Kerry Madsen in the winning lane on Friday night at Port Royal Speedway. (Dan Demarco photo)
PORT ROYAL, Pennsylvania – The Nittany Showdown at Port Royal Speedway started with a bang on Friday night as fans witnessed the tightest end of the season in the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.
After an exciting 25-lap affair around The Speed Palace, it was just 0.081 seconds between Kerry Madsen’s Tony Stewart / Curb-Agajanian Racing No. 14 and Lance Deweases Kreitz Racing No. 69k when the checkered flag waved.
The win was especially sweet for Madsen, who returned to the seat of a sprint car for the first time in eight weeks since his violent accident at the Knoxville Nationals in August. The gasser from Sydney, New South Wales showed no signs of rust as he took his third WoO win of the season.
“I can’t say enough about this Tony Stewart Racing Team,” said Madsen. “I was a little rusty to start the night, but they fine-tuned the car and made me more comfortable. I was really good at the beginning of the game and more protected in the second half. But what a fantastic car. “
Although Madsen led all 25 rounds of Friday’s $ 10,000-to-win show, it was far from a flag-to-flag route.
Anthony Macri, Logan Schuchart and Donny Schatz held the lead for a short time at three different points, but none of them officially took first place at the start / finish line.
Macri offered a brief challenge on the first lap but slipped back when Schuhcart came to life. Schuchart was ready to get the Shark Racing, Drydene Performance Products # 1S, to the point on lap six when chaos broke out. Schuchart tried to avoid a spinning lap car and had no space between the car and the wall, causing him to collide and knock out the front end and end his shot for victory.
More drama ensued when World Cup leader Brad Sweet bent a wheel and walked into the work area in third. He finally finished 14th in the Kasey Kahne Racing No. 49 and is now six nights ahead of Gravel with 112 points.
Madsen’s TSR teammate faced the challenge next. Schatz traded aboard the Ford Performance, Carquest No. 15, a handful of sliders off, but never had enough to take full control of Madsen. He dropped to third with five to go and Lance Dewease came to life.
On the last restart with six laps left, Madsen pulled away, but the legend of PA Posse came to life when the flagship showed two to go. He chopped off a large chunk of Madsen’s lead and was right on his rear bumper by the white flag.
Dewease wanted the low line but chose high, where Madsen wanted to force him. The duo sped away from tour four as the crowd stood up and saw a nerve-wracking finish with # 14 0.081 seconds ahead, the closest finish in the last 110 races.
Dewease racked up milestones like his 75th top five career and 150th top 10 career with the Outlaws by finishing second on Friday night.
“Our biggest problem is these double file restarts because I would lose four places and overtake the same guys five times,” said Dewease. “But our car was good. The tires never really started the last time we restarted, but we gave everything we had. He was where I wanted to be so you have to go where they aren’t and we made it. Tomorrow is a longer race, we’ll be there. “
Pole sitter Anthony Macri led briefly at the beginning, but fell back to fourth place before recovering to third place.
“It would have been great to get that first career win, but we were the third best car tonight,” said Macri. “This was more of a normal Port Royal surface in the weather and we have to be better prepared for that. We’ll go to work and be better tomorrow. “
To see the full results, go to the next page.