INDOOR: Russ Belt Out of Rumble in Fort Wayne; Car Builder Mike Streicher to Compete Sat. and Sun.

Jacob Seelman Featured, Indoor Racing, Midwest, Other Midgets, Sprints & Midgets 0 Comments

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Report by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Chris Seelman photo —

One of the most storied names in Rumble Racing Series history will step back into a National Midget to conclude the 2014 Rumble in Fort Wayne Saturday and Sunday.

Famed car builder Mike Streicher, who owns Hawk Chassis and collaborated with midget legend Mike Fedorcak on the building of the final two Munchkin chassis to ever be fabricated, will return to the cockpit driving Russ Belt’s No. 19 Widow Wax Muchkin for the Saturday and Sunday portions of the National Midget program at the War Memorial Coliseum.

Belt was involved in a scary crash during his consolation feature Friday night, launching the front end of his Munchkin five feet in the air coming out of turn four and landing hard on all four wheels right in front of the Armco barrier.

While the 41-year racing veteran walked away from the crash under his own power, he says he is unlikely to get back behind the wheel in the future.

“I was borderline coming in here, to be truthful,” Belt said on Saturday morning. “I’ve had some vertebrae fused in my neck and when we landed, I felt something crunch. I knew it couldn’t have been good and I don’t have the range of motion in my arms now that I feel like I need to be able to get back in this thing.”

“It hurts me a little bit inside — you never want to go out like this — but I’ve done this for four decades so I’m at least happy looking back on that.”

Streicher will return to the seat for the first time since hot-lapping the Rick Daugherty-owned No. 0 Munchkin in 2011 – a car last driven to a pair of podium finishes by Jon Stanbrough in Rumble in Fort Wayne that same weekend.

The Bluffton, Ohio native won the Hoosier Dome Invitational in 1990 and was the 1991 USAC National Midget Series champion, succeeding now four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon.

Hawk Chassis driver Cooper Clouse says Streicher getting back behind the wheel should make for an interesting night – and adds that it won’t take the fabricator long to be up to speed.

“Just because it’s been a couple years since he’s been in the car, you can’t count him out,” Clouse said of his car builder and longtime sponsor. “Give him about five laps of practice, and he’ll be right up to speed.”

Streicher will pilot one of four Munchkins on the grounds of this year’s Rumble – the other three being driven by Clouse (No. 14), Matt Jansich (No. 20) and Cory Setser (No. 24).

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