FORT WAYNE, Ind. — If anyone who attends the Rumble in Fort Wayne indoor midget races from year to year needs an example of why the event promotes the aspects of family and friends as much as they do the racing product, they need not look any further than the Corson family.
Headed by two-time Rumble winner Rich Corson, a member of the family has competed in every one of the 19 runnings of the annual Fort Wayne spectacular, with the white No. 15 national midget almost as well known and easily recognized in the Coliseum as Tony Stewart’s famous ‘Our Gang Poker’ Munchkin.
However, while Corson was the driver competing in the first 18 Rumbles in Fort Wayne, the 2016 edition was a little bit different for the racing family from Markham, Illinois.
Second-generation driver R.J. Corson — Rich’s 22-year-old son — suited up for the 2016 edition of the prestigious race following his father’s retirement at the end of the 2015 Rumble, with a goal of turning laps and enjoying himself in the process.
And while he didn’t make either of the 50-lap A-Mains, he told Race Chaser Online that his weekend goals were easily accomplished.
“(The weekend) was all about the seat time and getting some laps around here,” said the younger Corson. “It’s a lot of fun and it’s something I could have never imagined doing. With my family here supporting me, it was a blast and I had a lot of fun.”
Corson said his family history at the Rumble made his debut in the event even more special.
“The last name says it all, man. We’ve been coming here for a long time. I wish my aunt and uncle were here to see me do this and it means a lot that I can actually do it now. I miss them greatly, but I’m carrying on the tradition.”
“I’ll be honest, when I first climbed in … the butterflies were through the roof, but once you hear the engine pop off and start going, it all starts to go away. The emotions hit me when I took my helmet off for the last time, last night, it got to me. There’s a lot of people I miss and people who have helped my family out through the years and it’s just so great to be part of it.”
R.J. finished eighth and fifth in his respective B-Mains on Friday and Saturday, but said he learned a lot along the way.
Of particular importance was his father’s guidance, and while Rich Corson wasn’t on-site at the 2016 Rumble, R.J. communicated with him via cell phone to get advice on the car and the driving style it takes to find speed at the Expo Center.
“Man, I asked him a lot of questions, a lot of questions. Questions about everything … the car, the track, how to drive it … my dad has taught me so much. I can’t thank him enough and I love him to death. He’s the man … he’s my hero and I’ve seen him do this and if I could ever be half the driver that he was, I’ll be as happy as can be.”
“He said he was proud of me. He kept saying he wished he could be here; he said to have fun and I told him I had a lot of fun and that I can’t wait to be back.”