PORT ROYAL — Kerry Madsen held off Lance Dewease for the Sprintcar win at Port Royal Speedway Friday night during the opening night of the Nittany Showdown featuring the World of Outlaws and Pennsylvania Posse.
The $10,000 win was his third with the series this season, but it was his first race since the Knoxville Nationals in August. Madsen was driving the Tony Stewart Racing No. 14.
“I was a bit rusty at the start of the night,”Madsen said.“They kept tuning on the car for me and getting me more comfortable. It was really good early.”
Madsen controlled the 25-lap main event, but Dewease made it interesting on the final lap.
“I was watching the scoreboard,” Madsen said. “I started getting a bit too low in one and two and lost some time. What a fantastic race car. I need to thank this team.”
Madsen hadn’t been in a sprintcar in about six weeks.
“I’m glad to be back,” Madsen said.
Australian native Madsen started second and grabbed the lead from Anthony Macri on the opening lap.
Port Royal track champion Logan Wagner slowed on the back stretch bringing out the yellow early. Wagner was pushed to the pit area and was done for the race.
Brad Sweet, the Outlaws series point leader, took second on the restart and went after the lead as Logan Schuchart grabbed third. Sweet hit the fence in turn two allowing Schuchart to get by.
Spencer Bayston spun and hit the inside fence with 19 laps to go bringing out the yellow.
Schuchart ducked under Madsen for the lead at both ends of the speedway. He took the lead, but Madsen was able to get it back. Donny Schatz was into third spot.
Disaster struck for Schuchart with 15 to go. Curt Stroup spun in front of the leaders. Madsen got by. Schuchart tried to squeeze between Stroup and the fourth turn wall. He made contact and spun to the inside. Sweet pitted under the yellow with a lap right rear tyre.
Madsen and Schatz battled for the lead following the restart as Dewease raced by Macri and into third.
Madsen secured the lead over his team mate Schatz and slowly pulled away.
The yellow flew with 10 laps to go when the side panel came off the top wing of James McFadden’s car.
Madsen got a great restart avoiding any challenge from Schatz. With six laps to go, Dewease took second from Schatz. Madsen led by 2.2 seconds.
The yellow flew when Steve Buckwalter slowed on the front stretch with six laps to go.
Madsen controlled the restart again, but Dewease stayed close. Dewease began closing the gap with three to go. He caught him on the final lap nearly taking the lead into turn one.
Madsen tried to take Dewease’s line away in three and four. Dewease ducked under him coming off turn four. They raced side-by-side down the front stretch with Madsen trying to crowd Dewease down the track. Madsen nipped Dewease at the line by .081 seconds.
“Our car was really good,” Dewease said. “We gave it everything we had. He was down where I wanted to be, so I moved up, and started getting big runs at him. The motor sputtered on me getting into three, or we might have had a shot at him.”
Macri, Schatz and 20th starter Brent Marks completed the top five. David Gravel, Lucas Wolfe, Sheldon Haudenschild, 24th starter Freddie Rahmer and Danny Dietrich rounded out the top 10.
Logan Wagner set quickest time over the 38-car field with a lap of 15.832. Dewease, Schatz, Wagner and Schuchart won the heat races. Macri won the dash. Devon Borden won the Last Chance Showdown.
The finale of the Nittany Showdown for the World of Outlaws and Pennsylvania Posse is Saturday evening with a 30-lap feature paying $15,000 to win.
(Story courtesy: The Sentinel newspaper, Port Royal.)