Knight Before the Kings Royal is Final Tune-UP for the Kings Crown
ROSSBURG, OH (July 12, 2013) — STP World of Outlaws (WoO) sprint car driver Kerry Madsen and NRA Sprint Invaders hotshoe Tim Shaffer tuned up for Saturday’s 30th annual Kings Royal with victories Friday night at Eldora Speedway.
On the Knight Before the Kings Royal, Madsen rallied for his second win in three WoO races at the 0.500-mile speedplant. But first he had to find a way around Brad Sweet. Sweet, who started on the front row with pole sitter Joey Saldana, roared high along the wall to rocket into the lead. He established a 1.4-second margin over Saldana with three laps clicked off and held a comfortable margin over the field in the 30-lap race.
Madsen, who started fourth, began reeling in Sweet. He cut the deficit to 0.289 seconds with 10 laps down but couldn’t find a way past Sweet over the next nine laps. He took advantage of his best opportunity with 10 laps to go as Sweet went low and Madsen high to split the lapped car of Craig Dollansky. Madsen carried the momentum to the lead and used another lapped car, this one of Steve Kinser, to hold Sweet at bay.
As Madsen clicked off the final laps, Sweet battled; trying to find a way around Kinser. Once Sweet put Kinser behind him it was too late to make up ground on Madsen, who picked up his second World of Outlaws victory this season.
“It was a blast. Once I got the lead I was thinking where’s the checkered, man?” said Madsen, who also won the WoO feature at Eldora Speedway on May 3. “It finally came out. What a night, what a crew.”
Sweet finished second and was followed by Saldana, WoO points leader Daryn Pittman and Jac Haudenschild.
“Insane race,” said Madsen, who established himself as a driver to beat for the 30th annual Kings Royal after also setting fast time in the two-lap qualifying session with a quick lap of 13.216 seconds (137 mph) to top a field of 44 cars. “A couple of times I thought I was going to hit the wall but I got away with it. Whew! It was fun.”
Sweet did tag the wall on lap 17, which helped Madsen close the gap and eventually slip past.
“A little frustrated. We gave it away a little bit but Kerry was really fast,” Sweet said. “The fans got to see a good race. … To have momentum you have to be comfortable up against the wall. We’ll come back and try it again (Saturday).”
In the NRA Sprint Invaders feature, Shawn Dancer looked strong early by pacing the field for the first 10 laps. Shaffer, who went door-to-door with Dancer coming out of Turns 3-4 on lap 7, grabbed the lead a few laps later and looked to run away from the pack.
But a red flag on lap 18 bunched up the field to give them another shot at Shaffer. No matter. Shaffer rode the high line around Eldora to run off the final laps in the 25-lap feature. Randy Hannagan crossed the finish line 1.58 seconds behind Shaffer for second. Butch Schroeder, Jared Horstman and Darren Long rounded out the top five.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been up here,” Shaffer said. “We’ve been working hard on both the 410 and 360 (sprint cars). We came up a little short in the 410 but the 360 win means a lot to me. … I felt pretty strong but in this game here you better run every lap your hardest.”
Track owner and three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart raced with the Outlaws and qualified 40th with a fast lap of 13.922 seconds. Stewart finished third in the C-Main to miss qualifying for the last chance B-Main by one spot.
Eldora Speedway returns to action Saturday for the 30th annual Kings Royal. Admission gates open at noon. Afternoon festivities include the National Sprint Car hall of Fame auction at 2:30 p.m., a Q&A with Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz at 3:30 p.m. and a driver autograph session from 4-5 p.m. Hot laps start at 6:30 p.m., pre-race festivities are at 7:30 p.m. and racing starts at 8 p.m.