When Cory Setser gets into the car, he can hear the voices of generations of Setsers.
The biggest thing thats been taught to me since I was little is Be smooth. Smooth is fast, Setser said. So, you dont overdrive the corner or break it loose and kick it sideways because youre not accelerating at that point, youre just sliding. Thats the biggest thing: Smooth is fast.
Thats instinct now. Setser, 35, has been racing for 19 years, not including the messing around he did with go-karts as a kid.
But he recalled the tutelage Friday afternoon as he left the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center for lunch in the midst of more than 10 hours of preparations for the nights Rumble in Fort Wayne indoor midget races.
At the moment, Im just worried about the logistics. I want to make sure everything is all right handling-wise and that we dont have any issues with the car, said Setser, a Fort Wayne resident. The adrenaline comes when its time to start racing. Right now, you get yourself out on the track and make sure youre fast and take it from there.
Setser was one of a handful of local drivers slated for the midget races at the Coliseum – others included Geoff Kaiser of Fort Wayne, Mike Fedorcak of Roanoke, Derek Bischak of Angola and Keith Ousley and Joe Swanson of Warsaw.
Bischak posted the fastest qualifying time Friday, turning a lap of 8.155 seconds and ending Tony Stewarts streak of 10 straight fastest times. Stewart had the fourth-fastest time at 8.259 seconds.
Joe Liguori (8.200) was second, and David Gough (8.247) was third.
Setser was 10th with a lap of 8.457 seconds.
It makes it a whole lot easier being from here, Setser said. I dont have to travel. Some of the guys were running against are coming from Carolina or far out west. They have to spend the night, get a hotel room, all that. I get to go home, see my family. And the wife and kids will be out at the track. Its a comfort, versus what some of the other people have.
And about that family. His grandfather, Cliff, raced locally for seven decades and was recently inducted into the Baer Field Speedway Hall of Fame. His father, Curtis, is a successful driver; and his brother, uncle, great uncle and even grandmother have raced.
It takes the support of a lot of people to be a driver. Setser works for Windsor Homes as a builder representative and his racing is sponsored by Setser Transport and Towing, Harlan Cabinets, Speed Chasers, Hunt Performance, Got Tint and Physical Medicine Consultants.
This is the fourth year for Setser at the Coliseum – and Friday was his seventh run in two days of racing – but its the only indoor event in which he takes part.
The indoor stuff is a little bit of a different creature, he said. When you are outside and doing 120 miles per hour or whatever in a sprint car, nobody wants to touch tires or throws it in there on a whim because it will end up disastrous. Indoors, if you are too (conservative), you are going to get upside down. And if you are too aggressive, you are going to get upside down. Its a fine line.
One in which its important to remember that smooth is fast.
If You GoWhat: Rumble in Fort Wayne
Time: Gates open at 11 a.m., time trials 6 p.m., main racing program 7:30 p.m.
Where: Memorial Coliseum Expo Hall
Tickets: Adults, reserved seats $23, $41; kids 12 and younger $10, $16; adults, general admission $20, $35; kids 12 and younger $10, $16; pit passes $30, $55