By Nick Graziano
Aussies Ian and Kerry Madsen are heading home. Not to Australia. Their other home – Knoxville, Iowa.
When the Madsen brothers moved to America, they landed in the Marion County city of 7,000 people. Their reason?
“It’s kind of the center of the Sprint Car Universe,” said Kerry Madsen, the elder of the two brothers.
The core of that universe is Knoxville Raceway – a half-mile track that’s turned heroes of the Sprint Car world into legends. And the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series is returning to the iconic track for the first time this season on Friday, June 14, and Saturday, June 15 for the Brownells Big Guns Bash.
Since starting their 410 Sprint Car careers at the raceway in the early 2000s, both Madsen brothers have found success there. Kerry Madsen won the 2005 track championship and has 21 career Feature wins at the raceway – including a World of Outlaws Feature win. He was leading the points at the raceway before skipping the latest race to compete with the World of Outlaws at Granite City Speedway.
“I’ve always loved Knoxville,” Kerry Madsen said. “Fun place to race. Great crowd. Obviously tuning up for later in the year (for the prestigious Knoxville Nationals). Looking forward to it.”
Ian Madsen won the track championship in 2014 and 2017. He has 12 career Feature victories at the track, but is still seeking his first World of Outlaws Feature win there. A win this weekend would go a long way for Madsen and his KCP Racing team.
Madsen, the 2018 World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, claimed his fourth career Series win at Thunderbowl Raceway in March, but he has been searching for a return to the top-five since the beginning of April. Lately, his results have been a mix of top-10 and top-15 finishes.
“The last few weeks have been pretty rough,” Ian Madsen said. “We’ve had a lot of bad luck. I feel like a lot of it has been out of our control. We just really need to get a good night in and turn our luck around. I think if we just get some luck on our side it’ll take care of itself.”
Along with getting to go home, Madsen said he’s happy to get back to a bigger track after spending the last month mostly on smaller tracks.
“That’s what’s good about the Outlaws, you get to mix it up on all sorts of different tracks,” Madsen said. “Knoxville is the best track in the country, I feel. I look forward to going there.”
Kerry Madsen shares Ian’s sentiment, stating he enjoys the bigger tracks and loves the dedication people in Knoxville have to Sprint Car racing.
Not running full-time with the World of Outlaws, unlike Ian, Kerry Madsen said his one goal every race is to just win.
“Pretty simple,” he said with a grin.
His season this year started off slow, barely cracking the top-10, but lately Kerry and his team have found their rhythm, clicking off top-five finishes more consistently – including two podium finishes in his last five races.
While both he and Ian will be eyeing the win at Knoxville, the brothers don’t let the competition get between them. While many drivers isolate themselves to just their team during a race weekend, every time the Madsen brothers are at the same track its guaranteed you’ll find them together throughout the night.
“We’re always pretty close together,” Ian Madsen said. “It can get pretty lonely out here sometimes. So, it’s good to have him out here to hang out with on the off nights and stuff like that. I enjoy being out here with him. It’s just cool we can both be out here at the same time.”
Before Ian began his racing career at Knoxville, he worked on Kerry’s team.
“We’ve always been fairly close that way,” Kerry Madsen said.
While they’re close, and will share anecdotes about their race car, they’re still competitive. Advice isn’t always shared. For more than one reason, too.
“I try not to give him too much advice,” Kerry Madsen said. “I feel like I try to tell him something and it back fires and he ends up going slower. I just let him figure it out.”
THIS WEEK AT A GLANCE
WHEN & WHERE
Friday, June 14, and Saturday, June 15, at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa for the Brownells Big Guns Bash.
-Grandstand gates are scheduled to open at 4 p.m. with Hot Laps at 6:30 p.m. and Racing at about 7:30 p.m.
ABOUT THE TRACK
Knoxville Raceway is a semi-banked, 1/2-mile track.
Online – KnoxvilleRaceway.com
Phone – (641) 842-5431
Tickets can be purchased by going to WorldofOutlaws.com/tix or by calling 844-DIRT-TIX.
1/2-MILE WINNERS THIS YEAR
There have been nine races on a 1/2-mile track this season.
-Volusia Speedway: Daryn Pittman won on Feb. 8 and 9
-The Dirt Track at Las Vegas: Tim Shaffer won on Feb. 27 and Donny Schatz won on Feb. 28
-Perris Auto Speedway: Aaron Reutzel won on March 30
-Devil’s Bowl Speedway: Logan Schuchart won on April 12
-Eldora Speedway: Donny Schatz won on May 10
-Williams Grove Speedway: David Gravel won on May 17 and Lance Dewease won on May 18
KNOXVILLE RACEWAY PREVIOUS WINNERS
2018 – Donny Schatz on June 29, David Gravel on June 30, Greg Hodnett on Aug. 8, Brad Sweet on Aug. 9, Logan Schuchart on Aug. 10, Brad Sweet on Aug. 11
2017 – Brad Sweet on June 9, Donny Schatz on June 10
2016 – Terry McCarl on June 10, Donny Schatz on June 11
2015 – Donny Schatz on June 13
2014 – Brad Sweet on June 14
2013 – Donny Schatz on May 11, Donny Schatz on June 15
2012 – Sammy Swindell on April 28, Kerry Madsen on June 9
2011 – Sammy Swindell on June 11
2010 – Brooke Tatnell on June 3, Jac Haudenschild on June 4
2009 – Donny Schatz on May 2, Terry McCarl on June 27
2008 – Donny Schatz on May 3, Shane Stewart on June 6, Donny Schatz on June 7
2007 – Donny Schatz on April 28, Terry McCarl on June 16
2006 – Joey Saldana on June 23, Donny Schatz on Oct. 7
2005 – Kraig Kinser on June 24, Steve Kinser on April 30
2004 – Craig Dollansky on June 26, Mark Kinser on May 1
2003 – Danny Lasoski on April 26, Danny Lasoski on July 5
2002 – Steve Kinser on April 26, Danny Lasoski on June 29
2001 – Danny Lasoski on April 28, Stevie Smith on June 30, Jason Meyers on July 16
2000 – Danny Lasoski on April 29, Stevie Smith on July 1, Steve Kinser on July 19
1999 – Sammy Swindell on May 1, Danny Lasoski on July 3, Danny Lasoski on July 21
1998 – Jac Haudenschild on May 2, Jac Haudenschild on July 4, Jac Haudenschild on July 22
1997 – Mark Kinser on April 26, Jac Haudenschild on July 5, Mark Kinser on July 23
1996 – Mark Kinser on April 27, Mark Kinser on June 22, Mark Kinser on July 24
1995 – Mark Kinser on May 6, Mark Kinser on June 24, Steve Kinser on July 19, Mark Kinser on Sept. 27
1994 – Dave Blaney on April 29, Steve Kinser on June 25, Steve Kinser on July 20, Jac Haudenschild on Sept. 23
1993 – Danny Lasoski on April 30, Mark Kinser on June 27, Stevie Smith on Sept. 24
1992 – Sammy Swindell on April 26, Steve Kinser on June 20, Steve Kinser on July 22, Steve Kinser on Sept. 26
1991 – Steve Kinser on April 27, Doug Wolfgang on June 22, Steve Kinser on July 24
1990 – Doug Wolfgang on April 29, Steve Kinser on June 23, Sammy Swindell on July 25
1989 – Sammy Swindell on April 29, Doug Wolfgang on June 24
1988 – Steve Kinser on April 30, Steve Kinser on June 22
1987 – Steve Kinser on April 25, Steve Kinser on June 22
1986 – Sammy Swindell on April 26, Steve Kinser on June 25, Steve Kinser on July 23
1985 – Sammy Swindell on April 28, Doug Wolfgang on Oct. 6
1984 – Sammy Swindell on July 25
1983 – Sammy Swindell on April 16, Sammy Swindell on July 27, Sammy Swindell on Oct. 16
1982 – Doug Wolfgang on April 17, Danny Smith on July 21
1981 – Steve Kinser on April 18, Doug Wolfgang on May 22, Sammy Swindell on May 23, Sammy Swindell on July 22, Doug Wolfgang on Sept. 12
1980 – Steve Kinser on April 19, Steve Kinser on April 20, Doug Wolfgang on May 31, Tim Green on Sept. 20
1979 – Sammy Swindell on April 21
ON THE INTERNET
World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series – Woosprint.com
Twitter – Twitter.com/WorldofOutlaws – @WorldofOutlaws
Instagram – Instagram.com/WoOSprint – @woosprint
Facebook – Facebook.com/WorldofOutlaws
YouTube – YouTube.com/WorldofOutlaws
DIRTVision – Dirtvision.com – Get your Fast Pass to watch all races LIVE for only $39/month
Twitter – Twitter.com/DIRTVision – @DIRTVision
Facebook – Facebook.com/WatchDIRTVision