FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Just as Russ Gamester did in Friday night’s National Midget feature, Larry Joe Sroufe started from the pole and completed a wire-to-wire performance during the 19th annual Rumble in Fort Wayne.
Sroufe started from the pole and lead all 30 laps of the non-winged 600cc micro feature to notch his record third-career Rumble victory in the hotly-contested class.
A special “King of the Hill” sequence of dash races set the top eight starting spots for the 30-lap main event, with Sroufe coming out on top of a 29-car field and beating teammate Josh Ross to the checkered flag by less than a car length.
“My car was real good tonight,” said Sroufe in victory lane. “We made a lot of changes on it from hot laps all the way up to the start of the feature … that was the key. We had to keep chasing the race track tonight and this car handled so well in the feature. It was just fun to drive and I’m happy to have another win here in Fort Wayne.”
Ross, brother of two-time non-winged 600 winner Blane Culp, chased Sroufe the entire distance in the same car that Culp used to win his two features, but came up just short of notching his first-career Rumble victory.
Brian Busz, Jason Ormsby and Clay Sanders completed the top five finishers.
The 30-lap winged 600cc outlaw micro feature saw a first-time Rumble winner emerge from a chaotic night, with Brad Lamberson holding back John Ivy for a stunning breakthrough triumph.
Lamberson took advantage of a lap 10 restart, after Ivy got tangled up with a lapped car and sustained damage to the front fascia of his car, to assume the lead and never gave it up the rest of the way.
After coming to the Rumble for many years, Lamberson said Friday night’s win was “one to remember for a long time.”
“You don’t just come in here to the Coliseum and beat John Ivy in this class,” Lamberson explained. “That just doesn’t happen. This was a fantastic night, but it took the right circumstances to get us here.”
“When he got tangled up there, I thought ‘I’m sure in luck,’ and then when they put him back in front of me I wasn’t sure what we were gonna be able to do … but that restart worked out perfectly for us. Right off the start I was able to get by him, and you know what they say: the rest is history!”
Ivy, who led the first nine laps of the main event, ultimately finished second and said he was just “hanging on” at the end.
“We got underneath that slower car and I got into the tires … it just bent the front end all up. Bent the rack. I’m surprised we even finished the feature, to be honest with you. It’s just part of indoor racing; you run up on traffic so fast. We’ll take a second and go onto the next one.”
Drew Dorsett, Howard McCormick and A.J. Lesiecki were the rest of the top five.
Charlie Schultz (Sr. Caged), Sam Weaver (Sr. Flathead), Aiden Williamson (Jr. Sportsman), Andrew Scheid (Junior 3), Brock Anderson (Clone Super Heavy), Joey Pendergrass (Clone Heavy), Ryan Moran (Clone Medium) and Ruger Lough (Kid Karts) all notched go-kart victories during Friday’s Rumble program.
For Scheid, Anderson, Pendergrass and Lough, their wins were their first-ever in Rumble action.
Landon Hathaway (Sr. Honda), Billy Lieb (Jr. Honda), Trey McGranaham (Heavy 160) and Caidyn Brinkman (Light 160) each took quarter midget victories during the course of the day.
The 19th annual Rumble in Fort Wayne concludes on Saturday with another full day of racing action, culminating in the headlining National Midget feature. Opening ceremonies are set for 7 p.m.