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Tony Stewart ready to ‘Rumble’ this weekend

Stewart-Haas Racing Driver Announcement

KANNAPOLIS, NC - NOVEMBER 08: Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, answers questions from the media following a press conference at Stewart-Haas Racing on November 8, 2017 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Stewart-Haas Racing introduced Almirola as their driver of the #10 Smithfield Ford for the 2018 season. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Stewart-Haas Racing via Getty Images)

Jared C. Tilton

It’ll be a short Christmas break for soon-to-be NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart, who will be getting back to his racing roots in his home state of Indiana this Friday and Saturday in the 22nd annual Rumble in Fort Wayne.

Over 100 drivers will compete in more than 100 qualifying races, heats, last chance races and features on the indoor paved track inside the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum and Expo Center including Midgets, Non-Wing Dirt 600 Mini Sprints, Outlaw Modified Winged Midgets, Go-Karts and Quarter Midgets.


Stewart, who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on January 31 along with Joe Gibbs, Buddy Baker, Bobby Labonte and Waddell Wilson, will be going for his 10th Rumble title and will be joined by a few of his racing buddies including USAC and World of Outlaws winner Rico Abreu.

Abreu will be looking to avenge bad luck in last year’s Rumble. He was unable to qualify when his car broke during a practice session and he wasn’t able to continue on.

“It’s fun seeing some of the young drivers that develop into nationwide stars,” Rumble Racing Series spokesman Bob Koorsen told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. “Erik Jones ran here when he was 6 years old. Ten years ago, Austin Prock was winning quarter midget races and now he drives a Top Fuel dragster for John Force.

“(Abreu has) been … looking forward to coming back. The fans are going to get a treat.”

Koorsen will be one of the busiest individuals in the Coliseum, serving as lead announcer for all 100-plus races this weekend. He’s been a fixture throughout the Rumble’s two-plus decade history.

“I look forward to it all year long,” Koorsen told the Journal Gazette. “There’s just so many people you only see once a year. You have people coming in from California to the Carolinas, and they all converge on Fort Wayne for the smallest track they’ll run on all year.”

There will be one of the widest age swaths of any event in motorsports anywhere, with mini-go-kart drivers as young as five years old, on up to 600cc mini-sprint car driver Clarence Hoch, who will soon turn 72.

Both days of racing begin at 11 a.m. ET, with qualifying, heats, last chance races and features.

Follow @JerryBonkowski