2021 Woo Jackson R Kerry Madsen Vl With Crew Tylan Porath Photo
Kerry Madsen (center) poses with his crew in victory lane Thursday at Jackson Motorplex. (Tylan Porath photo)

Madsen Romps From 14th In Jackson Nationals Kickoff

JACKSON, Minn. – Kerry Madsen lived up to his nickname and then some during the opening night of the 43rd AGCO Jackson Nationals on Thursday at Jackson Motorplex.

Wheeling the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing No. 14, the driver known as “The Mad Man” roared through the field from the 14th starting spot to collect the $10,000 victory – passing race-long leader Logan Schuchart with five laps left in the 30-lap feature.AC

The Australian’s winning move was breathtaking, as he powered inside of both Schuchart and the lapped car of Justin Henderson in turns three and four with a daring slide job on lap 26.

From there, following a caution with four to go, Madsen ran away to his first World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series win in 1,084 days. It marked his 26th career Outlaw triumph.

Prior to Thursday night, Madsen’s last victory with The Greatest Show on Dirt came July 7, 2018 at Cedar Lake (Wis.) Speedway, during his tenure with Big Game Motorsports.

“I knew all night,” Madsen said when asked if he had a race-winning car. “We just got a raw deal in the heat. I was really disappointed because I knew how good this car was. (I thought), ‘OK, we’ll get a good finish and get some points.’ I got an awesome start and the car was just unbelievable.”

Though David Gravel won the dash to garner the pole for the main event, it was Schuchart who soared out to the race lead on the initial start, ripping the top side of the four-tenths-mile dirt oval to seize control of the feature.

Schuchart held that control for most of the night, racing out to a 3.2-second advantage before a caution flag waved on lap five for the slowing car of Wayne Johnson, erasing his mammoth advantage.

Undeterred, Schuchart quickly reopened a second-and-a-half gap on the ensuing restart, but Madsen – who was sixth at that point – was the driver making moves from the middle of the pack.

He grabbed third on the seventh rotation before crossing from high to low to surge past Gravel for the runner-up spot on lap eight down the backstretch. From there, Madsen’s sights were set on Schuchart.

Traffic re-entered the equation on the 12th circuit and Madsen methodically cut the deficit down as he closed on the Shark Racing No. 1s. A second and a half became one second, then became just two car lengths by lap 14 as Madsen bared down on the back bumper of Schuchart’s Drydene-backed machine.

Madsen’s first try for the lead came in turn one coming to halfway, but Schuchart denied the move by racing back around the outside of the No. 14. Successive tries for control came on laps 16 and 18, and each time, Schuchart had an answer.

However, the thicker that lapped traffic got in the closing stages, the better Madsen was. With five to go, just four tenths separated the lead duo, and coming down the backstretch Schuchart was following Henderson’s Sandvig Racing No. 7 as Madsen looked for an unoccupied lane.

He found racing room against the inside berm in turns three and four, sending a hair-raising slider through the corner before sweeping up in front of both Schuchart and Henderson.

The die was cast, and the race was effectively won moments later, when the final caution of the race waved with 26 laps scored for the stopped car of Brock Zearfoss in turn two.

With a clear track in front of him and a single-file restart, Madsen drove away and left Schuchart to settle for second, .682 seconds back at the checkered flag.

The good news for Schuchart? He leads the event point standings after the first preliminary night with 426 of a possible 450. That didn’t mean he didn’t want the win as well, however.

“I feel like if a caution had come out a lap before or a lap later, then maybe it’d have been a different outcome,” Schuchart lamented. “I followed the No. 7 car [Henderson] in the last two laps. When you’re up top and you’re running as well as we were, it’s hard to make yourself drive across there … especially when you’re leading it. We’ll take second tonight and hopefully we can get a win tomorrow or be up there close.

“We’re in the hunt. We’re going to go for that $50,000 on Saturday.”

Gravel filled out the podium ahead of James McFadden and Carson Macedo, who led the field during the missing man four-wide parade lap prior to the feature that commemorated the third anniversary of the death of Macedo’s car owner, past Knoxville Nationals champion Jason Johnson.

Sheldon Haudenschild, Brad Sweet, Jacob Allen, Gio Scelzi and Kraig Kinser closed the top 10.

After a vicious flip on the opening lap of his heat race Thursday night, 10-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz raced from the Last Chance Showdown to an 11th-place finish.

Despite Schatz’s run, Madsen still garnered KSE Hard Charger honors by advancing 13 positions.

The 43rd AGCO Jackson Nationals continue Friday night at Jackson Motorplex with another full show.

To view complete race results, advance to the next page.