The World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series were back in the dirt this weekend in the mountains of Tennessee. After being postponed earlier this season, the two-night 5th annual Tennessee Tipoff event was back on for both fans and drivers this weekend at Smoky Mountain Speedway.
The first of two 50 lap feature races began Friday night with Gray Court, SC’s own Chris Madden finding his way to the first $10,000 win of the weekend. After picking up the PFC Brakes Fast Time award and winning his heat race, Madden started on the pole for this race.
While most dirt late model races allow for several lead changes, this wasn’t the case for Friday night’s Craftsman Club Feature. Although there were three separate cautions which regrouped the field, Madden was never seriously challenged for the lead. At the half-way point, he had created more than five seconds between him and the rest of the field and was able to take this domination all the way to a lucrative win.
Madden, who has finished on the podium during all five races so far this season, including two second-place finishes at Volusia Speedway Park and a pair of third place finishes last weekend at Whynot Motorsports Park, said this was a weight off his shoulders.
“I told my guys if we just keep clicking off top two or three, you know, we could have run second both nights last week, but we were going for the win and it paid off in the long run and we got us a win tonight,” said Madden. “I would like to thank God for all that he has done for me and for making this win possible.”
Much like Friday night, the second night of the Tennessee Tipoff gave a dominant driver the high-paying feature win. Despite being forced to retire early on lap 33 due to extensive damage on his No. 17m, during Friday night’s feature race, legendary dirt driver Dale McDowell found a way to rebound on Saturday to take home the checkers.
After starting on the outside pole next to defending WoO Series Champion Brandon Sheppard, McDowell hit the gas on the first lap to take the lead. Despite Friday night’s winner, Madden, attempting to take the lead away from McDowell on several occasions, the never-say-die dirt veteran gave it all he had to take his first lap pass all the way to a win.
“The funny thing is that we actually turned in our transponder on Friday because we didn’t think that we were going to be able to make the repairs necessary to race on Saturday,” said McDowell. “We actually had to rob some parts off of Scott Bloomquist’s new car, which was at our race shop. I also lost an ignition box during this race but was fortunate enough to have the ability to reach down and switch ignition boxes. I think that is about the first time in my career that I remembered I had two ignitions, as long as I have raced. Anyway, this all worked out for us and got us into Victory Lane.”
While Friday night’s winner was forced to settle for second behind McDowell, Madden said he could not be more happy with how the weekend at Smoky Mountain Speedway played out.
“I am very proud of my entire team,” said Madden. “I actually think that we had an even better car during Saturday night’s feature race, but the track conditions just wouldn’t allow it to shine. Despite this, I am very impressed with the work that this Chris Madden Racing team put into this entire weekend and I look forward to our next event.”
The champions from the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series return to racing action next week with stops at three tracks in three days including on Lavonia Speedway (GA) on Thursday, May 3, Cherokee Speedway (SC) on Friday, May 4 and Senoia Raceway (GA) for the Billy Clanton Classic on Saturday, May 5. Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for all of your dirt racing coverage!