A Family Affair: On the Road with Kerry & Ian Madsen Brandon, SD-- June 13, 2008--It's easy to do a double take when walking past the No. 55 machine in the pit area at an Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series event. No, there...
A Family Affair: On the Road with Kerry & Ian Madsen
Brandon, SD-- June 13, 2008--It's easy to do a double take when walking past the No. 55 machine in the pit area at an Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series event. No, there are not two of Kerry Madsen, but in fact his brother Ian is spending his off-season from racing in Australia, here in the United States again this year helping Kerry and the Vermeer Motorsports team.
Kerry enjoys having his brother on the road with the team, as the younger Madsen continues to learn the sport and is able to take this experience back Down Under as he continues to hone his skills behind the wheel. In addition to helping the team with the endless amount maintenance that comes from running the always demanding World of Outlaws schedule, Ian brings an energy to the team that keeps their morale up, even when they have a bad night on the track.
"It's been a lot of fun," said Kerry Madsen of having his brother on the road with the team. "He does some goofy stuff and keeps us all laughing. It's been pretty cool. It can get to be a bit of a grind out here, so anytime you can have a laugh is good."
Kerry is glad that his brother is able to spend his off-season on the road with him, as he continues to learn the sport, but he is quick to point out that once they both strap into their cars when competing against each other in Australia, that the brotherly love takes a backseat.
"He does learn a few things, though it doesn't matter because if I get to him, I will right rear him out of the way and deal with the consequences later," said the older Madsen with a smile and a laugh that only a brother could show.
The always challenging Huset's Speedway in Brandon, South Dakota awaits Madsen and the rest of the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series drivers tonight, as they continue a stretch of three races in a four day period. Madsen has four career Top-10 finishes at Huset's in just a handful of starts. He was fourth last season in the 40-lap contest at the track. This will be the series first visit to the high-banked 3/8-mile facility after Mother Nature won the first scheduled race at Huset's Speedway back in April. The series will make one more stop at the track next month on July 3.
The event at Huset's Speedway tonight will kick off a stretch of 11 consecutive events for the World of Outlaws on tracks 3/8-mile and smaller. Madsen, who competed mainly on bullrings in Australia when he was climbing the sprint car racing ladder, ran very strong on the smaller, tighter tracks with the World of Outlaws last season.
"You have to elbow your way around there," noted the reigning Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year of what it takes to be good at Huset's Speedway. "It can get to be a little choppy and rough, but that's ok. I grew up racing on that kind of stuff. I prefer the big slick joints, but I always seem to do good on the smaller tracks. I am really looking forward to it."
While it's always important to have a strong running engine at a World of Outlaws event, at a track like Huset's, there is a lot more involved than just holding the throttle down. Madsen aboard the TK Concrete Maxim is confident that his team has a good baseline to be fast right out of the box tonight, as they continue to shake down a new car.
"Set-up and driver are very important over there," said the driver who has two career World of Outlaws A-Feature wins. "I've seen guys win a local 410- sprint car show there with a 360 (engine) in the car. We just built a new car (which was run for the first time at Sedalia's State Fair Speedway on Wednesday night) so we are looking forward to trying it at Huset's."
Madsen is currently seventh in the World of Outlaws championship standings on the strength of 12 Top-10 finishes, and is just 28 markers out of the Top-Five. He has Top-10 finishes in seven of the last nine races, as he continues to close in on his first win of the season. He picked up a season-best fourth-place finish at Eldora Speedway back in April. He also leads the series with four KSE Race Products Hard Charger Awards which are given to the driver that passes the most cars in the A-Feature each night.
"We've been consistent, but we have to start cracking off Top-Fives," said Madsen. "We need some wins as well. That is what we are looking for. I want to get this car in the Top-Five every night and see where we can go from there."
Madsen is quick to point out that a driver has to be fast from the first instant they take to the track in hot laps and especially in time trials, to have a shot at winning a World of Outlaws event. With a very strong field of cars expected for tonight's event, including the always tough local competitors at Huset's Speedway, it will be vital to be fast each time on the track.
"It's the same thing it takes every night," he shared of what it will take to win at Huset's. "You have to get a good starting spot in your heat race and get into the (Crane Cams) Dash. It's pretty important to be in the Dash and that gives you a good chance at winning. You have to then put 40 good laps together in the main event. It's the same everywhere with these guys. You can't have a half bad night and rebound and win. You have to have a good night the whole night through."
With the World of Outlaws schedule at one of its busiest points right now, Madsen is glad to be competing three and four times a week, after enduring a number of rainouts earlier this season. His Sonny Kratzer led team is geared up for the heat of the summer as all of the hard work from the off-season will now really begin to show.
"When everything is going right, it's a lot of fun," quipped the native of St. Mary's, NSW, Australia of life on the road. "It was a bit of a grind after Knoxville (traveling 240 miles for an event the next night), and then everyone was tired on Monday. When you get behind or struggle, it can be a grind, but we're having fun right now."
On Friday, June 13 at Huset's Speedway, all seats are general admission, which will be $35 for adults, $10 for juniors (Ages 8-14), with kids 7-under admitted free of charge & under are free. For tickets visit: www.husets-speedway.com or call (605) 582-3536.