Auto Racing: Australian driver captures first WoO win at Deer Creek
SPRING VALLEY— Ian Madsen would've stood in the rain all night and answered questions if he needed to.
The downpour that was hitting Victory Lane at Deer Creek Speedway on Saturday was nothing more than a victory shower for Madsen, a 29-year-old sprint car driver who was in unfamiliar territory.
Madsen, a native of St. Marys, New South Wales, Australia, led the final 29 laps of the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Clash at The Creek to pick up his first career Outlaws victory.
"I can't put it into words," said Madsen, who entered Saturday's race in 37th place in the WoO season points standings. "This is pretty special."
Madsen, whose brother Kerry has followed the Outlaws tour on a full-time basis this season and sits ninth in the points standings, blew away the field after taking over the lead.
Defending race champ Craig Dollansky looked like he could defend his title early in the race, but his No. 7 car broke down, and he pulled into the infield with just five laps complete, his night over. Madsen took control from there and handled his No. 18 car masterfully through three restarts.
Even with current Outlaws points leader Daryn Pittman breathing down his neck on those restarts, Madsen managed to leave Pittman in his wake. Madsen had a half-lap lead by the time the white flag came out. He settled in behind a lapped car on the final lap and took the checkered flag more than four seconds in front of runner-up Pittman.
"I was really nervous," Madsen said of the restarts. "I know how strong (Pittman) has been all year. I was just going as hard as I could on the restarts and as hard as I could on every lap."
Pittman finished second, followed by Paul McMahan. Steve Kinser, the 2011 Clash at The Creek winner, finished fourth, and Joey Saldana, who won in 2009 and 2010 at Deer Creek, placed fifth.
But the night belonged to Madsen, who has competed sparingly on the Outlaws tour during his career. He has competed on a regular basis at Knoxville Raceway each of the past two years, finishing sixth in the 410 sprint car points standings in 2012 and second this season.
In 2011, Madsen competed in 15 Outlaws races, earning three top-five finishes, and he sat on the pole for the World Finals in Charlotte.
But none of that quite compares to the feeling he had in Victory Lane on Saturday, collecting his champion's trophy and a check for $10,000.
It was the second big payday for Madsen in less than a week. He won a $10,000-to-win race at Huset's Speedway near Sioux Falls, S.D., on Sept. 8.
"It's unbelievable to be up here for a World of Outlaws race," Madsen said. "It's always been a dream of mine."
Kyle Falck of Decorah, Iowa, won the USRA Stock Cars feature.