Madsen Rules Ocala Sprint Car Battle

Kerry Madsen is returning to his native Australia for a 15-race tour beginning in January. (Chris Seelman photo)
Kerry Madsen won Monday night's UNOH All Star sprint car race at Bubba Raceway Park. (Chris Seelman photo)
Kerry Madsen won Monday night’s UNOH All Star sprint car race at Bubba Raceway Park. (Chris Seelman photo)

OCALA, Fla. — Kerry Madsen closed out the weather-shortened UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions sprint car portion of the Bubba Army Winternationals Monday night with a convincing Bubba Raceway Park win over Chad Kemenah, Dan Dietrich, David Gravel and Dale Blaney.

It nearly didn’t happen, as polesitter Madsen and front-row companion Jac Haudenschild banged wheels hard at the flagstand on the initial break but both recovered, with Madsen leading the charge to turn one.

“That was tight,” offered Madsen. “I wanted to be sure I got the lead on the start, because I knew he was fast, and I didn’t leave him enough room. Then he almost passed me a few laps later when I got too high into turn one and he got beside me, but I kept my speed up and got the lead back off turn two.”

The dueling duo caught the tail of the field on lap four and Madsen used the traffic to his advantage, working out to a half straightaway lead by lap 10. Then Haudenschild, who seemed to be reeling Madsen in, caught the turn-three wall and took a vicious tumble on lap 16, bringing a red flag.

“I hit the wall hard,” said Haudenschild. “It’s dark over there and I missed the line.”

Haudenschild’s demise put Kemenah on Madsen’s tail for the restart, but he never mounted a serious challenge despite yellows for a stalled car on lap 25 and lap 29 for a turn-four spin by fast-timer Dave Blaney.

The stars of the waning laps were Gravel and Christopher Bell, as both got noticeably faster as the 30-lapper wound down. Gravel got around Dale Blaney on lap 20 and then worked his way toward the third-running Dietrich, getting right alongside as the checkered flag waved, while Bell worked to seventh from 19th starting spot.

“Kerry was really quick,” offered Kemenah. “He was especially good in clean air, but we came from fifth and we’re happy with second.”

Greg Hodnett was sixth ahead of Rico Abreau, Bell, Caleb Helms and Tim Shaffer.

The finish:

Kerry Madsen, Chad Kemanah, Danny Dietrich, David Gravel, Dale Blaney, Greg Hodnett, Rico Abreu, Christopher Bell, Caleb Helms, Tim Shaffer, Steve Buckwalter, Danny Holtgraver, Logan Schuchart, Greg Wilson, Wayne Johnson, Andrew Palker, Dave Blaney, Mark Coldren, Jac Haudenschild, Christopher Jones, Klint Angelette, Jacob Allen, Terry Gray.