Madsen Ready to Tackle the High Banks of U.S. 36 Raceway Kerry Madsen has raced on countless bullrings in his native Australia as well as in New Zealand, and the United States, but there is not a single track he has raced at in the world that...
Madsen Ready to Tackle the High Banks of U.S. 36 Raceway
Kerry Madsen has raced on countless bullrings in his native Australia as well as in New Zealand, and the United States, but there is not a single track he has raced at in the world that he can compare to U.S. 36 Raceway in Osborn, Missouri.
The native of St. Mary's, NSW, Australia will compete in the Second Annual Missouri High Banked Nationals for the World of Outlaws this weekend at the high-banked 3/8-mile track.
"I've gone there a few times," said Madsen, driver of the Selma Shell Maxim, when discussing U.S. 36 Raceway. "When I was running weekly at Knoxville I used to go there. It's a wild and hooked up joint. You have to race pretty hard, because the track is usually pretty wet. It's not an easy track by any means."
With laps in the sub-10 second range the norm in time trials, having a fast car early in the night will play a key role for Madsen and his fellow competitors at U.S. 36 Raceway. He set fast time earlier this season at the famed Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, setting a new track record in the process.
"Being fast at U.S. 36 is the same as anywhere, you need to have a good team and good equipment," he said. "Generally you don't want the car to be too tight. You want it to be a little free, and you just have to drive hard."
Madsen, who resides in Knoxville, Iowa during the season, returned home to Australia during the off-season, where he ran a very aggressive schedule as he has done for the past several years. While in Australia, he competed against many fellow World of Outlaws drivers, and picked up several checkered flags, as he was joined by his crew chief Sonny Kratzer from the Selma Shell team who he competed with for a majority of the 2006 season.
"For me the schedule has worked out pretty well racing once or twice a week in the early part of the season," stated Madsen. "I've had one weekend off since November, between racing in Australia and racing here. It's nice to get some home time."
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 first three A-Feature victories during the DIRTcar Nationals to open the World of Outlaws season in February. The win was Madsen's first A-Feature win of his career with the series and made him the second Australia-born driver, to win an A-Feature with the World of Outlaws.
"It absolutely helped running in Australia during the off-season up here," he pointed out. "We tried some stuff down there, and learned a lot about our package. We came out of the box strong here and won a race in Florida, the second race out."
After a fast start to the season, Madsen and his team have endured a stretch of bad luck recently. Perfect evidence of this came at Knoxville Raceway on April 28 when he started the A-Feature on the outside of the front row, led a lap early, and was running in the Top-Three battling for the lead, when he had a rear end break, ending his night.
"We've had a tough time the last month in being able to finish races," he said. "I'm hoping we can turn it around soon. We definitely have the speed, and we just have to turn it around and win some more races."
The always optimistic driver is currently the leader in the battle for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award. His lead is a healthy 318 points, with four other drivers chasing him. In the overall championship standings he sits 14th, entering the pair of event this weekend, just 86 markers out of the Top-10. Madsen has four Top-10 finishes on the season, including the win at Volusia Speedway Park.
"I'm not going to look at points this early," said the 2005 Knoxville Raceway Champion. "We were in the Top-10 and I want to get us back there. You can make for some sleepless night for yourself if you worry about points and what you should have done. We just have to get back to finishing races and running well, and then the points will take care of themselves."
With the World of Outlaws schedule picking up dramatically in the next couple weeks, Madsen believes his team will rise to the occasion, and all of their hard work in the off-season and the time they spent in Australia working on different combinations will pay off. With a number of tracks coming up that will be new to him, he knows he will have his work cut out for him, including a grueling stretch beginning next Tuesday that will have the series competing five times in a six-day period.
"The key to being good out here is having a consistent base to work off of, and running solidly each night," he said. "If you miss one step at the beginning of the night, you will not be in a spot to win at the end of the night that is how tough it is out here."
The Second Annual Missouri High Banked Nationals on Friday, May 11 at U.S. 36 Raceway brought to the fans by St, Joseph Cablevision - TV 2 ,St. Joe Harley Davidson, Anderson Ford, Budweiser Racing and From in the Grave Tattoos, will the be series only visit this season the track.
Tickets are available by calling SLS Promotions at 815-344-2023 or visiting: www.slspromotions.com, as well as at U.S. 36 Raceway, and St. Joe Harley-Davidson.