FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Jake Shelley picked up the win in the highest-paying go-kart feature ever to run at the Rumble in Fort Wayne on Saturday, banking $2,000 during the John Limbacher Memorial.
The 20-lap feature for the Clone 360 division headlined a full day of racing for the go-kart and quarter midget classes inside the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, with winners crowned in 13 classes.
Shelley stole the show in the Limbacher, however, passing Rumble kart kingpins Jason Dunn and Zach Axlen on his way to victory lane and a payday that equaled that of the national midget feature.
Dunn started from the pole and surged to the lead over Axlen on the opening lap, but a red flag for a multi-car pileup that sent Jeff Town flipping into the turn two barriers forced a complete restart.
Town was uninjured, hopped back into his kart and continued on.
After the restart, Axlen passed Dunn on the inside to assume command on the third revolution, pulling away briefly as Shelley started to close in from sixth on the grid.
Shelley overhauled Dunn for second off turn four on lap eight and locked on to the back bumper of Axlen’s kart, finally making the winning pass entering turn one just after the halfway signal was displayed.
From there, he pulled away over the final 10 laps en route to a convincing and emotional victory.
“We picked a heck of a weekend to get some breakthrough wins here,” said Shelley, nearly in tears in victory lane. “This is a career-maker, to win this race and to beat Zach and Jason. I can’t believe it.”
Dunn re-passed Axlen in the final laps for second, with Tyler Kalb and Phillip Schneider completing the top five.
The race was held in honor of the late John Limbacher, who passed away just prior to this year’s Rumble.
His son Jon was in attendance and presented the winner’s check to Shelley on Saturday night.
“My dad taught me two things: never give up and you can do anything if you put your mind to it,” said the younger Limbacher. “This feature lived up to every expectation I had for it and I know my dad would be proud. It was beautiful.”
Shelley was the only kart racer to double up on wins Saturday at the Rumble, also taking the checkered flag in the Clone 330 feature over Axlen and Dunn.
Other go-kart feature winners included Schneider (Senior Champ), Brandon Coopshaw (Junior Sportsman), Canadian Alex Smolders (Junior 3), Owen Calderwood (Clone 425) and Oliver Osborn (Kid Karts).
Judd Miller (Animal), Taylor Nibert (Heavy 160), Max Hulisz (Senior Honda) and Brodie Wendel (Junior Honda) all took quarter midget victories during the Saturday program.
The 21st annual Rumble in Fort Wayne will be held Dec. 28-29 inside the Allen County Memorial Expo Center.
Full results can be viewed on the next page…