FORT WAYNE – Derek Bischak had a fast car, but he knew he was going to need a major break to beat Tony Stewart. He got more than one break.
Bischak, a 24-year-old Angola native, took advantage of Stewart’s second straight night of misfortune to capture the 50-lap midget feature Saturday night in the 15th annual Rumble in Fort Wayne.
Stewart, the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and a nine-time winner at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center, shot past Bischak with an inside move on lap 22 to grab the lead. But 3 1/2 laps later, he overshot the second turn and spun into the infield of the one-sixth-mile track, ending his night.
No brakes, said Stewart, who was sidelined by engine failure Friday. I was just riding, look at the right rear and the right front (tires).
Bischak was never challenged in holding off 2012 USAC Silver Crown champion Bobby East and 14-year-old Justin Peck over the final 25 laps.
But he had to dodge a spinning Brandon Knupp on lap 45 and survive three restarts in the last six laps.
(Stewart) had the car to beat tonight, Bischak said. I got lucky. He wasn’t pulling away from me that much. I was hanging with him. But I was going to need a break.
Bischak’s family-owned team is sponsored by his father, Bob, a Snap-on Tools dealer.
Just really feels good, to see him work so hard, Bob Bischak said. He’s always been such a good, clean driver. He’s probably better than the equipment I’ve put under him.
East’s second place equaled the best Rumble finish 3-K Racing, led by National Midget Hall of Famers Mel and Don Kenyon.
I’m really proud of that, East said. (Bischak) was good. It took my car a little while to come in. He got away from me.
But no one else can say they didn’t hit a car this weekend. We had a good time.
Peck’s third place came on the heels of a runner-up finish Friday behind Billy Wease, giving the eighth-grader from Monrovia the unofficial indoor championship.
Roanoke’s Mike Fedorcak wound up fourth and Fort Wayne’s Geoff Kaiser was fifth as area drivers took three of the top five spots. Bischak joined Fedorcak, a winner in 2002, as the only Fort Wayne-area midget drivers to win the Rumble.
Pole-sitter Tim Neal pulled off a surprise in the winged outlaw modified midget feature, leading all 30 laps and holding off John Ivy. Cap Henry, Ryan Smith and Friday winner Erick Rudolph rounded out the top five.
Event promoter Tony Barhorst said the 16th annual Rumble is scheduled for Dec. 27 and 28.