Madden rolls at Wythe, captures SoNat'ls opener
RURAL RETREAT, Va. (July 15) — Four-time series champion Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., struck first Monday at Wythe Raceway to capture the opener on the 10-race Schaeffer Oil Southern Nationals Series. The pole-starting Madden led all 35 laps for a $3,500 and stretched a personal win streak to four race going back to last month. | Video
Starting out front and “getting the clean air first” was key to topping the modest 13-car field, said Madden, glad to keep his record spotless since June 14. “I’ve been racing, I think this is 16 or 17 years, and this is the first four in a row I’ve ever had in my life.”
Madden was never seriously challenged in taking the checkers ahead of Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga. Tennesseans Billy Ogle Jr. of Knoxville, Stacy Boles of Claxton and Vic Hill of Mosheim rounded out the top five. NASCAR Nationwide Series driver and fast qualifier Austin Dillon of Welcome, N.C., was running third when he blew a tire with 15 laps remaining.
After his victory at the picturesque half-mile oval, Madden said his Bloomquist Race Car is getting better and better.
“What we found here, we found it about a month ago, and we just keep adding to our notebook, keep it making bigger, and make sure you can take every measurement, every angle, every possible measurement you can take on this race car,” Madden said, looking forward to the remainder of the Ray Cook-promoted tour originally patterned after the UMP DIRTcar Summernationals. “It’s going to be some good racing, that’s for sure.”
Davenport settled for second but was glad to get a solid start in the points chase.
“We finally finished a race. We’ve been having so much bad luck here lately, we just finally need to get a good solid finish. It was a good points night. We’re going to run this whole deal here. Madden did a good job,” Davenport said. “He was just a little better than us in clean air, you know. If I’d have gotten out front, it might’ve been a little bit different.”
The second round of the series is scheduled for Tuesday at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tenn., for another $3,500-to-win event.
Notes: Madden’s Bloomquist Race Car is powered by Clements Automotive Engine and sponsored by Hamrick’s of Gaffney, Century Plastics, Allstar Perfomance, VP Hoosier Tire South, Race Fuels and Ohlins Shocks. ... Madden is a four-time Southern Nationals champion, earning crowns in 2012, 2011, 2008 and 2007; Davenport (2010), Tommy Kerr (2009), Anthony White (2006) and Jeff Cooke (2005) are other past champions. ... Madden’s personal four-race win streak is made up of Southern All Star victories at Volunteer and Smoky Mountain Speedways along with a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, S.C. ... Madden is also on a two-race series win streak going back to last season; he won last year’s season finale in Tazewell, Tenn. ... With the tour’s new dash format that sets the first two rows of the feature, Madden picked up an addition $200 in the Performance Rod & Custom-sponsored prelim. ... Kennie Compton Jr. and Brandon Kinzer brought out backup cars following time trials. ... The tour visits 10 tracks in four states over 13 nights with Volunteer’s event set for Tuesday.
Schaeffer Oil Southern Nationals @ Wythe: (1) Chris Madden, (2) Jonathan Davenport, (3) Billy Ogle Jr., (4) Stacy Boles, (5) Vic Hill, (6) Steve Casebolt, (7) Eric Jacobsen, (8) Booper Bare, (9) Brandon Kinzer, (10) Austin Dillon, (11) Kennie Compton Jr., (12) Bubba Russell, (13) Travis Greer. Fast qualifier (among 13 cars): Dillon, 16.565 seconds. Dash winner: Madden. Consolation race winner: Casebolt.