OCALA, Fla. — The “Schatz Sweep” was officially denied Saturday night during the Bubba Army Winternationals finale, as Kerry Madsen stormed to victory for the first time with Big Game Motorsports.
Looking to avenge a flat tire that cost him a likely win in Thursday’s opening act at Bubba Raceway Park, Madsen snuck around Schatz with six laps remaining and never looked back en route to his seventh career All Stars triumph.
“This thing has been a rocket ship right from the drop of the gate,” Madsen said. “My guys, Guy and Nate, did a great job all winter prepping these race cars and getting everything set for Florida. It feels awesome to be this fast right from the start.”
“We were so close on Thursday, so this definitely makes up for that. I can’t thank Tod and Luke enough for this opportunity. Hopefully they were tuned-in back in Minnesota and got to see this.”
Madsen never raced outside of the top-three the entire distance, starting third and racing in that same position until just beyond the halfway signal. The Aussie then worked around the CJB Motorsports entry of David Gravel for second on lap 16, setting his sights on Schatz for the lead.
By lap 20, traffic started to intensify, allowing Madsen to cut away at Schatz’s one second advantage at the front of the field. The pair raced nearly nose-to-tail, until Madsen made the winning move at the entrance of turn one on lap 24, taking command for the first time during the main event.
Madsen raced ahead untouched for the remaining distance, holding off a late charge by Schatz and Tim Shaffer at the final checkers.
“We ended up cutting a tire somewhere around four or five laps to go in that race,” Schatz explained after the feature. “My late model experience actually helped me get through those last five laps. I was able to keep the car straight and hang on to that position. It is a tough deal, but we’ll move on and try again at Volusia.”
David Gravel and Greg Hodnett completed the top five, followed by Aaron Reutzel, Caleb Armstrong, Mark Smith, Ian Madsen and Ryan Smith.
The Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions continues their season on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at Volusia Speedway Park.
Full results can be viewed on the next page…