A Homecoming of Sorts: Kerry Madsen Ready for Knoxville Raceway KNOXVILLE, IA -- April 25, 2008 -- Kerry Madsen hails from St. Mary's, NSW, Australia, but for the last several years, Knoxville, Iowa has been home for the reigning Advance Auto...
A Homecoming of Sorts: Kerry Madsen Ready for Knoxville Raceway
KNOXVILLE, IA -- April 25, 2008 -- Kerry Madsen hails from St. Mary's, NSW, Australia, but for the last several years, Knoxville, Iowa has been home for the reigning Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, and thus the Sprint Car Capital of the World, Knoxville Raceway, has become his adopted home track.
After competing weekly at the track for a number of seasons, Madsen took to the road full-time with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in 2007. This season he returned to the Vermeer Motorsports team, for whom he drove for from 2004 until the middle of the 2006 campaign. He won the track championship at Knoxville Raceway in 2005, his last full season with the team, and will make his first of three starts with the World of Outlaws at the legendary half-mile located at the Marion County Fairgrounds this Saturday, April 26.
"I am very excited for this weekend," said Madsen, of his return to Knoxville with the Vermeer team. "I've been looking forward to this race ever since the schedule came out and had it on there. We were real strong there last season in the (No.) 11H. I'm looking forward to another strong run and hopefully we can pick up a Top-Five there."
Madsen began competing at Knoxville Raceway in 1998 and has 14 career wins at the famed track and well over 50 career Top-10 finishes. He looks to use this experience this weekend to quickly get up to speed against a very stout field that will not only include 18 other full-time World of Outlaws competitors, but also the always tough weekly competitors at the track who will be opening their season on Saturday night.
"It helps me because I have more laps there than most of the other tracks we go to," he noted. "With the Outlaws, everyone has a ton of laps at Knoxville, so it's not really an advantage over any of those guys, but it helps me personally having a lot of laps there."
When Madsen claimed the 2005 track championship at Knoxville Raceway, he added his name to a select list of drivers who have accomplished that feat, including fellow World of Outlaws drivers Danny Lasoski and Terry McCarl, who have seven and six track championships respectively.
"It's definitely a special accomplishment and something to put on the resume," he proudly said. "When I first came over here, it wasn't a goal of mine. The goal was to come over here and be able to contend with the Outlaws and win some Outlaws races. We still have a lot to shoot for."
While some drivers find added pressure competing at their home track, Madsen will approach the event at Knoxville Raceway, the same way he approaches any other race, as he chases his first A-Feature win of the season. With nearly 80 races on the World of Outlaws schedule this season from coast-to-coast, complete focus is needed from the time he takes the track for hot laps until the final checkered flag waves on the A-Feature. He started second in both World of Outlaws A-Feature events at the track last season and was battling for the lead, when a flat tire in one of the events and a mechanical failure in the other hampered both of those strong runs.
"There really is no pressure there," said the always determined driver. "You want to do good at every track you go to. The only pressure I have is what I put on myself."
Madsen is currently fifth in World of Outlaws championship points on the strength of three Top-10 finishes, including a season-best fourth-place performance at Eldora Speedway on April 11. While he is looking forward to the next few weeks as the World of Outlaws schedule begins to pick up, he is quick to point out that the team has taken full advantage of the breaks in the schedule this spring to gear up for the always demanding World of Outlaws trail.
"It's going better than expectations right now for a new team," Madsen stated of the beginning of the 2008 campaign. "We have a new car and new team and new owner on the road. We didn't really expect to be in the Top-Five at this point of the season. Actually the weather has been working out well for us, in that it has given us a chance to get prepared and caught up on a few things. If we can keep it in the Top-10 by the end of the year, we'll be happy."
While this is the first season that the Vermeer Motorsports team has hit the road full-time, Madsen again has veteran crew chief Sonny Kratzer turning the wrenches for him. The pair combined to win two World of Outlaws events last season (Volusia Speedway Park and Perris Auto Speedway) and recorded 23 Top-10 finishes en route to earning the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award, as they were paired together with the Selma Racing team, owned by the late Dave Helm.
"Sonny has brought a lot of his program here and it's almost been like hitting the lottery," he said. "With all of his deals and him knowing the 'In's and out's' of the road. That's probably the reason we are sitting in the Top-Five right now, because of Sonny. He has been out there so long and that is very important."
On Saturday, April 26 at Knoxville Raceway, General Admission tickets for adults will be $25, with General Admission tickets for children just $12.50. Reserved tickets for adults will be $27, with Reserved tickets for children $13.50. For ticket information visit: www.knoxvilleraceway.com or call (641) 842-5431.