Stewart, Darland Split Fort Wayne "Rumble" Wins USAC Triple Crown Champions Tony Stewart and Dave Darland captured the 60-lap USAC Midget feature events at the "Rumble in Fort Wayne" December 29 and 30 as USAC returned to indoor ...
Stewart, Darland Split Fort Wayne "Rumble" Wins
USAC Triple Crown Champions Tony Stewart and Dave Darland captured the 60-lap USAC Midget feature events at the "Rumble in Fort Wayne" December 29 and 30 as USAC returned to indoor racing for the first time in four years.
Stewart, of Rushville, Ind., scored a surprise and remarkable victory in the Wednesday night opener, piloting a car he had purchased from Mike Fedorcak that day! The VW Munchkin, carrying WTFD and Our Gang Poker sponsorship, was activated after sitting idle for two years, but Stewart fought from seventh starting spot to second in five laps, then overhauled race leader Billy Wease on lap 14 and led the rest of the way.
Darland, of Lincoln, Ind., scored a similarly-sensational victory in the Thursday night closer, restarting last after an early-race spin, then maneuvering through the field to catch race leader Ryan Litt on lap 42. Darland then led the final 19 laps in the Bohn Racing R & D Precision Products Shores/Autocraft.
Trailing Stewart in the opener were Darland, Rich Corson, Tony Elliott and Mel Kenyon. Rounding out the "top-five" behind Darland in the closer were Aaron Pierce, Fedorcak, Ginny Quinones and Derek Bischak.
Pierce posted the fastest qualifying time for both nights of racing in the Fort Wayne Memorial Coliseum Expo Center, which is located adjacent to the site of USAC's first-ever race in 1956, the War Memorial Coliseum.
Stewart, who raced under the pseudonym Mikey Fedorcak, joked in victory lane: "I'm just so proud of my dad Mike Fedorcak Sr. tonight; he did such a great job. We just had a lot of fun. The holiday season is about the only time I can get home. I remember watching this car on TV when it ran -- the first Munchkin. It's pretty amazing to have driven this car at the Hoosier (RCA) Dome and at Ft. Wayne. Ever since then, I've been trying to get the nerve to ask him if I could buy it."
Darland commented after his victory: "I think I hit everything but the pace car out there tonight. I'm surprised the thing's still rolling. I was just hoping whoever was behind me wasn't too aggressive and hit me, because that happens a lot here. It was pretty rough out here and the track was pretty tight, so it was a tough place to race. It was a good thing that I spun out early because it would have been tough to get back up there late."