CONCORD, NC – Oct. 29, 2008 – Chris Madden thought he could cruise to victory in Wednesday night’s Armour Vienna Sausage Showdown presented by Ferris Commercial Mowers at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
The standout driver from Gaffney, S.C., ended up in a dramatic, down-to-wire dogfight instead.
After seeing his once-commanding lead in the 50-lap A-Main wiped out by several late caution flags, Madden had to hold off a stirring challenge from Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., to capture the first-ever World of Outlaws Late Model Series event run ‘topless’ – or more specifically, without roofs on the cars.
Madden, 33, beat Babb to the finish line by a scant 0.077 of a second and pocketed $16,150, including a $6,000 ‘passing’ bonus for winning from the sixth starting spot.
It was both Madden’s fourth career win on the WoO LMS and at The Dirt Track, which drew a massive 81-car field for the mid-week ‘topless’ special that was postponed by rain on its original Oct. 8 date.
Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., who started seventh, finished third in Sanford Goddard’s Warrior house car after racing in second place from lap 21 until Babb glided by on a lap-43 restart. It was the former tour regular’s second top-five finish in three 2008 WoO LMS A-Main starts.
Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., advanced from the 12th starting spot to place fourth in his Team Zero machine, while Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., made a steady march forward from the 21st starting spot to complete the top five in the RSD Enterprises Rocket.
Madden, who started sixth but was in the lead for good by lap five after overtaking early pacesetter Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., built a full straightaway edge during a green-flag stretch from laps 4-28. But five of the race’s six caution flags flew between laps 28 and 43, dulling Madden’s momentum and allowing Babb to mount a last-ditch bid.
“All those cautions killed us,” said Madden, who drove his familiar Clements-powered Bloomquist car. “I was hoping it was gonna stay green so we could keep our comfort zone. We had really gotten away from everyone – at one point I could even see Babb (on the same straightaway).
“But those double-file restarts (in place for the entire distance by event rules) just kept bunching us up.”
Madden soon found himself with company on his rear bumper in the form of Babb, who came alive after the halfway point. Babb, who started 14th in NASCAR Sprint Cup star Clint Bowyer’s Rocket car, blasted around the outside of the four-tenths-mile oval on a lap-42 restart to skip from fifth to third, and then he passed McDowell for second on another restart one circuit later.
“When I saw (Babb’s) number up on the (score) board, I knew he was gonna be up on the top (lane) and hammer-down,” said Madden. “The racetrack was good and wide, and I knew if he running up there it was gonna be a good race.”
The close of the race was almost too good for Madden’s liking.
On the final lap Babb charged inside of Madden exiting turn four and the two drivers raced side-by-side to the checkered flag. Madden crossed the finish line with a miniscule margin of victory while dodging the slowing car driven by Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., who was limping down the homestretch due to a dead battery.
“The last lap was awesome,” said Madden, whose last WoO LMS victory came on Aug. 23, 2007, at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tenn. “I went into (turn) three and chose to run the middle of the racetrack. I was gonna come off on the top side because I knew (Babb) would be up there, so I thought I’d be able to take his line away off the corner.
“But when I went through there, there sat Chub. I didn’t know what he was doing, so I had to turn back left and that made me crack the throttle. I guess when I did that, Shannon turned left and come up under me, and then I turned left and we touched a little.
“I was looking dead out the door at (Babb) as we went down the homestretch,” he continued. “Then, just before the starter’s stand, I cranked the car to avoid (Chub). I know there wasn’t a foot on both sides of me. It was tight quarters, but we made it.”
Babb, 34, saw his hopes of winning the Showdown for the second consecutive year fall short in heartbreaking fashion. He also lost a chance at a $24,000 payday, since the race’s unique bonus system – if pre-entered by Sept. 13, the winner was eligible to receive a bonus equal to $1,000 multiplied by his starting position – would have added $14,000 to the base first-place purse of $10,000.
“If we would’ve made a zig and a zag at the right time, we would’ve been alright,” said Babb. “But I can’t really complain. We had a few lucky breaks to get us up there, like having the cautions come out to stick me where I needed to be.
“We were a long way back there at one time, so we made up a lot of ground. There just weren’t enough laps.”
Babb earned a hearty cheer from the Showdown’s chilled crowd for his effort.
“Madden was gonna be tough to beat no matter what – he’s good here,” said Babb. “But when we went into (turns) three and four the last time, he made a good corner but I ran right up on him, so I thought, ‘Man, maybe we are gonna beat him at the line here.’
“I think we were both leaning forward in our seats trying to get to the (finish) line.”
Madden’s victory continued his run of success at The Dirt Track, where he’s now tied with his mentor Bloomquist as the facility’s alltime winningest dirt Late Model driver.
“This racetrack suits me,” said Madden, who became the 20th different winner on the 2008 WoO LMS. “I love the big high-speed, momentum deal here. If we haven’t broke or gotten in a wreck, we’ve been in the top five every time we’ve been here.
“We actually shouldn’t have a tie (for the overall win lead) with Scott,” he added with a hint of a smile crossing his lips. “The Colossal (100) should’ve been mine two years ago. That double-file restart stuff cost me that race or we’d be out in front (on the win list).”
Finishing in positions 6-10 were Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who lost fifth to Clanton with five laps remaining; Davey Johnson of Latrobe, Pa., who drove the Tracy Seymour No. 17J; Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga.; Mike Knight of Ripley, N.Y.; and Justin Rattliff of Campbellsville, Ky., who steered fellow Kentuckian Michael England’s second Bloomquist Chassis car.
The 21-year-old Knight had a memorable night in his first career visit to The Dirt Track. He received recognition during the program for winning the Alltel Ohio Speedweek All-Star on-line contest, and his ninth-place finish earned him the $500 ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash for being the highest-finishing driver who hasn’t won a WoO LMS A-Main and isn’t ranked among the top 12 in the points standings.
The fact that the Showdown offered only WoO LMS show-up points was a break for several tour regulars. Five of the race’s six caution flags were brought out by drivers who chase the series.
Points leader Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., suffered just his second DNF in 41 A-Mains this season, slowing with a rare engine failure while running third on lap 34. He is in line to clinch his first career WoO LMS championship, however, by simply starting Friday night’s VAULT World Finals A-Main.
Other WoO LMS steadies who experienced caution-causing problems were Fuller (flat tire on lap 28), Vic Coffey of Leicester, N.Y. (lap 40), Frank (flat on lap 42) and Rick Eckert of York, Pa. (a turn-four spin on lap 43 after a scrape with Richards while battling for fifth).
Richards was quickest in time trials, earning his series-leading fifth fast-time honor of 2008 with a lap of 14.955 seconds.
Heat winners were Davey Johnson, Ricky Elliott of Seaford, Del., Lanigan, Bloomquist, McDowell and Richards. The B-Mains were captured by Ricky Weeks of Rutherfordton, N.C., Frank and Clanton.
Four NASCAR drivers – Ryan Newman, Ken Schrader, David Gilliland and Jason Leffler – climbed behind the wheel of dirt Late Models for the Showdown. Schrader, who fields his own dirt Late Model in many events every season, was the only stock-car standout to qualify for the A-Main, finishing 12th.
Gilliland, who drove his own Rayburn car, and Leffler, who made a surprise appearance in the No. 23 normally campaigned by John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., did not challenge for transfer spots in a heat or B-Main.
Newman, meanwhile, escaped injury when he rode out a wild flip on the opening lap of the first B-Main. The 2008 Daytona 500 winner’s Steve Francis-prepared Alltel No. 12 was sent airborne at the end of the backstretch in a chain-reaction scramble after Chas Shellenberger of Winfield, Pa., slammed the turn-two wall.
The four-day festival of speed at The Dirt Track continues on Thursday (Oct. 30) with the opening night of the VAULT World Finals, which pairs the WoO LMS with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in a spectacular doubleheader.
Thursday’s program features two rounds of time trials for both divisions – one to set the heat lineups for Friday’s action, one to align Saturday’s heats – plus the ‘Breaking the VAULT’ match-race dashes and the Integra Shocks Crew Chief Challenge for Late Model teams.
Complete programs of heats, B-Mains and A-Mains will highlight the cards on Fri., Oct. 31, and Sat., Nov. 1. The WoO LMS standouts will chase a first-place prize of $10,000 in each evening’s 50-lap A-Main.
Saturday’s competition will be aired live on the SPEED cable network starting at 8 p.m. ET, while Friday’s action will be taped for telecast by SPEED on Sat., Nov. 8, at 9 p.m. ET.
VAULT World Finals ticket information is available by calling 1-800-455- 3267 or visiting www.lowesmotorspeedway.com, Ticketmaster outlets or the Lowe’s Motor Speedway Box Office.
Results of WoO Late Model Series Armour Vienna Sausage Showdown (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (6) Chris Madden/50 $16,150
2. (14) Shannon Babb/50 $5,200
3. (7) Dale McDowell/50 $3,000
4. (12) Scott Bloomquist/50 $2,500
5. (21) Shane Clanton/50 $2,000
6. (8) Josh Richards/50 $1,700
7. (3) Davey Johnson/50 $1,400
8. (10) Clint Smith/50 $1,300
9. (15) Mike Knight/50 $1,700
10. (11) Justin Rattliff/50 $1,100
11. (18) Rick Eckert/50 $1,050
12. (13) Ken Schrader/50 $1,000
13. (20) Chub Frank/50 $950
14. (23) Dan Schlieper/49 $900
15. (24) Eddie Carrier Jr./49 $850
16. (26) Joe Isabell/49 $1,050
17. (17) Donnie Moran/45 $770
18. (1) Ricky Elliott/38 $750
19. (25) Vic Coffey/38 $730
20. (19) Ricky Weeks/33 $700
21. (2) Tim Fuller/32 $700
22. (4) Darrell Lanigan/32 $700
23. (5) Jonathan Davenport/28 $700
24. (16) Steve Francis/27 $700
25. (22) Brian Shirley/27 $700
26. (9) Eric Wells/27 $700
27. (27) Tim Allen/27 $700
28. (28) Jimmy Owens/12 $700
Time of Race: 35 Mins., 51.381 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.077 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 6 (Laps 4, 28, 34, 40, 42, 43)
Lap Leaders: Fuller (1-4); Madden (5-50)
Provisional Starters: Coffey, Joe Isabell (WoO); Allen, Owens (track)
Rookie of the Race: Joe Isabell ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Knight ($500)
Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race ($50): Jamie Owens (Madden)
Chick Hawk Racing Hot Lap Award: Fuller (half-off tire warmers)
Super Clean ‘Start of the Race’: Babb ($100)
Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 14.955
2. 20-Jimmy Owens/Newport, TN 14.960
3. 24M-Jeremy Miller/Gettysburg, PA 14.977
4. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 15.031
5. 41-Josh McGuire/Grayson, KY 15.109
6. 17d-Davey Johnson/Latrobe, PA 15.114
7. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 15.140
8. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 15.165
9. 0-Scott Bloomquist/Mooresburg, TN 15.183
10. 3A-Austin Dillon/Welcome, NC 15.204
11. 44M-Chris Madden/Gaffney, SC 15.215
12. 6W-Ricky Weeks/Rutherfordton, NC 15.235
13. 30-Steve Shaver/Vienna, WV 15.235
14. 1G-Dale McDowell/Chickamauga, GA 15.243
15. 22G-Gregg Satterlee/Rochester Mills, PA 15.291
16. 9K-Mike Knight/Ripley, NY 15.296
17. 5J-Eric Jacobsen/Sea Cliff Beach, CA 15.305
18. 75-Jonathan Davenport/Blairsville, GA 15.338
19. 19-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 15.345
20. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 15.347
21. 9-Ken Schrader/Fenton, MO 15.349
22. 19T-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 15.370
23. 119R-Ricky Elliott/Seaford, DE 15.375
24. 18E-Eric Wells/Hazard, KY 15.395
25. 98-David Gilliland/Riverside, CA 15.397
26. 55-Jeep VanWormer/Pinconning, MI 15.412
27. 28-Eddie Carrier Jr./Salt Rock, WV 15.420
28. 54-G.R. Smith/Cornelius, NC 15.420
29. 99-Donnie Moran/Dresden, OH 15.423
30. 17A-Tim Allen/Kannapolis, NC 15.452
31. 4T-Tommy Kerr/Maryville, TN 15.459
32. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 15.502
33. 00K-Randy Korte/Highland, IL 15.515
34. 12N-Ryan Newman/Statesville, NC 15.518
35. 5e-Michael England/Glasgow, KY 15.518
36. 6T-Tim Dohm/Cross Lanes, WV 15.524
37. 27J-Danny Johnson/Phelps, NY 15.536
38. 4F-Jeremy Faircloth/Swainsboro, GA 15.536
39. 22F-Chris Ferguson/Mount Holly, NC 15.546
40. 3s-Brian Shirley/Chatham, IL 15.579
41. 53-Ray Cook/Brasstown, NC 15.618
42. 5R-Justin Rattliff/Campbellsville, KY 15.628
43. 11H-Jackie Boggs/Grayson, KY 15.634
44. 6J-Joe Isabell/Pennellville, NY 15.640
45. 17s-Vic Hill/Morristown, TN 15.652
46. 7M-Matt Miller/Waterville, OH 15.679
47. 21R-Luke Roffers/Concord, NC 15.692
48. 20J-Jerry Bowersock/Wapakoneta, OH 15.694
49. 20R-Chad Ruhlman/Beemus Point, NY 15.713
50. 18M-Jeff Smith/Gastonia, NC 15.725
51. 71-Don O’Neal/Martinsville, IN 15.733
52. 23-Jason Leffler/Lake Norman, NC 15.792
53. 21d-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 15.805
54. 11-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 15.810
55. 32R-Jim Rasey/Southington, OH 15.812
56. 12b-Jordan Bland/Campbellsville, KY 15.814
57. 57-Wes Burton/Kannapolis, NC 15.838
58. 00H-Chuck Harper/Beverly, WV 15.864
59. 32c-Vic Coffey/Leicester, NY 15.884
60. A1-Duke Whiseant/Texarkana, AR 15.884
61. 421-Anthony Sanders/Belmont, NC 15.960
62. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 16.019
63. 18W-Rick Whaley/Millsboro, DE 16.062
64. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 16.138
65. L8-Norman Short Jr./Georgetown, DE 16.182
66. 7JR-Jeff Isabell Jr./Pennellville, NY 16.287
67. 22J-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 16.359
68. 22c-Randle Chupp/Troutman, NC 16.411
69. 11G-Travis Greer/Marion, VA 16.414
70. 17J-John Winge/Ringgold, GA 16.427
71. s9-Dan Schlieper/Sullivan, WI 16.542
72. 44L-Justin Labonte/Trinity, NC 16.581
73. 13-Chesley Dixon/Swainsboro, GA 16.604
74. 00M-Rob McLaughlin/Stanley, NC 16.614
75. 7J-Jeff Isabell Sr./Pennellville, NY 16.843
76. 56-Chas Shellenberger/Winfield, PA 17.898
77. 16c-Curt Spalding/Hartford, MI 18.141
78. 1c-Wayne Chinn/Tipp City, OH 18.977
79. E1-Mike Balzano/Parkersburg, WV N/T
80. 27F-Ben Faircloth/Swainsboro, GA N/T
81. 31-Bob Gordon/Keyser, WV N/T
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Davey Johnson, Davenport, Wells, Weeks, Danny Johnson, Boggs, Rasey, Ruhlman, Gilliland, Sanders, George, Dixon, Kerr (DNS) Balzano
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Elliott, Madden, Eckert, Jacobsen, McCreadie, J. Faircloth, McLaughlin, McGuire, Bland, Jeff Smith, B. Faircloth, Joe Isabell, VanWormer, Chupp
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Lanigan, Fuller, Knight, Carrier, Dillon, Korte, Ferguson, O’Neal, Whaley, Burton, Greer (DNS) Hill, Jeff Isabell Sr., Gordon
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Bloomquist, Babb, Schrader, Shirley, Matt Miller, Jeremy Miller, G.R. Smith, Satterlee, Newman, Harper, Leffler, Winge, Shellenberger
Heat No. 5 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): McDowell, Clint Smith, Moran, Frank, Schlieper, Roffers, Cook, England, Coffey, Stone, Spalding, Short, Owens
Heat No. 6 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Richards, Rattliff, Francis, Clanton, Dohm, Chinn, Bowersock, Whiseant, Hubbard, Shaver, Allen, Labonte, Jeff Isabell Jr.
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Weeks, Shirley, Danny Johnson, Ruhlman, Kerr, Boggs, Gilliland, Harper, Winge, Matt Miller, Rasey, Satterlee, Newman, Sanders, Shellenberger (DNS) Jeremy Miller, G.R. Smith, George, Leffler, Dixon, Balzano
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Frank, Schlieper, Jacobsen, McCreadie, Coffey, Owens, Roffers, Cook, McLaughlin, England, Jeff Smith, Stone, Bland, J. Faircloth, Chupp, Joe Isabell, Short, Spalding (DNS) McGuire, B. Faircloth, VanWormer
B-Main No. 3 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Clanton, Carrier, Chinn, Dohm, Korte, O’Neal, Dillon, Bowersock, Whiseant, Hubbard, Ferguson, Jeff Isabell Sr., Labonte, Burton, Jeff Isabell Jr., Allen, Whaley (DNS) Shaver, Greer, Hill, Gordon
2008 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Oct. 29 – 41 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/wins/top-5s/top-10s/earnings/points/deficit to leader):
1. Darrell Lanigan 2-25-35-$122,517-5602 (-0)
2. Steve Francis 6-20-32-$170,600-5452 (-150)
3. Shane Clanton 4-22-32-$124,140-5446 (-156)
4. Josh Richards 5-18-28-$122,260-5426 (-176)
5. Chub Frank 1-12-27-$82,230-5362 (-240)
6. Shannon Babb 2-17-27-$107,600-5288 (-314)
7. Rick Eckert 1-12-24-$79,730-5280 (-322)
8. Clint Smith 1-11-24-$68,920-5252 (-350)
9. Tim Fuller 2-7-19-$69,450-5081 (-521)
10. Vic Coffey 0-2-9-$42,050-4402 (-1200)
11. John Blankenship 0-0-6-$34,680-4013 (-1589)
12. Joe Isabell 0-0-0-$19,790-3690 (-1912)
13. Sean Beardsley 0-0-0-$12,520-3070 (-2532)
14. Tim McCreadie 1-9-16-$58,110-2718 (-2884)
15. Danny Johnson 0-0-1-$13,730-2262 (-3340)
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