KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Kerry Madsen is hot at the right time.
The St. Mary’s, New South Wales, Australia native tied fellow countryman Skip Jackson on the all-time win list at Knoxville Raceway with his 25th victory Saturday. The win came in a thrilling All Star Circuit of Champions event amongst a 46-car field.
Spencer Bayston shot out from the pole to lead Madsen and Gio Scelzi early in the going in the 25-lap feature. Justin Henderson shot from sixth to fourth to join the lead quartet early on. Brian Brown moved by Paul McMahan to complete the top five by lap six.
The leaders entered lapped traffic on the seventh circuit, and Madsen closed on Bayston. On lap ten, Madsen briefly led, but Bayston regained the spot by the flag stand. Meanwhile, Scelzi was on top of both. He took second from Madsen on lap 12, and then slid in front of Bayston on lap 13 to take the point.
Madsen followed Scelzi into the second spot on the same lap and set his sights on the new leader. On lap 16, he got a run on the low side of turn two, passing Scelzi and taking the lead. Shortly, thereafter, Scelzi slipped over the turn three cushion and lost the momentum he was building to battle back.
Henderson was running fourth on the seventeenth lap, when he slowed to a stop in turn four, bringing the only caution of the event. Madsen led Scelzi, Bayston, Brown and Austin McCarl back to green.
Up front, Madsen pulled away the final eight laps, while Bayston and Scelzi battled for the second spot. Bayston would nab the spot for good in turn two with four to go.
Following Madsen, Bayston and Scelzi, were Brown and Rico Abreu.
A scary incident in the third heat race saw Sawyer Phillips and Sye Lynch get together and take a series of flips into turn two. The incident also collected Kasey Kahne. All three drivers were done for the night. Lynch was taken by ambulance for observation.
“We didn’t really know where the predominant lines were going to be,” said Madsen. “It was pretty tricky, and you could gain a spot, and lose a spot. I decided to calm down and just hit the bottom, and we were able to get back by a couple cars. From there we just stayed down there. We probably weren’t the best we’ve been tonight, but it doesn’t matter when you get the victory.”
“I felt I was setting a pretty good pace,” said Bayston. “I kept hearing them behind me, and when you get to traffic, you never know what’s going to happen. If you make one slipup, these guys pounce. You have to be on your ‘A game,’ but I felt we did everything we needed to do…I just needed to race a little better in the traffic. When the track started going away, I had to get the wing back and that hurt me a little on the bottom. I still felt we were a really good car overall.”
Gio Scelzi had a rocket in the 40-car 360 field and topped the main event for his first win here in that class.
Feature (25 laps): 1. Kerry Madsen (3); 2. Spencer Bayston (1); 3. Gio Scelzi (4); 4. Brian Brown (7); 5. Rico Abreu (8); 6. Davey Heskin (14); 7. Austin McCarl (9); 8. Sam Hafertepe Jr. (13); 9. Tyler Courtney (11); 10. Parker Price-Miller (19); 11. Paul McMahan (2); 12. Carson McCarl (10); 13. Matt Juhl (15); 14. Don Droud Jr. (17); 15. Terry McCarl (18); 16. Shane Golobic (16); 17. Justin Peck (23); 18. Ayrton Gennetten (6); 19. Cory Eliason (25); 20. Cap Henry (26); 21. Chad Kemenah (20); 22. Bill Balog (21); 23. Lynton Jeffrey (12); 24. Justin Henderson (5); 25. Hunter Schuerenberg (24); 26. Josh Schneiderman (22). Lap Leaders: Bayston 1-12, G. Scelzi 13-15, K. Madsen 16-25. Hard-charger: Price-Miller.