Chris Madden
Chris Madden in victory lane at Mississippi Thunder Speedway. (Jacy Norgaard photo)

Madden Masters Mississippi Thunder Dirt

FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. — After 60 laps of slide jobs, crossovers and battles through traffic, Chris Madden won Saturday night’s Dairyland Showdown at Mississippi Thunder Speedway.

Madden took the lead from three-time and defending champion Brandon Sheppard early, en route to his second win of 2021. It’s also Madden’s 30th career World of Outlaws victory. 

Even though Madden led most of the race, he didn’t have much time to breathe. “Smokey” was challenged from start-to-finish in the 60-lap feature. After he dealt with Sheppard, it was rookie-of-the-year contender Ryan Gustin who tried to steal the top spot toward the end. 

Madden knew he was in for a battle when he saw Gustin move into second. 

“I watched [Gustin] go around here all weekend, and that boy’s tough,” Madden said. “When he got into second, I said boy, you better get your elbows up and give it all you got.”

A couple of late restarts kept Gustin on Madden’s back bumper, but “The Reaper” didn’t have enough to get by. 

Madden used his experience to make sure he saw the checkered flag first. 

“I just had to make sure I hit my marks, and not slip my wheels when I didn’t need to,” Madden said. “I just had to do the best I could do, and if they beat me, they beat me.” 

While Gustin settled for second — his best World of Outlaws finish — the rookie was still happy with his performance at a place he’s familiar with.  

“I love [Mississippi Thunder Speedway], it’s my favorite race track in the country,” Gustin said. “It’s huge to know you can actually run up front and be a contender, and it feels really good. Hopefully this is the upside of things.”

Brandon Sheppard and Kyle Strickler were locked in an exciting battle for most of the race. The “High Side Tickler” attempted multiple slide jobs on Sheppard, but the “Rocket Shepp” powered underneath him to get the position back each time. 

While he managed to cross the line in third ahead of Strickler, Sheppard wasn’t happy with Strickler after the race.

“The eight car couldn’t pass me without hitting me, I don’t know what his problem is,” Sheppard said. 

Strickler had a different view of what happened. 

“I don’t think we touched, but I need to run over him because I feel like I’m giving him too much room, and being too nice to him,” Strickler said. “There were times I was clear and needed to commit to the slider.

“It doesn’t matter who he his or who he drives for. He puts his pants on the same way I do, so I’m going to go out there and run as hard as we can.” 

Strickler’s fourth-place finish is his first top-five since February at DIRTcar Nationals. 

Tim McCreadie crossed the line fifth, rebounding from an early setback. T-Mac had to start last in his Drydene Heat Race, after his time was disallowed for not going to the scales after qualifying. 

Sheppard leaves Mississippi Thunder Speedway with a 60-point lead over Madden in the standings. 

The finish:

Feature (60 Laps): -1. 44-Chris Madden [1][$22,500]; 2. 19R-Ryan Gustin [10][$10,000]; 3. 1-Brandon Sheppard [2][$5,000]; 4. 8-Kyle Strickler [4][$4,000]; 5. 39-Tim McCreadie [13][$3,500]; 6. 97-Cade Dillard [8][$3,000]; 7. 49-Jake Timm [5][$2,800]; 8. 16-Tyler Bruening [9][$2,700]; 9. 28M-Jimmy Mars [6][$2,600]; 10. B1-Brent Larson [19][$2,500]; 11. 18B-Shannon Babb [15][$2,000]; 12. 11-Gordy Gundaker [18][$1,800]; 13. 32S-Chris Simpson [12][$1,600]; 14. 7-Ricky Weiss [21][$1,500]; 15. 29-Spencer Diercks [16][$1,400]; 16. 10S-Taylor Scheffler [17][$1,300]; 17. 77-Jordan Yaggy [24][$1,200]; 18. 32-Bobby Pierce [3][$1,200]; 19. 99B-Boom Briggs [7][$1,200]; 20. 15-Nick Anvelink [22][$1,200]; 21. 74-Mitch McGrath [14][$1,200]; 22. 20-Rodney Sanders [11][$1,200]; 23. 90-Lance Matthees [25][$1,200]; 24. 25J-Jared Siefert [20][$1,200]; 25. 28-Dennis Erb [23][$1,200] Hard Charger: B1-Brent Larson[+9]

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