Tulare III - Kerry Madsen spotlight

Madsen Carries Momentum into Dave Helm Memorial at Thunderbowl Raceway Kerry Madsen has won a lot of races in his career, but one that he will always remember came on February 10 of this year at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida. It was his...

Madsen Carries Momentum into Dave Helm Memorial at Thunderbowl Raceway

Kerry Madsen has won a lot of races in his career, but one that he will always remember came on February 10 of this year at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida. It was his first career World of Outlaws A-Feature victory, as well as the final World of Outlaws triumph for longtime car owner Dave Helm. The well respected owner passed away just a few days later after a long battle with illness in his home state of California.

This weekend, Madsen and the rest of the World of Outlaws will pay tribute to Helm in the inaugural Dave Helm Memorial on Saturday, October 13 at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California, which is just 30 miles from Selma, where Helm called home. For Madsen, it will bring back fond memories of the win and of Helm, who was one of the most humble men in all of racing.

"I will never forget that win that and how special it was for the team," said Madsen, driver of the Selma Shell Maxim, recalling his win in the Florida DIRTcar Nationals to open the 2007 season. "We won that week and he passed away later in the week. I am honored that we got Dave's last World of Outlaws win for him."

Madsen and his team led by veteran crew chief Sonny Kratzer have been looking forward to returning to Thunderbowl Raceway for quite some time. After a strong third-place finish last Saturday night at Princeton Speedway in Minnesota, where the rookie driver also set fast time, they carry plenty of momentum to the high-banked 1/3-mile this weekend. Madsen has earned Top-10 finishes in six of the last eight World of Outlaws A-Feature events.

"It's good for the team to head back to Tulare," he noted. "It's a home race for us and the Helm family will be there. It should be a great event."

In the series first visit of the season to Thunderbowl Raceway in late February, Madsen was in the Top-10 in time trials, won his heat race and was fifth in the Crane Cams Dash on the opening night of the two-day event. On the following night, he again was in the Top-10 in time trials, won a heat race, and finished third in the Crane Cams Dash, only to have bad luck plague him in the A-Feature on both nights.

"We were really quick there earlier this year and didn't get the result we were looking for," he noted. "We are looking for a good result this time."

With a very strong field of cars expected at Thunderbowl Raceway on Saturday, October 13, Madsen is quick to point out just how important time trials will be to set the stage for the rest of the night. Three times this season, he has been quickest in qualifying, including last Saturday night at Princeton Speedway in Minnesota on another high-banked bullring.

"It's just like anywhere else this season if you miss it a little bit you are in trouble," described Madsen of Thunderbowl Raceway. "Hopefully we can draw a good number and get qualified well. Every where we go this year if you are a little bit off or draw a bad number you are struggling to make the show. That goes for everyone. I'm just looking forward to a good run."

Madsen enters action this weekend in the Dave Helm Memorial, atop the standings for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year award and 13th overall in the World of Outlaws championship standings on the strength of 20 Top-10 finishes, with eight of those being in the Top-Five. The event on Saturday night will offer full championship points, in addition to bonus points for the Top-Five qualifiers in time trials.

In time trials this season, Madsen has set new track records at Manzanita Speedway in Arizona, where the World of Outlaws will compete on October 19, as well as at the sprawling Orange County Fair Speedway in New York, in his first ever visit to the 5/8-mile track. The always focused driver has one simple goal as the 2007 season winds down.

"We have to win another race," deadpanned Madsen. "I really have to win one more for the team."

Madsen, the 2003 Australian sprint car champion and 2005 Knoxville Raceway track champion will add another trophy to his mantel this season, as he will claim the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award. After winning on the second night of the season in the Florida DIRTcar Nationals, he firmly entrenched himself atop the standings among the first-year drivers competing for the honor.

"We felt pretty comfortable that we would get it and now that it's mathematically wrapped up it's kind of a relief," he said. "It's a cool deal. I never really gave much thought to it at the beginning of the season, it really wasn't one of our focuses. To get it is pretty cool."

Picking up a win on Saturday night in the race honoring his late car owner would put an exclamation point on a very successful season for the native of St. Mary's, NSW, Australia. He joined the Selma Shell Racing team halfway through the 2006 season and would like nothing more than to show his appreciation to the team for their continued hard work and to the Helm family for their dedication by earning a victory in the inaugural Dave Helm Memorial.

"It would be pretty humbling for me to win it," acknowledged Madsen. "The team certainly deserves and the Helm family deserves it. Hopefully I can do it."

On Saturday, October 13 at Thunderbowl Raceway, reserved tickets for the Dave Helm Memorial in the bleachers are $40, with reserved tickets in the grandstands $45. For tickets call 559-688-0909 to charge by phone and pick-up the tickets at will-call. There is a seating chart available at: www.tularethunderbowl.com.

-credit: woo

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Kerry Madsen