New Team, No Problem For Chris Madden

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Chris Madden (Michael Moats photo)
Chris Madden (Michael Moats photo)

SEYMOUR, Tenn. — Chris Madden drove his No. 44 Rocket to victory Saturday night in only his second start for his newly badged Chris Madden Racing team.

Madden dominated the 50-lap World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series feature at 411 Motor Speedway.

It had been 36 hours or so since a Friday morning release announced the change for Madden and after he finished third Friday at Cherokee Speedway, he grabbed his 28th career World of Outlaws win on Saturday.

Earning the seventh clean sweep of the World of Outlaws season, Madden was dominant front the get go.

Slipping to second at the start of the 50-lapper, Madden fell behind as outside polesitter Cade Dillard took the point. The duo ran neck-and-neck for five laps until Dillard took a risk by going to the bottom in turns one and two, a move that allowed Madden to go top shelf and storm around the outside of Dillard’s No. 97 to take command of the race lead on lap six.

A pair of cautions on lap 13 and lap 28 tested Madden with the likes of Dillard, Brandon Sheppard and Ross Bailes lining up behind him on each restart.

“I was able to use the hill to build our speed and get some momentum into turn one each time,” Madden said. “We had a great race car all night long. Every single one of the guys has been apart of it. It’s not just me, they deserve all the recognition too.”

A bout with lapped traffic in the closing stages almost provided an interesting end to the 50-lapper, but Madden again aced his latest test and held on to take the checkered flag with a 1.158-second advantage.

“2020 has been upside down for me, there’s no doubting that,” Madden acknowledged on his trying year. “We haven’t quit though; we stuck it out; we battled hard. My family has stuck behind me through it all and they’ve kept pushing me.”

Ricky Weiss passed Sheppard on the final lap to finish second.

“I think this pink and green is the key,” Weiss joked on his newfound stride. “The fans love it and it sure is fast. We’ve been running well lately though, just trying a lot of things to build our notebook with stuff that’ll help down the road. I had a great race with Bailes, running door-to-door for like 20 laps, but I could never quite clear him enough. I thought it would get interesting at the end when I saw that lap traffic up by Madden and then I was able to sneak by Brandon at the end.”

Slipping to third on the final lap, Sheppard collected his 25th podium appearance, 30th top five result and 35th top-10 finish of the season.

“This is a great showing compared to what we normally do around here,” Sheppard noted. “We’ve been getting better at the places we struggle at, so that’s a big plus. We could maneuver all over, but past halfway I couldn’t hit the bottom like I needed to, so I don’t think I could’ve got to him. We’ll take our notes and move on to the next one.”

The finish:

Feature (50 Laps): 1. 44-Chris Madden [1][$10,000]; 2. 7-Ricky Weiss [8][$5,000]; 3. 1-Brandon Sheppard [5][$3,000]; 4. 23-Cory Hedgecock [7][$2,500]; 5. 58-Ross Bailes [3][$2,000]; 6. 157-Mike Marlar [14][$1,700]; 7. 28-Dennis Erb [11][$1,400]; 8. 7M-Donald McIntosh [6][$1,300]; 9. 76-Brandon Overton [15][$1,200]; 10. 97-Cade Dillard [2][$1,100]; 11. 12-Ashton Winger [16][$1,050]; 12. 29V-Darrell Lanigan [4][$1,000]; 13. 99B-Boom Briggs [17][$950]; 14. 0-Scott Bloomquist [12][$900]; 15. 57M-Camaron Marlar [18][$850]; 16. 1G-Ryan King [20][$800]; 17. 18-Chase Junghans [9][$770]; 18. 8X-David Payne [24][$750]; 19. 53-Ray Cook [23][$730]; 20. B1-Brent Larson [13][$700]; 21. 17M-Dale McDowell [10][$700]; 22. 2X-John Henderson [22][$700]; 23. 3N-Austin Neely [19][$700]; 24. 66-Jordan Rodabaugh [21][$700]. Lap Leader(s): Dillard 1-5; Madden 6-50. Hard Charger Award: 157-Mike Marlar[+8]