2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Kerry Madsen Last season Kerry Madsen went on the road full-time with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series for the first time in his career. While he was ...
2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Kerry Madsen
Last season Kerry Madsen went on the road full-time with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series for the first time in his career. While he was considered a rookie, he had plenty of experience racing sprint cars both in North America and in his native land of Australia for many years. The situation will be much the same this season, as he will drive for VerMeer Motorsports, who will be taking to the road for the first time as a rookie team, but have a storied history of winning races and championships at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa.
Madsen has spent a majority of the off-season competing in Australia. During his first stint down under in November, he won at Perth Motorplex with the World Series Sprintcars. He also was victorious this past weekend in the Grand Annual Classic at Premier Speedway for the fourth consecutive time. He will remain in Australia for one more week, to compete in the Australian Sprint Car Championship at Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway this weekend.
"It absolutely helps running," said the native of St. Mary's, NSW, of his trips to Australia in the off-season. "I think it is like spring training for baseball players, and you also can do a bit of testing which should be helpful during the year. I think that racing here definitely helped me get a win at Volusia (Speedway Park) last year."
Madsen will again be teamed with veteran crew chief Sonny Kratzer, this year. He turned the wrenches last season and helped guide Madsen to his first two career Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature wins.
"I have a good relationship with the team and with Sonny, and I'm really excited about the upcoming year," said Madsen.
Madsen drove for the VerMeer Motorsports team, which is based out of Pella, Iowa, beginning in 2004 until early 2006, competing weekly at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa. As a part of the team, he was the 2005 Knoxville track champion. During his title winning season, Madsen won five A-Feature events in-a-row at one point on the half-mile, in addition to winning the Summer Classic from the 16th starting spot, which earned him $10,000. Also in 2005, he finished sixth in the Knoxville Nationals, after starting 15th.
Madsen along with five other drivers have helped the team finish in the Top-10 in points at Knoxville Raceway in six of the last seven years, including three consecutive Top-Five finishes in the standings. They were fifth in points in 2007 with Billy Alley behind the wheel.
"I think it will be invaluable having a veteran crew chief, especially with a team that hasn't done the full tour before," Madsen said. "It was a great hire for Tony Vermeer and for Sonny. I feel like we have a good combination going. We're definitely looking forward to the start of the season."
Madsen adapted quickly to a number of tracks that he visited for the first time in 2007, as he was quickest in time trials three times over the course of the season, including setting new track records at the famed Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix and at the storied Orange County Fair Speedway in New York. He also led laps at the famed Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania during the National Open weekend.
In addition, he won the dash twice to earn the same number of pole position in A-Feature events, as well as earning the hard charger award five times during the season.
"Having competed last season really does lift my confidence," he noted. "We feel like we gave a few races away, so I am really pumped about this year. Though we still understand that there will be many challenges before us especially with a new team."
With over 80 races slated for 2008, Madsen looks at each race as an opportunity to continue to home his skills and contend for wins. He is cautious to not get caught up in the magnitude of the schedule that awaits him and the team.
"You have to take all of this stuff one race at a time," explained Madsen. "We're excited for each and every night and will approach each one as they come."
Madsen had a very successful rookie season in 2007 that saw him claim the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award on the strength of his two wins along with 23 Top-10 finishes, en route to a 13th place finish in championship points.
He finished last season off with plenty of momentum, earning Top-10 finishes in five of the last eight events, including picking up his second career win at Perris Auto Speedway in California, in his first visit to the high-banked facility. He looks to build on this foundation, as well as the momentum that he has from a strong finish to the Australian portion of his schedule, when he arrives at Volusia Speedway Park for the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals on February 8.
"I really want to win races and be in the Top-10 in points," he said of his goals for 2008. "I also want to really enjoy the opportunity."