HARTFORD, Ohio (May 27) — Chris Madden is known for his patience in long-distance races. On Saturday night, his style worked to perfection in the 60-lap Battle at the Border finale at Sharon Speedway.
The Gray Court, S.C., driver bided his time before threading the needle to overtake battling frontrunners Gregg Satterlee of Indiana, Pa., and Tanner English of Benton, Ky., for the lead on lap 32 and then controlling the remainder of the distance.
Madden’s $25,000 score was his second in three days during the World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series tripleheader. He recorded his first triumph of 2023 on the national tour in Thursday’s 25-lap opener.
English, who celebrated his 30th birthday on Friday, settled for a $12,000 runner-up finish after leading laps 1-5, 17, 19 and 21-31. Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., grabbed third on lap 35 and stayed there to the finish while eighth-starter Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., placed fourth and Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., improved one spot to complete the top five.
Satterlee slipped to sixth in the finishing order after leading laps 6-18 and 20. He said his car tightened up as the race wore on.
English and Satterlee shared the front row for the feature and waged war for the lead through the race’s first half. The fourth-starting Madden, meanwhile, ran in fifth place until regaining fourth on lap 14 and then snatching third on lap 21.
Madden closed in on the top two before he saw his opportunity on lap 32. With Satterlee up high,and English down low, Madden only had one place to go—the middle — and that’s where he went with his Rocket Chassis. He gained momentum through turns one and two, pulled three-wide with the leader down the backstretch and the sped past both cars in turn three.
From there, Madden navigated traffic with ease to tally his 35th career WoO victory by 0.811 of a second over English.
Madden commented that he stayed patient knowing the track would come to him later in the race.
“It was greasy, and I just made sure I didn’t hurt my tires,” Madden said. “I waited until the racetrack widened out and pretty much waited for it to come to me. I wanted to be in contention around halfway, and I think it was right around halfway when we started putting the pressure on them guys.”
His patience also allowed him to be in the right place at the right time when the middle opened between English and Satterlee. He said he was grateful for how cleanly the three drivers raced for the lead.
“I’m thankful for two good drivers and both of them holding their line,” said Madden, who turned 48 on May 23. “All it would’ve took was a squeeze on each one and it would’ve been a disaster for everybody.
“But it was just racing with two really good, competitive drivers, and that’s what racing is. To do it three-wide on a dirt track is pretty awesome.”
English, who remained winless in WoO action this season, noted that it wasn’t the tires on his Viper Motorsports Longhorn car that relegated him to a runner-up finish.
“I feel like the track got greasy at the end,” English said. “I got a lot of tire left, and (Madden) kind of looked just as bad as I felt, so I don’t know if it just got greasy and we were all the same at the end.
“I know I felt like I was babying it the whole time and just trying to make sure I kept it beneath me and didn’t spin it. But I felt pretty good, and he’s one of the best, and he’s getting on top of his game again and he’s going to be hard to beat.”
Pierce’s third-place finish was his second podium of the Battle at the Border. It came on a night that his team had to hustle to make qualifying after changing an engine before hot laps.
The 26-year-old driver was pleased with his third-place finish after what his team had to do to get him on the track.
“It’s definitely a success,” Pierce said. “We saw a lot of good cars get lapped tonight, and a lot of good cars just not finish up front. It’s been tough all weekend, and the adversity we fought was just crazy.
“We didn’t know when we had to hustle and bustle to get that stuff changed around if we’d even make qualifying. And we were like, ‘Well, at least we got a provisional, so we’ll see what happens.’ What a night, and I can’t say enough thanks to all of my crew guys.”
Three caution flags slowed the action. The first caution appeared on lap four when Friday's preliminary winner Ryan Gustin got sideways entering turn three trying to take second from Satterlee; Gustin retired and finished 25th. A second caution flew on lap 24 for Colton Flinner's spin into the infield and Chub Frank slowed for the third and final yellow on lap 27.
Notes: Madden’s victory helped him extend his lead in the WoO standings to 64 points over Pierce, who vaulted from sixth to second. … Nick Hoffman, who finished seventh, is third in the standings, 66 points behind Madden. … After finishing 16th, defending WoO champion Dennis Erb Jr. ended the weekend mired in 11th in the standings, 214 points behind Madden.