- July 3 - Tazewell Speedway WoO by Sam Holbrooks


Chris Madden and Ross White at Tazewell Speedway World of Outlaws

 Leader Chris Madden puts a squeeze on #0 Ross White while attempting to put White a lap down during Sunday's World of Outlaws event at Tazewell Speedway. Madden went on to the $20,000 win over Rick Eckert and Eric Jacobsen at the fast Tennessee track. (Michael Moats) 

Jonathan Davenport and Chris Madden at Tazewell Speedway World of Outlaws

Race winner Chris Madden is congratulated by fast qualifier and runner up Jonathan Davenport (left) at Tazewell Speedway. (Michael Moats)

World of Outlaws: Madden Hangs On For 'Outlaw Sizzler 101' Win At Tazewell Speedway

Kevin Kovac

TAZEWELL, Tenn. – July 3. Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., never relinquished the lead en route to winning Sunday's inaugural 'Outlaw Sizzler 101' at Tazewell Speedway, but his march to the $20,050 victory was far from uneventful.

In fact, for most of the extra-distance World of Outlaws Late Model Series event Madden stressed over a mechanical malady that threatened to cost him a sorely-needed big-money triumph in front of an overflow crowd.

Madden, 36, ultimately overcame the trouble and survived a couple close calls while negotiating lapped traffic to become the eighth different winner in 15 A-Mains on the 2011 WoO LMS. It was his seventh career win on the national tour and fourth in a 100-lap event.

Chiub Frank - Austin Hubbard - Josh Richards

Austin Hubbard (19) and Chub Frank take evasive action as #1 Josh Richards slows with a flat tire.  Richards was just one of several drivers who suffered tire maladies during the long 101-lap grind. (Michael Moats)

"We fought the whole race with a fuel-pressure problem," said Madden, who started from the outside pole in his Team Zero by Bloomquist car. "We don't know what it was, but obviously you could tell on restarts I couldn't take off. I was just trying to ride in the middle of the racetrack and hope I could keep those guys behind me. After I could make it through the first corner it would pick up fuel and I could hold my own then."

Madden's restart troubles were most evident after the event's ninth and final caution flag, on lap 98. He stumbled dramatically on the restart, allowing Eric Jacobsen of Sea Cliff Beach, Calif., who started from the pole position and ran second behind Madden from the initial green flag, to pull alongside the pacesetter heading toward turn one.

Jonathan Davenport and Eric Jacobsen at Tazewell Speedway

Jonathan Davenport set fast time and finished second at Tazewell, while #5 Eric Jacobsen put in his best ever WoO showing with third place. (Michael Moats)

But Madden managed to slide in front of Jacobsen's Team Zero machine between turns one and two, keeping the top spot and leaving Jacobsen scrambling to maintain control of his car. Jacobsen was overtaken for second by Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., before he could recover.

Davenport went on to finish in the runner-up spot, 0.551 of a second behind Madden at the checkered flag. Jacobsen settled for a career-best WoO LMS finish of third, followed by WoO LMS points leader Rick Eckert of York, Pa., and 2006 tour champion Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y.

"I thought the race might be three laps too long," Madden said when asked about the final restart. "I got off to a real slow start and Jacobsen got next to me, but it just happened that I had four tires in the rubber and he had two (rounding turns one and two) so I got enough traction to stay in front."

Rick Eckert and Ron Davies at Tazewell Speedway

While #24 Rick Eckert drove to fourth place at Tazewell, #71 Ron Davies was eliminated in an incident with three to go when the field slowed to avoid Josh Richards, and Davies ran into the back of Darrell Lanigan. (Michael Moats)

That wasn't the only close call for Madden. He was fortunate to remain in the lead on lap 34 when he got into the back of Powell, Tenn.'s Steve Smith while attempting to lap the veteran racer, sending Smith into a slide-for-life just past the start/finish line and causing Madden to lose momentum long enough for Jacobsen to surge ahead. A caution flag was thrown for Smith, however, before a lap could be completed, keeping Madden in front.

Madden didn't express any worry about tire wear, which proved to be excessive for most combatants in the richest race ever contested on the high-banked, one-third-mile. Nearly a dozen drivers were victims of flat tires during the race's final 28 laps, including WoO LMS regulars Shane Clanton (lap 72 while fourth), Clint Smith (lap 72/sixth), Austin Hubbard (lap 72 after inheriting sixth), Vic Coffey (lap 80/11th), Darrell Lanigan (lap 83/fourth), Ron Davies (lap 88/seventh) and Josh Richards (lap 98 after falling from fourth to seventh in seven laps).

Clint Smith and Shane Clanton at Tazewell Speedway
Clint Smith (44) dropped off with a flat tire while running sixth on lap 72, while #25 Shane Clanton was able to rally back to sixth place after suffering his own tire problems while running fourth on the same circuit. (Michel Moats) 

While tires were not a concern for Madden, the 27-year-old Davenport had tire conservation on his mind as he calmly navigated to a second-place finish worth $10,050.

"I just used as much as I needed to," said Davenport, who set fast time and won a heat race on Saturday to start third in the 'Sizzler 101.' "We got to about 30 or 40 (laps) to go and I knew there was no way I could pass those guys (Madden and Jacobsen), so I just made sure I had enough to make it to the end.

"We're happy," he added after taking advantage of Jacobsen's lap 98 slide to steal second place. "We came out here, didn't tear nothing up and were one of the fastest cars every time we went on the racetrack, so all in all it was a good weekend for us."

Jacobsen, who followed the WoO LMS fulltime in 2006, wasn't disappointed after falling short.

Vic Coffey and Jeff Neurbert
Vic Coffey slides under Jeff Neurbert in the fight for position during World of Outlaws action at Tazewell. (Michael Moats)

"I thought we had a really good car tonight and it was competitive enough to win the race," said Jacobsen. "I thought there were a couple times in lapped traffic where I could've made a run at (the lead), but track position meant a lot and the right opportunity never presented itself."

Eckert enjoyed a quiet-but-solid run to fourth place. He started 11th and moved forward by benefitting from others' misfortune – the kind of drive that is needed to win a championship.

With Richards running into trouble in the final laps and finishing 16th after making a pit stop, Eckert stretched his WoO LMS points lead to 40 markers over the two-time defending champ.

Shane Clanton and Barry Wright at Tazewell Speedway World of Outlaws

Shane Clanton confers with chassis builder Barry Wright prior to the start of the Tazewell event. (Michael Moats)

"About lap 30 (the track) started rubbering up – and I knew 70 more laps in the rubber is a long time around here," said Eckert, who is the only driver to start every WoO LMS A-Main since 2004 but has never won the title. "I've been around for awhile so I just understood that I needed to take care of my tires and I just eased up. I ran myself a decent pace not near anybody so I didn't get collected – and then they all just started blowing out tires and we kept moving up.

"Sometimes you gotta slow down to end up better, and that's what we did tonight. We didn't have a very good car, but we ended up with a fourth-place finish. If we keep doing stuff like that we'll be in good shape."

Terry Wolfenbarger and Ross White at Tazewell Speedway World of Outlaws
Under an early caution, Terry Wolfenbarger finds a culprit in Ross White for his last place status in the rundown. (Michael Moats)

McCreadie, who started alongside Eckert in 12th place, also benefitted from the rash of flat tires to crack the top-five. He also moved up to third in the WoO LMS points standings, overtaking Lanigan, who finished 14th after pitting to change a flat right-rear tire. Clanton made the biggest rally of the drivers who pitted for flats, reaching sixth place at the finish.

Despite high speeds and close-quarters racing, the only significant accident of the 'Sizzler' came on lap 98 when several cars stacked up on the backstretch as Richards slowed with a flat tire. Davies got the worst of the incident, sustaining a damaged radiator after running into the back of Lanigan's car.

WoO 'Outlaw Sizzler 101' at Tazewell Speedway
1) Chris Madden, 2) Jonathan Davenport, 3) Eric Jacobsen, 4) Rick Eckert, 5) Tim McCreadie, 6) Shane Clanton, 7) Tommy Kerr, 8) Clint Smith, 9) Mark Vineyard, 10) Chub Frank/, 11) Austin Hubbard, 12) Tim Fuller/, 13) Jeff Neubert, 14) Darrell Lanigan, 15) Vic Coffey, 16) Josh Richards, 17) Ron Davies, 18) Vic Hill, 19) Steve Smith, 20) John Lobb (prov.), 21) Pat Doar, 22) Ross White, 23) Jeff Wolfenbarger, 24) Terry Wolfenbarger (prov.)
Fast Time (30 entries): Jonathan Davenport (11.162); Heat winners: Madden, Davenport, Lanigan; B-Main Winner: Steve Smith

Thomas Hendrickson photo 


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