Madsen Masters Knoxville to Conquer Mediacom Shootout
The Australian earns his first World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory since 2007
KNOXVILLE, Iowa – June 9, 2012 – Patience was key on a warm Saturday night for Kerry Madsen.
The Australian had to be patient after falling to second on the start and he had to be patient while staring at traffic with veteran Sammy Swindell on his rear bumper in the closing laps of the Mediacom Shootout at Knoxville Raceway.
A driver known for his aggressiveness, Madsen exuded the definition of patience as he recorded his third career World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory and his first since 2007.
“It’s difficult because you’ve got lapped traffic in front of you and you want to gas it, you want to put some lapped cars between you and him, but unfortunately there was not a lot to go,” he said. “So I thought the smarter option was to back myself away from the lapped cars, keep a dose of fresh air on the hood and just try to save some tires for reserve.”
After qualifying sixth and winning his heat race from the third starting position, Madsen quickly found the lead in the dash and powered to the victory, earning him his second feature pole of the season. Madsen carried that momentum to the start of the main event, which was waved off after Davey Heskin was called for jumping the start.
Swindell, who won the only other World of Outlaws event at Knoxville Raceway this season and who started second, took advantage of the complete restart. He grabbed the top spot on the opening lap as Brian Brown aimed to make it a three-way battle for the lead.
The trio went three wide entering turn one on the second lap, with Swindell high, Brown on the bottom and Madsen searching for grip through the middle. Swindell carried the momentum to maintain the lead and Madsen began to work the middle of the track.
On the sixth lap, Madsen found what he was looking for in turns one and two, and he maneuvered around Swindell into the lead.
“He went to the bottom and there was grip there,” Swindell said. “The track came in down there and when we came off of (turn) two he was right there on me and was able to get ahead. I moved right down behind him and could easily run with him, but there wasn’t much of a chance to do anything.”
Swindell stayed within a couple of car lengths of Madsen for the entire race. But as the duo worked down the backstretch after taking the white flag, it appeared that Madsen had wrapped up the win.
However, Heskin brought out the second-and-final caution as he crashed in turn four, setting up a green-white-checkered finish and allowing Swindell one last shot.
“You want to just go, ‘No!'” Madsen said. “But you just have to focus, start thinking about the restart, thinking about what you’ve got to do. You can’t let your mind wander, especially with a guy like Sammy behind you with so much experience.”
Madsen put together two consistent laps to edge Swindell for the victory, which was his 17th overall at Knoxville Raceway.
Brown outlasted Donny Schatz for the final spot on the podium.
“To come out and run third with the Outlaws I feel is an honor,” Brown said. “(I) definitely wanted to win it, but I’m sure there were 40 others who wanted to win it, too.”
Brad Sweet, who picked up his first career World of Outlaws victory on Friday, finished fifth and fast qualifier Joey Saldana was sixth. Ian Madsen ended seventh, Terry McCarl eighth, Chad Kemenah ninth and Craig Dollansky rounded out the top 10.
Ryan Bunton, Kerry Madsen, Sweet and Ian Madsen each won heat races, and Sam Hafertepe Jr. passed Steve Kinser on the last lap to claim the Last Chance Showdown.
Kinser continues to lead the World of Outlaws championship standings, but Schatz cut the deficit to only 10 points.