Kasey Jedzrejek Eager For Rumble Midget Debut

Kasey Jedzrejek will make his Rumble in Fort Wayne midget debut this weekend. (Jacob Seelman photo)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Kasey Jedzrejek’s national midget debut at the Rumble in Fort Wayne presented by Jason Dietsch Trailer Sales was anticipated more than a decade ago.

The LaGrange, Ohio, youngster just didn’t know it at the time.

Then six years old, Jedzrejek competed in a quarter midget at the 2011 Rumble, the only other time he has ever raced on the sixth-mile concrete oval inside the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. That same year, his father Tim made his last of 16 national midget A-main starts at the Rumble in Fort Wayne.

But it was after that weekend that Tim Jedzrejek said of his son, “We’ll probably be back here someday.”

Fast forward 12 years, and the ISMA supermodified veteran’s statement has come true, with Kasey – now 18 – set to race a national midget for the first time during the Rumble’s silver anniversary.

The 25th Rumble in Fort Wayne takes place Friday and Saturday night, with the younger Jedzrejek piloting the Lou Cicconi-owned No. 75 as part of a large rookie class debuting at this year’s Rumble.

It’s a deal that started coming together in mid-May, when Cicconi called the Jedzrejek family and offered one of his indoor midgets for Kasey to race in when the winter season rolled around.

“We’d been talking about running the Rumble for the last couple of years, but we just hadn’t figured out exactly how we wanted to do it,” reflected Kasey Jedzrejek following Thursday’s practice night. “Lou actually called us up earlier this year and told us he had a car that I could drive if we would come get it. I was actually racing my (dirt) sprint car the same week that he called … and our whole weekend got washed out in Ohio, so we decided to drive up [to Pennsylvania] one of the days, got the car, and brought it back.

“At first, we didn’t really do too much to the midget … because we were focused on my sprint car through the summer, but once we got those out of the garage and I ended up driving for someone else to where we didn’t have as much work to do, we definitely started doing a lot more work to get ready for the Rumble. I’m just really looking forward to this and seeing what it's like to actually race against guys out there.”

As Kasey’s confidence in his race craft grew through the outdoor season, culminating in his midseason move to the potent Ed Neumeister Racing 410 sprint car operation, Tim Jedzrejek began to believe his son was ready to make a splash indoors as well.

“It’s always a challenge for a young driver to come in this building for the first time,” tipped Tim, “but I was there once and I told Kasey, ‘Be like a sponge because you’ll be learning every lap this weekend.’”

Despite some early motor gremlins in the first practice session Thursday, Jedzrejek rebounded to post the sixth-fastest lap of the day in final practice, a 7.979-second clip around the concrete sixth-mile.

While he admitted that, “practice here doesn’t necessarily mean much,” some early speed was still enough to give Kasey Jedzrejek a level of comfort entering his maiden voyage in a national midget.

“I feel a lot more comfortable going into race day knowing that we have speed,” he said. “We did a lot of work over the summer, and we thought we were going to be good when we came here … and I’d say we were pretty good right out of the box. We had those small motor gremlins in the first hot lap session that set us back a little bit, but we tuned on them a little bit and I think we can still get even better.

“We're still stumbling off the corners just a tick, so if we get that sorted out, we should be even faster yet. We just have to wait and see how that goes.”

Kasey also noted that the transition from driving a dirt sprint car to the skills he needed to utilize in the pavement midget was “a bit of an eye-opener.”

“It was definitely different, feeling out the throttle and everything,” he said. “The way it takes off and accelerates … the midget has so much gear and accelerates so fast, that when you get up to the corner on such a small track, it’s a quick adjustment.

“Coming from racing outdoor and bigger tracks, three-eighths-miles and stuff during the summer, it’s a lot different.”

Asked who’s more nervous between the two of them, both Jedzrejeks agreed that Tim has carried the stress for the family going into Rumble weekend.

“I’m definitely nervous for him,” said Tim of Kasey. “It’s a wild world out there in a midget at the Rumble, and I told him he’ll learn that really quickly. But he’s a smart kid. I think he’ll pick up on things as we go.”

“I’m just ready to have fun,” added Kasey, a grin plastered on his face. “This is one of the coolest weekends of the year and it’s awesome to finally be able to experience it in a midget.”

As for his goals for the weekend, Kasey is being realistic, yet enthusiastic about his chances for success.

“The first day, our main goal is just making sure to have a good solid run and not tear anything up,” he explained. “For Saturday, I’d say as long as we can make the A (feature) … I’d like to finish around the top seven … up in that top half, if we have a good day in the opener.

“I’d say my expectations have definitely gone up since hot laps, for sure, but there’s a long way to go.”

Live action from the 25th Rumble in Fort Wayne presented by Jason Dietsch Trailer Sales can be viewed Friday and Saturday through Pit Row TV, part of the SPEED SPORT Network.

Broadcast access is available to all Pit Row TV subscribers. Packages start at $24.99/month.

Kasey Jedzrejek in action during Thursday practice at the Rumble in Fort Wayne. (Jacob Seelman photo)

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