2007 World of Outlaws Rookie Profile: Kerry Madsen Concord, NC--Feb. 15, 2007 -- Kerry Madsen doesn't really think of himself as a rookie. He certainly did not look like one on February 10 during the 36th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals at ...
2007 World of Outlaws Rookie Profile: Kerry Madsen
Concord, NC--Feb. 15, 2007 -- Kerry Madsen doesn't really think of himself as a rookie. He certainly did not look like one on February 10 during the 36th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park when he won his first World of Outlaws A-Feature, but for all intents and purposes that is what he will be this season.
The native of St. Mary's NSW, Australia will be a contender for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award. Prior to racing in Florida, he ran a very aggressive schedule in his native land, as he has done for the past several years. While in Australia, he competed against many fellow World of Outlaws competitors, and picked up several checkered flags, as he was joined by his crew chief from the United States.
"I worked with Sonny (Kratzer) last year and we worked on a few things that we had been doing last year while down there," said Madsen. "It's kind of like training so we get everything worked out and we can get off on the right foot when we get back here."
For the second straight time, he won the Grand Annual Classic while in Australia, one of the most famed events in the country. To earn the $30,000 winner's check he held off fellow countryman and World of Outlaws driver Brooke Tatnell, as well as Daryn Pittman and Donny Schatz. Ironically Madsen, Pittman, and Schatz claimed the three A-Feature victories during the DIRTcar Nationals to open the World of Outlaws season.
"It was pretty cool winning the Grand Annual Classic," commented Madsen. "We had been having one of those seasons where we had a plenty of car speed and could not catch any breaks with luck. It was really nice for it to all turn around, and hit everything right for a weekend and win a big race. That's the biggest race in Australia, so to win it two times in-a-row is pretty special."
With nearly 90 races on the World of Outlaws schedule this season, Madsen will certainly stay busy. With the intense schedule that he opened the New Year with Down Under, he will easily eclipse the century mark for total events he competes in by the time the checkered flag flies on the inaugural Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway on November 3.
"It will probably be the most races I have done in a season," he admitted. "By the time we add up all the early season races in Australia is will be a lot of races."
While he will be visiting many tracks for the first time, Madsen's team has been on the road for several years and with the veteran leadership of Crew Chief Sonny Kratzer, they believe they have all the pieces in place to contend for wins night in and night out.
"The team has been around for a long time, so they have the infrastructure there," he explained. "That should be a bonus for us, compared to teams that are not used to doing that number of races. The equipment and personnel is all there, and they have done this before, so it should be a good thing for us."
Madsen competed at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa for a number of years, and claimed the track championship there in 2005. While he had plenty of success at the half-mile, having won 14 career feature events, he always yearned to branch out a bit more and compete even more. He will have the chance to compete at Knoxville twice this season with the World of Outlaws.
"Ever since I came over here, I have wanted to race wherever the touring guys are," shared Madsen. "That is where the best competition is. I think it does help (having raced weekly at Knoxville Raceway). Right now I am interested in racing where the best guys are. I am not interest in doing other stuff anymore, and we'll see how it goes."
The always intense driver contested a large portion of the National Sprint Tour schedule in 2006 with the Dave Helm-owned team, winding up 10th in points. He also competed in a handful of World of Outlaws races, as he added more tracks to his lists of facilities he has turned laps at. This has him more than ready for the intensity of running full-time with the World of Outlaws and all the demands that go with life on the road.
"I'm with an established team and they have a lot of notes for the tracks and places we go," he stated. "I've been to a few of those places, but definitely not all of them. With the level of competition that will be there, you will either be good or you will not. That goes with tracks you have been to as well. It's going to be a tough year. There will be a lot of goods cars, and I'm just hoping to get off on the right foot everywhere we go."
With a record number of teams starting the season with the series, Madsen knows the importance of being fast when he and his team roll the car off the trailer. With over 50 cars on hand each night of the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park to open the season, he turned in three strong qualifying efforts. He also a heat race and qualified for the dash, on the night he would go on to win the A-Feature.
He saw just how tough the competition was on the final night at Volusia, when he had to race his way into the A-Feature by winning the B-Main, less than 24 hours after he claimed his first win with the series.
"I think on night a when you draw a bad number, you will see really good cars not making the inversion," Madsen commented. "They'll race their way in, but it's definitely going to be tough. Qualifying will be important, getting that good lap or two in."
Madsen had one goal coming into 2007, and he is well on his way to achieving that after his strong showing at the DIRTcar Nationals. After scoring two Top-10 finishes, including his first A-Feature win with the series, he is currently sixth in the championship standings.
"I would like to win some races," he said before the first green flag of the season flew. "That is my goal, and that is the team's goal."