FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The racing family often comes together when things go wrong at the race track, and that philosophy was exemplified on Friday during opening day of the 20th annual Rumble in Fort Wayne.
After Kody Swanson broke a u-joint on his No. 8 Speed Chasers Inc. Shores-VW during practice Thursday night, the team was in need of spare parts to be able to fix the car and get the three-time USAC Silver Crown champion on track for the remainder of the weekend.
Enter legendary car builder and long-time Rumble veteran Mike Fedorcak, a friend of Swanson’s car owner Tom Brewer, who opened his shop to the Speed Chasers team at 11 p.m. Thursday night and went digging in the cobwebs to help out with the repairs.
Fedorcak pulled several pieces off the original Munchkin midget that he first built back in 1986 and loaned them to Brewer and Swanson so that they could attempt to make Friday night’s feature.
The kindness didn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated, as Swanson qualified into the main event by winning his heat race and drove to a sixth-place finish when all was said and done.
“The past 24 hours were so busy, but the end result makes a lot of the effort worth it,” admitted Swanson. “Borrowing some parts off the original Munchkin … that’s something that just doesn’t happen in a normal situation. We’re thankful to Mike that he was willing to help us.”
“They didn’t quite match; we found that our driveshaft may have been a little too long initially, so we went to work doing some engineering to make it work … got off jackstands just in time for engine heat, and then the motor wouldn’t run right because of some trash for the fuel filter. By the time we were ready to qualify, we had snow on the tires and it’s amazing we were able to do what we did the rest of the night.”
“I can’t say thank you to everyone who helped on this car enough. Tonight was all about learning. I lost some spots learning, and then I gained a few back, also learning. It wasn’t all bad at all. I have a lot to be grateful for.”
Fedorcak added that the “racers helping racers” philosophy is never more evident than at an event like the Rumble.
“Anything to help get Kody going,” he said. “I love to watch him run. He’s a great guy and I’m happy he was able to do well with those parts. It’s cool to have those pieces running here … but he knows I want them back after Saturday night! Eventually, I want to restore that car back to its original condition, and I’d like to use all the original parts I can.”
“It just naturally comes to be at a race like this; we all help each other where we can. Yeah, there’s some stuff on the line, but this event is more about having fun in the wintertime. Life’s too short to try to win by having a part your buddy doesn’t have. I’d rather beat everyone on the race track.”
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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