AUSTRALIAN KERRY MADSEN FINALLY BREAKS INTO ELDORA’S HALLOWED VICTORY LANE
MADSEN CLAIMS WORLD OF OUTLAWS STP SPRINT CAR WIN, WHILE CRAIG MAKES IT #2 FOR STOCK CARS
ROSSBURG, OH (May 3) – While World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series hotfoot Kerry Madsen has finally reached Eldora Speedway’s coveted Victory Lane stage, Stock Car driver Barney Craig doesn’t want to leave it.
Madsen slipped past Craig Dollansky with 17 laps to go in Friday night’s 30-lap feature; then maneuvered through lapped traffic to score his first career victory at the famed .500-mile speed plant. As for Craig, he grabbed the stock car lead with three laps complete in the caution-free 15-lapper to score his second victory in as many races this season.
As for Madsen, he’s glad to finally enjoy the view and soak in the cheers from the fans in the grandstands. The driver of the Keneric Racing No. 29 has finished runner-up in Eldora’s premier Sprint Car race, the Kings Royal, in 2010 and again in 2012.
“I’m just relieved to win. I just wanted so bad to win here so to get one is great,” Madsen said. “It’s a special place for us.”
Brad Sweet started on the pole and jumped out to a commanding 1.1-second lead six laps into the race. But that dominance ended when he pitted two laps later with a broken spark plug that shut down his engine. Craig Dollansky inherited the lead at that point, with Paul McMahan and Madsen in pursuit.
A couple of event slow downs, including a turn-three flip by Madsen’s brother, Ian, kept Madsen in the hunt.
He was able to jump in front with 13 laps remaining, then had to hold off the field with two cautions with 10 laps to go. A final single-file restart with six laps to go helped Madsen stretch his lead to 2.7 seconds. As he was weaving through lapped traffic, Dollansky moved closer, but fell short by 1.7 seconds.
“Just run consistent laps, bring it on,” Madsen said of what was going through his mind as he clicked off the late laps. “I knew lapped traffic was going to come so pay attention to the traffic. We’ve been so good here I figured we’d get one.”
Dollansky, McMahan, Donny Schatz and Jac Haudenschild rounded out the top five.
McMahan topped the two-lap qualifying session by turning the fastest lap around the .500-mile clay oval in 13.145 seconds (averaging 136.934 mph). Thirty nine cars participated in qualifying, including track owner and three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart. Stewart, who traveled 1,200-miles roundtrip from his NASCAR duties in Talladega, Ala., qualified 24th out of 39 cars with a best lap of 13.504 seconds.
Stewart finished 16th after starting 23rd in the feature.
In the stock car main event, Craig had to work hard for his second feature win of the season. First it was an electrical problem that caused him concern after hot laps. Then it was Shawn Phillippi putting on the heat.
Phillippi led the first three laps, but Craig was closing the gap. The 2012 points champion found a line around Phillipi in Turns 1-2 and clicked off the final 11 laps in front of the 18-car field. Phillipi then found himself locked in a door-to-door battle with Paul Pardo for second. Phillippi; meanwhile, fell off the pace and directed his car into the pits to finish 14th.
Pardo continued to reel in Craig, but ran into trouble attempting to go low on a lapped car with five laps remaining. Pardo quickly made up the lost ground and took a peek underneath Craig in Turns 3-4 but didn’t have the momentum for the slide job. Pardo appeared to bobble in Turns 1-2 on the last lap giving Craig enough cushion to pull away for another trip to Eldora’s stage.
“In the heat race we had an electrical problem. It started poppin’ and carryin’ on and we didn’t think we could find it,” Craig said. “The guys jumped on the car, found it and made us super fast.”
Eldora Speedway returns to action as the World of Outlaws STP SprintCars return Saturday for another full doubleheader show with the UMP DIRTcar Modifieds . Complete event and ticket purchase information for the World of Outlaws, along with the other exciting race events on the 2013 Eldora calendar, is available on the track’s website www.EldoraSpeedway.com. Race fans and race teams can get behind-the-scenes access by following @EldoraSpeedway on Twitter, hitting ‘Like’ at Facebook.com/EldoraSpeedway and view video highlights at YouTube.com/EldoraSpeedwayInc. The new Eldora Speedway app for the iPhone, iPad and Android is now available for download via iTunes and Google Play.