December 27, 2013 – Audio, cover photo and story by Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online – FORT WAYNE, IN – In racing, the old adage is you’ve got to lose a few before you can know how to win one.
And for second year National midget driver Stratton Briggs, he’s hoping his experience from the 2012 Rumble will pay dividends the second time around.
The 16-year-old driver out of Anna, Ohio came up just short in his quest to make the starting fields in last years Rumble. Briggs had a pair of top 15 qualifying efforts and finished third in both B-mains last year, falling one spot short of transferring into the big dance.
“Last year was real tough,” Briggs said during this weekend’s Rumble activities. “We had a decent car and came so close; I really hated to be on the sidelines in 2012.”
The young talent is confident though, that this year he has a much better shot to crack the starting grid. He comes to the Rumble after running dirt sprint car events this season at Waynesfield Raceway Park in addition to running the Focus Midget Midwest series, where he finished fifth in the final points standings.
“I feel like I’ve learned a lot this year after running all the different events we have; it’s a lot of disciplines and I feel like I have a much better foothold on this year’s Rumble than last year.”
But make no mistake, Briggs is very familiar with the War Memorial Coliseum race track. The young driver scored a feature win at the Rumble in the Junior Caged Karts class in 2010 and raced in multiple go-kart divisions at the Rumble from 2008-2011 before moving up to the midget class for 2012.
“I had a lot of fun running the karts here a few years back; that’s a different experience but I’m excited for where we’re at and the success we’ve had in the midget the past two years.”
Stratton and his team will look to run a similar schedule in 2014 to what they raced this year, with the hopes of being able to make the leap to full-time midget competition sooner rather than later. But the Ohioan insists that the future isn’t on his mind until after Saturday night’s events are over.
“After the Rumble, we’ll start looking at next year’s stuff, but this weekend, I’m not focused on that. This year it’s blinders on; we want to win this time around and we’re going to give it our all.”
“When we get out on the track, it’s not about who’s got the most experience or starts or whatever. It’s all about who can get their car to the front on any given day. Last year, it wasn’t us. This year I’m hoping it can be.”
Listen in as we caught up for an interview with Stratton prior to qualifying for the 2013 Rumble in Fort Wayne: