Twice before at Eldora Speedway, Kerry Madsen suffered the agony of defeat in World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series competition, coming up one position short of glory, but on Friday night the Aussie finally tasted the thrill of victory.
In the kickoff to Outlaw Thunder weekend at the track celebrating its 60th anniversary season, Madsen stole the lead from Craig Dollansky on lap 17 and pulled away to win for the first time this season on the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series circuit and the first time of his career at Eldora.
Dollansky was second with quick-timer Paul McMahan, hard-charger Donny Schatz and Jac Haudenschild rounding out the top five.
“I’ve had a very slow start to the season,” said Madsen, of St. Marys, NSW, Australia, who came up just short in the 2010 Kings Royal to Steve Kinser and just short again to Sammy Swindell in the 2012 Kings Royal. “So to get a win is great, but to get it at Eldora where I’ve been so close so many times … I always felt like I’ve been good here, but not gotten a win, so it feels fantastic to get the win.”
The Aussie who resides in Iowa will get a chance to repeat on Saturday night in the conclusion of Outlaw Thunder weekend at Eldora.
On a wild night that saw cars move back-and-forth, Kasey Kahne Racing’s Brad Sweet charged to an early lead in the 30-lap feature event, but on lap 8 his motor went silent after what was later determined to be a piece of debris that hit and broke a spark plug, forcing him to the pits. Dollansky inherited the lead and the Minnesota native took charge in the Eyecon Trail Cameras Maxim. However, on lap 18, Madsen drove his Keneric Racing KPC entry hard into turn one and caught Dollansky, sticking a move and powering away. Madsen then masterfully navigated lapped traffic to the checkered flag.
“We got the lead and about 12 to 13 laps in I thought we were getting a flat left rear tire,” said Dollansky, of Elk River, Minn., who was coming off a victory in Salina, Okla. “The car was just laying left hard, and I was concerned about making the 30 laps, but in the end we came home second with the car in one piece.”
McMahan charged to the checkers in third, his second consecutive podium finish in the CJB Motorsports car, this time after topping qualifying for the fifth time this season.
“The night went real well, we started off good being quick time and made some headway in the dash starting eighth and got to fifth,” said McMahan, of Nashville, Tenn. “I love this place, I love coming here and I always seem to run well. Tonight we were a third-place car.”
Early in the race it looked as though Sheldon Haudenschild would wind up with a breakout night on the podium. After starting 19th and cracking the top five, the second generation racer from Wooster, Ohio, sustained a broken axle, ending his night in the same position he started.
Schatz thrilled the crowd with an impressive run from 24th to fourth, marking the fourth time this season he has won KSE Hard Charger honors. It was a huge run for Schatz, who qualified for the A-main by edging Brady Bacon for the final transfer spot in the Last Chance Showdown.
The Outlaws return to Eldora on Saturday night for another $10,000-to-win event before invading Minnesota’s Elko Speedway for “FVP Outlaws at Elko” on Friday, May 10, and Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway for the “Mediacom Shootout” on Saturday, May 11.