KANSAS CITY, Kan. – CJB Motorsports fans will be seeing double for the final four World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series races of the season.
Australian veteran Kerry Madsen will pilot a second car for the team during the final two weekends of the year, starting at Port Royal Speedway this weekend for the Tuscarora 50 and continuing at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the World of Outlaws World Finals, Nov. 1-3.
The opportunity came about in the wake of some health issues for Big Game Motorsports crew chief Guy Forbrook, as well as a reduction in the end of season plans for that team, which regularly fields Madsen in the No. 2m.
Due to the sponsorship arrangement between Mainstream Holdings and CJB Motorsports, a deal was reached for Madsen to jump into one of primary CJB driver David Gravel’s backup cars for the two crown-jewel event weekends.
“Tod Quiring has always been one of our major supporters, so this deal is as much a favor to them as anything … to thank them for all the support they’ve give us through the years,” CJB Motorsports crew chief Barry Jackson told SPEED SPORT on Tuesday night. “When they decided to wind their season down a little early, that left Kerry without a good ride for a few of the biggest races of the season, so the Big Game people gave us a call and asked if we could help them out. It was a no-brainer, from our side.”
The car Madsen will drive for the next two weekends will be adorned with the No. 5m on the wing.
A 25-time World of Outlaws feature winner, Madsen has one victory with the series this season, which came at Wisconsin’s Cedar Lake Speedway on July 7 during the FVP Platinum Battery Showdown.
The reason for optimism? Madsen earned a pair of top-five finishes last year during Tuscarora 50 weekend and finished fourth in both nights of the World Finals as well.
“(Port Royal) a fast track,” noted Madsen. “You have to have great horsepower and great cars. The last few years, it’s been trending upwards with upgrades to the track and making the race bigger. It’s turning into one of the exciting races of the year.
“As far as Charlotte … it all comes down to how you qualify on Thursday with that format for the World Finals,” he added. “We were good there last year and obviously, David won there on the final night … so I believe both of us will be good going back again.”
That’s certainly the hope for CJB Motorsports as an organization. Their last World of Outlaws win came in July at Ransomville (N.Y.) Speedway and Gravel only has three top-five finishes in the last 15 races.
“It doesn’t matter what level of racing you’re in, you can get off base and have some work to do … whether it’s NASCAR or the NHRA or here in our deal,” said Jackson. “You can be going good for a while, and then all of a sudden you just lose the handle. Dealing with all the confidence issues and the mentality things that come with not running as well as we’re used to, that’s probably the hardest part.
“We’re not where we want to be; we know that. I’ve been doing a lot of testing and running some different stuff for a while, because once it was apparent that we weren’t fighting for a championship our focus shifted to strengthening us for 2019,” he continued. “That’s hurt us a little bit right now, if you look at it from the outside, but I’m confident it will start turning around.”
The hope is that Madsen will be able to offer his veteran viewpoint to go along with Gravel’s more youthful exuberance.
“It’s going to give me another driver’s perspective and feel on what we do have going here right now,” Jackson explained. “They have a good motor program with the (No.) 2 car, and Madsen may come over here and say that we’re running just as good, and the same with the race cars.
“It will be a good way to compare notes and I know he’s looking forward to it as well.”
Speaking of Madsen, the 46-year-old expects to be back with Big Game Motorsports and working with Forbrook once again in 2019 after the longtime crew chief recovers from an upcoming operation.
“It’s my intention to stay with Big Game next year,” he said. “We’ll meet after the World Finals and work things out, but I’m not planning on going anywhere.”