC National Driving Champion Gary Bettenhausen, winner of eight "indoor" races during his storied USAC career, will serve as...

Gary Bettenhausen To Serve as Grand Marshal For "Rumble in Fort Wayne" USAC Midgets Dec. 29-30

Four-time USAC National Driving Champion Gary Bettenhausen, winner of eight "indoor" races during his storied USAC career, will serve as Grand Marshal for race organizer Tony Barhorst's "Rumble in Fort Wayne" December 29-30 in Fort Wayne, Ind. The two nights of USAC Midget racing return the 49-year-old organization to its "roots," since the first-ever USAC race was held at Memorial Coliseum in January of 1956.

Bettenhausen, who competed in 21 Indianapolis 500s between 1968 and 1993, won three "indoor" USAC Midget features at Fort Wayne in 1975 and 1976. Those were held on the floor of Memorial Coliseum, which is located next to the present "indoor" racing facility, the Memorial Coliseum Exposition Center, which opened in 1989.

The two-night racing program includes 60-lap Midget features each night. All USAC midget heats and main events begin after 7:00 pm.

The eight "indoor" victories by Bettenhausen include the inaugural "Astro Grand Prix" race at the Houston (Texas) Astrodome in 1969 and a later Astrodome race in 1972, plus wins in Indianapolis, Ind. and Cincinnati, Ohio in 1976, 1977 and 1978.

The son of 1951 AAA and 1958 USAC National Racing Champion Tony Bettenhausen, Gary won the USAC National Sprint Car title in 1969 and 1971 and the USAC Silver Crown title in 1980 and 1983. His 82 total USAC National feature wins rank him fourth on USAC's all-time list. His best Indianapolis 500 finish came in 1980 when he finished third behind Johnny Rutherford and Tom Sneva.

The "indoor" Midget races will incorporate National, Regional and Ford Focus Midgets all competing together in this special two-night program. Go-kart racing is also planned as part of the weekend activity.

The Fort Wayne races will be the 155th and 156th indoor events sanctioned by USAC since its inception in 1956. Twenty-six facilities have been utilized and a total of 72 different feature winners have emerged. Rich Vogler holds the record for most wins, with 10, while Sleepy Tripp won nine and Bettenhausen eight.

Sixty-two USAC Midget races were conducted in the old Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, by far the most anywhere. Other notable venues for indoor USAC Midget racing have included the Houston Astrodome, Toronto's SkyDome, Seattle's Kingdome, Indianapolis' RCA Dome, San Francisco's Cow Palace, Sacramento's Arco Arena and Charlotte's Coliseum.

Jim Hettinger won USAC's last indoor race, at the RCA Dome in 2001, while Tom Bigelow won the last USAC race at Fort Wayne's Memorial Coliseum in 1989.

Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets and can be charged by phone at (260) 424-1811. For event and marketing information, contact Tony Barhorst at (317) 418-3216. Contact Larry Boos at (937) 371-9682, or e-mail labracer@bright.net for entry information. A special hotel "racers rate" of $54.00 total for fans may reserved at the Quality Hotel Fundome on W. Coliseum Blvd in Ft. Wayne, by calling (260) 484-7711. The event has a website at: www.rumbleseries.com.

--USAC--

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About this article
Series USAC
Drivers Tom Sneva , Tony Bettenhausen