Knight Before Kings Royal to Madsen

Kerry Madsen

Madsen scored his second victory on the season, with the first one also on a Friday night victory at Eldora on May 3. (Photo: Dave Shank)

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Kerry Madsen really likes racing at Eldora Speedway. Madsen powered to victory on Friday night in the “Knight Before the Kings Royal” at the historic half-mile track in western Ohio for his second World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series win of the season, both of which came at Eldora.

Madsen, of St Marys, NSW, Australia, finished the night right where he started, on the top of the chart after qualifying with a lap of 13.157 seconds to lead the 44-car field. He parlayed that into a fourth-place starting position in the feature and wound up in victory lane 30 laps later after holding off Brad Sweet in a thriller that included too many slide jobs to count.

In the feature Madsen was relentless, charging to second on the fifth lap past pole-sitter Joey Saldana. Fifteen laps later he took his Keneric Racing KPC to the lead from Sweet after several slide jobs where he could not hold the pass. Sweet mounted a few other charges in traffic, but was never be able to make the pass stick allowing Madsen to collect his second victory on the season, with the first one also on a Friday night victory at Eldora on May 3.

“It was an insane race,” Madsen said of the final tuneup for Saturday night’s $50,000-to-win Kings Royal. “We got to lapped traffic and Brad really couldn’t do anything with them, so I just decided to tuck up as close as I could and wait until he tried to make a move or something and try to seize the opportunity. It felt as the race progressed our car got better and better and we brought it home. Maybe I pushed too hard at the end of the race, because I didn’t want to leave any room and we got away with it.”

Sweet’s night looked promising early on in his Kasey Kahne Racing Ollie’s Bargain Outlets car, but after losing the lead he was unable to pass back Madsen.

“He was a little better getting through lapped traffic,” said Sweet, of Grass Valley, Calif. “I struggled to get past Sammy for a long time and that’s when I got bobbled and Kerry was able to get by me. We’ll take some notes and come back tomorrow hopefully one spot better. Every race we’ve come here we’ve been trying to prepare for the King’s Royal. We’ve been knocking on the door and hopefully tomorrow is our night.”

Facing handling problems, Saldana started on the pole in the Motter Equipment Eagle and held on for a third-place finish in a race that ran 30 laps caution free.

“It was a good night for us tonight really,” said Saldana, a two-time Kings Royal winner from Brownsburg, Ind. “We can’t really be upset with third. Kerry had the car to beat for sure, he was in a class of his own. We’re just struggling with our car, but at the end of tonight it really started getting better. Early on I wasn’t that good, but later on lapped traffic was the key, that’s how Madsen slid me and slid Brad. I was running them back down, but running someone down here and passing them are two different things.”

World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship leader Daryn Pittman finished fourth by picking up four spots. The finish marked Pittman’s 30th top-five run this season. Eldora fan favorite Jac Haudenschild, of Wooster, Ohio, worked his way up to a strong fifth-place finish.

After missing his position in hot laps and qualifying, Kyle Larson took the KSE Hard Charger Award by picking up 17 positions and collected a seventh place. Larson’s night started off rough by qualifying 31st. Then, in an incredible feat, he transferred to the feature after finishing third just one spot out of a dash position in his heat race.

Track owner Tony Stewart’s night did not go nearly as well. Stewart lost a motor in his qualifying attempt and qualified 40th. Stewart then finished seventh in his heat race to go to the C-main, where he missed transferring to the Last Chance Showdown by one spot.

The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series is back in action Saturday night at Eldora Speedway for the $50,000-to-win “Kings Royal” to officially kick off the Month of Money.

Related Topics:

World of Outlaws, Kerry Madsen

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