RUMBLE NOTES: 100+ Cars Turn Practice Laps

Jacob Seelman Featured, Indoor Racing, Other Midgets 0 Comments

Twenty-nine national midgets took practice laps during the opening day of the Rumble in Fort Wayne. (Jacob Seelman photo)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Despite snow still sitting on the ground and frigid temperatures in the teens outside, the action inside Allen County’s War Memorial Expo Center got hot in a hurry Thursday evening.

As is tradition at the Rumble in Fort Wayne indoor races, the annual proceedings kicked off with practice day for the national midgets, winged and non-winged 600s, go-karts and quarter midgets.

With 198 total pre-entries on deck across all classes, and roughly three-quarters of those taking laps on the one-seventh mile concrete and coke syrup oval, the day was busy from the time the pit area opened at 1:30 p.m. to the moment the final checkered flag flew at 9 p.m.

However, despite the hectic day as drivers worked to understand their cars, no major issues or crashes occurred in any of the 16 classes on hand for the weekend.

In fact, a spin by Cody Tyler’s No. 18 in the winged 600cc outlaw midget session and a small fluid leak during opening national midget practice were the only notable slowdowns all night long.

– Of the 33 national midgets pre-entered for the 20th annual Rumble, 29 cars took at least one lap around the Expo Center floor in practice on Thursday evening.

– Nick Hamilton, the younger brother of defending Rumble winner Kyle Hamilton, did encounter early problems with his No. 32 Curtis Motor Sales Spike/Esslinger, with a stuck throttle nearly putting him out before he could ever turn a lap.

However, the younger Hamilton brother was able to escape major incident and make repairs to his car, thankful that the situation wasn’t any worse than it turned out to be.

“It was just something we missed at the shop,” Hamilton explained. “We tried to make some changes and just didn’t catch where that was going to be an issue before we loaded up. I’m just thankful there wasn’t any major damage. I’ve had a lot of big moments on race nights here and the hope this time is that we got our bad luck out of the way early.”

– Meanwhile, Kyle O’Gara was among those who was extremely pleased with his race car early on, having come back with a newer package than what he raced at last year’s Rumble.

O’Gara, the brother-in-law of former IndyCar driver Sarah Fisher, is seeking his first Rumble win this weekend.

“We brought a whole different deal this time around than what we did before, and I can already feel it’s a lot faster than what we had to work with last year,” said O’Gara. “I think we’ll be way more competitive this time and I’m looking forward to hopefully challenging up front on Friday and Saturday night.”

– No timing was used during any of Thursday’s practice rounds, however, a jokingly admitted point of contention for O’Gara at the end of the day.

“I was sitting with my crew after first practice and we were talking about that, actually,” O’Gara said of the lack of time sheets. “This is one of those days where you don’t know too much what anyone else has, but if you feel good about your stuff, you’re probably at least in the ballpark.”

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