Hard Tire Choice Keys Madden’s Victory In Inaugural ‘Commonwealth 100′ At Virginia Motor Speedway

JAMAICA, VA – April 17, 2010 – Chris Madden never had a tire choice pay off quite like he did on Saturday night at Virginia Motor Speedway.

Bolting on hard-compound Hoosier rubber worked handsomely for Madden, who benefitted from the late-race tire problems of several rivals to capture the inaugural Commonwealth 100.

Madden, 34, of Gray Court, S.C., pocketed $25,000 for his sixth career victory on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. It was his third win in as many appearances over the past three seasons at Bill Sawyer’s pristine half-mile oval.

“I love this place,” said Madden, whose perfect record at VMS includes a triumph in last year’s WoO LMS event. “I love the high speed. I love the configuration of the racetrack. It’s got some character to it – it takes a different driving style just about every time you pull on the racetrack.”

Madden used a cool, calm approach to win the biggest race ever run at VMS. He experienced some anxious moments early in the 100-lapper when his hard tires fired slowly and he slipped from his outside pole starting spot to nearly out of the top 10, but those same tires allowed him to outlast his competition on a track surface that produced heavy tire wear.

Over the final 19 laps Madden watched the four drivers ahead of him all succumb to flat right-rear tires, culminating on a lap-91 restart when long-time race leader Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., dropped off the pace. Madden inherited the top spot and held off fellow Team Zero by Bloomquist Chassis driver Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., following a restart with two laps remaining to reach Victory Lane, where he was greeted with a flurry of revolver fire from a group of costumer Civil War reenactors.

Owens, who also opted to run hard-compound tires, settled for second place, just 0.192 of a second behind Madden at the finish line. Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., finished third in the Barry Wright house car, followed by former WoO LMS champion Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., who started 14th in his Valvoline Rocket, and 21st-starter Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., in the RSD Enterprises Rocket.

“I was worried at the beginning because we fell so far back,” said Madden, who sat ninth when the first of the race’s 12 caution flags came out on lap 16. “It’s a little nerve-racking when you’re going backwards. It’s hard to sit in that seat and say, ‘Well, just hang on, hang on, hang on, it’ll be O.K.’ But I did, I kept my patience, I didn’t get in trouble, and it paid off at the end.

“Me and my guys decided that if we could be in the top five on lap 50, we had a shot at winning the race. At lap 50 we were right there (in seventh place) being very competitive. We knew we had a great car, so I was just trying to keep the tires on the car and be there at 100 laps.”

After Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., signaled that tire wear would be an issue when he relinquished third place to a soft right-rear tire on lap 59, Madden overtook Jason Covert of York Haven, Pa., for fifth on the ensuing restart. Madden then ascended to the front without having to pass a single car, picking up positions thanks to the flat right-rear tires suffered by Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa (lap 85), Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va. (lap 87) and Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis. (lap 91) – each of whom was running second when they were forced pitside – and, finally, Lanigan.

“I looked at (Mars’s) tires (during a caution period) and he had cords hanging out,” said Madden, who became the eighth different winner in as many WoO LMS A-Mains this season. “I knew those guys were gonna pop. I was a little concerned about Lanigan because he was out front leading and was able to set the pace and keep his car good and straight, but with 10 to go we were right behind him and I didn’t really have nothing to worry about. My car was great.”

The 38-year-old Owens, meanwhile, followed the same path as Madden en route to a runner-up finish worth $12,500. He started 11th and faded early in the race before advancing as his hard tires heated up, ultimately reaching second place on lap 97 when he overtook Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y. That pass came moments before the race’s final caution flag flew on lap 98 for fourth-place Covert’s flat tire and McCreadie gave up third place during the caution period to replace his machine’s popped right-rear.

“We took a gamble on tires,” Owens said of his hard-compound choice. “At first I was really worried because we went straight back, but then I thought, ‘You know, we’ll just use our head and stay calm because I believe it’s gonna be survival of the fittest.’

“There toward the end we had a lot more tire left than everybody, but we were just a little bit short. Congratulations to Chris – he had had a great car and a good run.”

Davenport, 26, passed Francis on the race’s final restart to finish a WoO LMS career-best third. He felt fortunate to stand on the podium after struggling for much of the distance – he started ninth but faded backward and made a mid-race pit stop – and spinning around on the backstretch on lap 92 during a scramble to avoid Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., who slowed with a flat tire.

“We probably had a 20th- to 25th-place car,” said Davenport, who wasn’t required to restart at the rear of the field following his spin because the caution flag was charged to McCool. “I just kinda managed my tires and I found that top there at the end (to pick up spots).”

Finishing in positions 6-10 was 22nd-starter Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y.; 16th-starter Dan Schlieper of Sullivan, Wis., who pitted during a lap-81 caution period; Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., who used a provisional and started 25th after a B-Main tangle forced him to jump in his backup car; Steve Shaver of Vienna, W.Va., who slowed with a right-rear flat tire on lap 81; and 26th-starter Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., who pitted to preemptively change a tire during a lap-59 caution period.

Richards finished 12th, Lanigan settled for 14th and McCreadie placed 17th, tightening the WoO LMS points standings after the eighth event of 2010. Richards and McCreadie left the track tied for the points lead, with Lanigan trailing in third place by 42 points.

Darryl Hills of Great Mills, Md., and Mars were victorious in Saturday night’s pair of 20-lap B-Mains.

Chris Ferguson of Mt. Holly, N.C., marched forward from the eighth starting spot to win the ‘Rumble on the River 30′ Non-Qualifiers’ Race. The young driver pocketed $3,000 after grabbing the lead from Dan Stone of Thompson, Pa., on lap 10 and never looked back.

Stone finished second, followed by D.J. Myers of Greencastle, Pa., Jamie Lathroum of Mechanicsville, Md., who started at the rear of the field after pitting to replace a wheel that came off his car during the race’s pace laps, and David Zona of Montrose, Pa.

The WoO LMS will be silent one weekend before heading to the Southeast for a doubleheader, visiting Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Fri., April 30, and Swainsboro (Ga.) Raceway on Sat., May 1.

For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.

Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Commonwealth 100′ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):

1. (2) Chris Madden/100 $25,000
2. (11) Jimmy Owens/100 $12,500
3. (7) Jonathan Davenport/100 $7,500
4. (14) Steve Francis/100 $6,000
5. (21) Shane Clanton/100 $5,000
6. (22) Vic Coffey/100 $4,275
7. (16) Dan Schlieper/100 $3,800
8. (25) Tim Fuller/100 $3,400
9. (8) Steve Shaver/100 $3,000
10. (26) Clint Smith/100 $2,600
11. (1) Earl Pearson Jr./100 $2,400
12. (10) Josh Richards/100 $2,250
13. (20) Jimmy Mars/100 $2,225
14. (4) Darrell Lanigan/100 $2,200
15. (24) Chub Frank/100 $2,150
16. (9) Bub McCool/100 $2,100
17. (6) Tim McCreadie/100 $2,090
18. (3) Jason Covert/100 $2,080
19. (23) Austin Hubbard/99 $2,070
20. (27) Russell King/99 $60
21. (15) Brad Neat/99 $2,050
22. (5) Rick Eckert/98 $2,040
23. (12) Brian Birkhofer/85 $2,030
24. (13) Dale McDowell/67 $2,020
25. (17) Brent Robinson/45 $2,035
26. (19) Darryl Hills/40 $2,050
27. (18) Brady Smith/28 $2,000

NOTE: Brady Smith was forced to start at the rear of the field after reporting late to the lineup because he switched to a backup car

* Earnings include cash contingency award bonuses

Time of Race: 1 Hr., 7 Mins., 17.431 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.192 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 12 (Laps 16, 29, 29, 59, 81, 85, 87, 91, 91, 91, 92, 98)
Lap Leaders: Covert (1); Pearson (2-3); Lanigan (4-91); Madden (92-100)
Provisional Starters: Fuller, C. Smith, King

B-Main No. 1 (20 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Darryl Hills, 2. Shane Clanton, 3. Austin Hubbard, 4. D.J. Myers, 5. Walker Arthur, 6. David Zona, 7. Jamie Lathroum, 8. Bryan Bernheisel, 9. Mark Byram, 10. Chuck Harper, 11. Ronnie DeHaven Jr., 12. Russell King, 13. Stephen Evans, 14. Mason Price, 15. David Williams, 16. Tim Fuller (DNS) Mason Zeigler

B-Main No. 2 (20 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Jimmy Mars, 2. Vic Coffey, 3. Chub Frank, 4. Clint Smith, 5. Dan Stone, 6. Dean Bowen, 7. Jimmy Bernheisel, 8. Chris Ferguson, 9. Gregg Satterlee, 10. John Blankenship, 11. Jill George, 12. Jeff Pilkerton, 13. Dale Hollidge, 14. Dustin Mitchell, 15. David Taylor (DNS) Jeremy Miller, Ross Robinson

‘Rumble on the River 30′ Non-Qualifiers’ Race: 1. Chris Ferguson ($3,000); 2. Dan Stone ($2,000); 3. D.J. Myers ($1,500); 4. Jamie Lathroum ($1,200); 5. David Zona ($1,000); 6. Mark Byram ($800); 7. Walker Arthur ($700); 8. Bryan Bernheisel ($600); 9. David Williams ($500); 10. Jimmy Bernheisel ($400); 11. John Blankenship ($300); 12. Chuck Harper ($300); 13. Jeff Pilkerton ($300); 14. David Taylor ($300); 15. Dustin Mitchell ($300); 16. Stephen Evans ($300); 17. Dean Bowen ($300); 18. Gregg Satterlee ($300); 19. Jill George ($300); 20. Ronnie DeHaven Jr. ($300).

Did not return on Saturday: Roland Mann, Gary Stuhler, Ricky Elliott, Mark Pettyjohn

World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:

Arizona Sports Shirts ($50 product certificate): Chris Ferguson, Mark Byram
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Vic Coffey
Eibach Springs (one free spring): Dan Stone, Mark Byram
MSD Ignition ($75 cash award): Vic Coffey
MSD Ignition ($25 cash award): Brent Robinson
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash award to fastest qualifier w/decal): Earl Pearson Jr.
Pink Carburetors ($100 product certificate): Tim Fuller
Pink Carburetors ($50 product certificate): Rick Eckert
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate): Chris Madden
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate): Shane Clanton
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate): Bub McCool
STP ($50 cash award): Darryl Hills
VP Racing Fuels ‘Nice Jugs Award’ (54-gallon drum of fuel to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main if decal is displayed): Gregg Satterlee
Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Steve Francis

2010 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of April 17 – 8 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/wins/top-5s/top-10s/earnings/points/deficit to leader):

1. (tie) Tim McCreadie 1114 (-0)
1. (tie) Josh Richards 1114 (-0)
3. Darrell Lanigan 1072 (-42)
4. Tim Fuller 1044 (-70)
5. Steve Francis 1032 (-82)
6. Brady Smith 1030 (-84)
7. Austin Hubbard 1020 (-94)
8. Rick Eckert 1006 (-108)
9. Chub Frank 984 (-130)
10. Clint Smith 980 (-134)
11. Shane Clanton 972 (-142)
12. Russell King 868 (-246)
13. Brent Robinson 816 (-298)
14. Billy Moyer 696 (-418)
15. Brian Birkhofer 686 (-428)
16. Tony Knowles 638 (-476)
17. Jill George 626 (-488)
18. Dan Schlieper 442 (-672)
19. Tyler Ivey 438 (-676)
20. Earl Pearson Jr. 420 (-694)

FOLLOW THE ACTION ON TWITTER: Fans can now keep up-to-date with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series online and through text messages on cell phones via Twitter, the internet’s fast-growing social-networking and micro-blogging website. Updates are provided to Twitter ‘followers’ of the WoO LMS throughout each race night, and fans also receive breaking news and interesting notes from the tour.

To sign-up as a WoO LMS ‘follower’ on Twitter to receive updates anywhere at anytime, visit http://twitter.com/WoOLateModels.

LISTEN ONLINE: If fans can’t get to a track to see the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, they can experience the excitement of the nation’s premier tour live on DIRTvision.com through the DIRT Radio Network.

To listen to the free audio broadcasts, log on to www.dirtvision.com and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo.

Listeners will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to listen to the DIRT Radio Network. For technical support or questions, e-mail customerservice@dirtvision.com.

The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), SuperClean (Official Cleaner-Degreaser), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and Chizmark & Larson Insurance; in addition to contingency sponsors Eibach Springs, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pink Carburetors, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis and Wrisco Aluminum.

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