GEORGETOWN, Del. — The first of a four-race weekend started out just as planned for World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series point leader Chris Madden, as he picked up his seventh victory of the season Thursday night at Georgetown Speedway.
Madden was strong throughout the event, winning his heat race and re-drawing the outside pole, he took the lead on lap one of the feature and never looked back, leading every lap of the Fulton Bank 40 on his way to another $10,000 payday.
“Got a good start there to get the lead. That was a big deal for sure,” Madden said. “We knew coming into tonight that qualifying and starting position was the main thing to winning this race, and we definitely lined everything up the way we needed to get us a victory here tonight.”
The race went 34 straight green-flag laps before the only caution of the race came out for Brent Larson, who shredded a right-rear tire in turn four. The field was re-stacked and second-place Rick Eckert was once again placed on the rear bumper of Madden.
Eckert had been chasing Madden since the drop of the green, but his efforts were unsuccessful. Madden said he knew the pressure was behind him but was actually relieved to see the caution come out because it put him back in clean air. He continued on to say he’s actually lost races trying to get through slower traffic.
Coming into Thursday, Madden held a very slim Series points lead over Mike Marlar and defending Series Champion Brandon Sheppard. With this win, he extended that lead ever so slightly to 32 points over Marlar and 40 over Sheppard.
Madden said he knows how important this weekend is to his championship hopes, but also said he won’t stress over trying to win it.
“I told my guys and made a statement before we left the shop that these four races were going to be a huge swing for us,” Madden said. “If we could come up in this area and run good and still be in contention to win the points, it would absolutely be huge for us.”
Eckert finished second after starting from the pole.
“It’s really hard to get the jump from the pole here, no matter what race,” Eckert said. “In the [feature], Chris beat me on the start and I knew it was going to be difficult then. He was a little bit better at times, and there were times I was a little bit better than him, I felt. So we were pretty equal.”
Sheppard dove into this weekend with yet another podium finish, placing third with a car that he said was strong all event long.
“The track wasn’t as racy as we wanted it to be, so you had to start up front,” Sheppard said. “All-in-all, we were pretty happy with everything. As long as we can keep it up front all weekend, we’ll be satisfied.”
Mike Marlar won his sixth PFC Brakes Fast Qualifier Award of the season and 15th of his career with a lap time of 18.511.
Sears Craftsman Feature (40 Laps) 1. 44-Chris Madden [$10,000]; 2. 7-Rick Eckert [$5,000]; 3. 1-Brandon Sheppard [$3,000]; 4. 157-Mike Marlar [$2,500]; 5. 9-Devin Moran [$2,000]; 6. 4-Amanda Whaley [$1,700]; 7. 72-Jason Covert [$1,400]; 8. 18c-Chase Junghans [$1,300]; 9. 55L-Donald Lingo [$1,200]; 10. 25-Shane Clanton [$1,100]; 11. 54-David Breazeale [$1,050]; 12. 85-Ricky Elliott [$1,000]; 13. 8-Mark Pettyjohn [$950]; 14. 7r-Ross Robinson [$900]; 15. O-Dale Hollidge [$850]; 16. 91-Tyler Erb [$800]; 17. B1-Brent Larson [$770]; 18. 151-Kyle Lear [$750]; 19. KB-Kerry King [$730]; 20. 118-Rob Schirmer [$700]; 21. 2-Dan Stone [$700]; 22. 11-Austin Hubbard [$700]; 23. 92-Nick Davis [$700]; 24. 44r-Brent Robinson [$700