Bad Brakes For Stewart, Victory For Bischak

Derek Bischak celebrates in victory lane Saturday night at the Rumble in Ft. Wayne midget event. (Gary Gasper photo)
Derek Bischak celebrates in victory lane Saturday night at the Rumble in Ft. Wayne midget event. (Gary Gasper photo)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Derek Bischak had a fast car, but he knew he was going to need a major break to beat Tony Stewart.

He got it — or, in this case, brakes.

The 24-year-old Bischak, who grew up in nearby Angola, Ind., took advantage of Stewart’s second straight night of misfortune to capture the 50-lap midget feature Saturday in the 15th annual Rumble in Fort Wayne indoor races.

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 just three and a half laps later, he overshot the second turn and spun into the infield of the sixth-mile track, his race abruptly over.

“No brakes,” said a glum Stewart, who was sidelined by engine failure on Friday.

“I was just riding,” he continued, surveying his otherwise perfect car. “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 sensation 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,” admitted Bischak, who first drove in the Rumble in “1998 or 1999” as a quarter-midget racer and made his midget debut here at age 14. “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 small, family owned team is sponsored by his father, Bob, a Snap-on Tools dealer.

“Just really feels good, to see him work so hard,” the elder 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 for history-steeped 3-K Racing, led by National Midget Hall of Famers Mel and Don Kenyon.

“I’m really proud of that,” said East, making his first appearance here since 2001. “(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, Ind., the unofficial indoor championship.

Mike Fedorcak wound up fourth and Geoff Kaiser fifth.

Polesitter 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.