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Chris Madden (center) shares the podium with Brandon Sheppard and Jonathan Davenport. (Heath Lawson photo)

Madden Rules Deer Creek Prelim

SPRING VALLEY, Minn. — Chris Madden sneaked past Brandon Sheppard and Jonathan Davenport with five laps to go to win the 25-lap preliminary feature on Thursday night at Deer Creek Speedway.

It was Madden’s first race back after winning last month’s Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned Mountain Moonshine Classic at Smoky Mountain Speedway.

Madden came 11th starting spot using the low line around the three-eighths-mile, high-banked oval. Sheppard came home in second, followed by Davenport, Tim McCreadie and Mike Marlar.

Sheppard took the lead at the start of the main event. He and Davenport ran one-two in the race trading sliders in an exciting battle for the top spot. Madden was utilizing the very bottom of the racing surface as he from third to the lead in a single lap to take the win.

“I just figured out a good line right there where I didn’t have to stop entering to get off the corner on the bottom,” Madden said. “My car was good enough to lay out and turn and go back to the bottom and leave the bottom as fast as the top where they were running. In one and two I think we were about even with those guys in three and four I was better.”

Madden suffered a bought with pneumonia in recent weeks.

“I am still down on my strength. We are still working on it,” the 47-year-old said. “I’ve got a great family at home and a great wife who took care of me while I was home.”

Sheppard, who led more laps than anyone during the feature saw his battle with Davenport upstaged by Madden’s late-race run to the front.

“Our car was really good there. I felt like I was going a little bit hard there early,” Sheppard said. “I think it got my tires hot there. I could take off really good on the restarts and get rolling there and after that last one me and JD started sliding each other and that was a lot of fun. Then Madden sneak attacked us there. It was a good race. We were right there with them at the end. After I started hustling there at the end, I thought I should have been doing that the whole time.”

Davenport, the three-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion rounded out the podium.

“He [Madden] snookered us on the bottom. I felt I had a really good car especially the longer we ran the better we got. I felt like I really got a run-on Sheppard there, so I was going to try and break his momentum and I didn’t really realize Chris was quite that close to us.”

The finish:

Chris Madden, Brandon Sheppard, Jonathan Davenport, Tim McCreadie, Mike Marlar, Brandon Overton, Ricky Weiss, Johnny Scott, Ricky Thornton Jr., Jimmy Owens, Chad Simpson, Tyler Erb, Ryan Gustin, Brent Larson, Hudson O’Neal, Garrett Alberson, Jared Hawkins, Daulton Wilson, Jesse Glenz, Stormy Scott, Scott Bloomquist, Chase Junghans, Chris Simpson, Cade Dillard.

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