---- — FORT WAYNE – Dave Darland, one of the nation’s most popular short-track drivers, will return to the “Rumble in Fort Wayne” in a car fielded by National Midget Hall of Famers Mel and Don Kenyon.
Dubbed the People’s Champion, the 47-year-old Darland has won twice on the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center’s 1/6-mile indoor concrete track and has made a record 19 feature starts. He missed last year’s event while racing in New Zealand.
Fresh off a victory in the prestigious Turkey Night Grand Prix, Darland is among a record nine former winners already entered for the 16th annual Rumble on Friday, Dec. 27 and Saturday, Dec. 28.
Defending champions Billy Wease and Derek Bischak head the list, which also includes Jim Anderson, Lou Cicconi Jr., Rich Corson, Bobby East, Tony Elliott and Mike Fedorcak. With the notable exception of Tony Stewart, every feature winner since 2004 is entered.
Stewart, sidelined by a broken leg, will be back as a car owner for Cicconi and Fedorcak while also participating in autograph sessions both days. The two-day racefest also includes winged and non-winged outlaw midgets, karts and quarter midgets, with a complete racing program each day.
“With this entry list so far, we have the makings of the most entertaining features we’ve ever had,” race organizer Tony Barhorst said, noting that the pre-race entry period runs through Dec. 17.
Darland will drive a Yamaha-powered Kenyon Car as a teammate of East, who was runner-up on the second night last year. The Rumble is unique in that national midgets, Ford Focus midgets and Kenyon Cars all compete in the same class. In all, 33 midgets already are entered.
Information about tickets (including VIP Suite packages), entries and racer’s rate hotels is available at www.rumbleseries.com. The event information line is (317) 418-3216. Requests for information may be e-mailed to email@example.com. Tickets may be ordered by mail without a service charge.