Chris Madden is beginning to make a habit of winning big races. And he added to his total on Saturday night at the Smoky Mountain Speedway by taking home a $12,500 payday for winning on night two of a big NDRL sanctioned double header weekend at the Maryville, Tenn. track.
The driver known as ‘Smokey’ made a bold lap 44 pass on the outside of Billy Moyer, Jr. to take the lead then held off a hard charging Mike Marlar to claim the top prize. And as a result of his win, Madden now leads the NDRL standings.
Scott Bloomquist opened the night’s activities by pacing the 38 car field in qualifying with an overall fast time of 15.904 seconds around the 4/10 mile clay oval while Moyer, Jr. paced group 1 time-trials with a lap of 16.013 seconds.
Moyer, Jr., Friday night feature winner Dale McDowell, Madden and Jonathan Davenport each won their respective heat races. Ray Cook and William Thomas earned their way into the feature lineup by winning the two B-main races for those not already locked into the field.
The top-2 finishers in each heat participated in a redraw to set the first four rows of the feature starting lineup. Moyer, Jr. was awarded the pole while Davenport, Madden, McDowell, Casey Roberts, Don O’Neal, Max Blair and Bloomquist filled in the rest of the top-8 starters.
At the start of the feature, Moyer led the way through turns 1 and 2 from his inside front row starting position but Davenport attempted a crossover move on the other end of the track that almost netted him the lead. In the meantime, McDowell worked the low side in an attempt to wrest the 3rd spot away from Madden during the early laps.
The race’s only caution flag flew on lap 13 when the 5th running Roberts slowed dramatically. Soon after the following restart, both Madden and Bloomquist were able to get around Davenport and took off in pursuit of Moyer. At the same time, Marlar began to move forward from his 10th starting spot by employing a higher line through turns 1 and 2 than most other competitors were using.
By lap 35, Madden had closed to the rear of the Moyer machine and began to apply heavy pressure. Finally on lap 44, the South Carolina driver moved to the high side in turn four and swept to the lead as the cars roared down the front straightaway. While the battle for the lead was going on, Marlar was picking off McDowell and Davenport to move into the top-4.
At lap 49, Bloomquist moved around Moyer to take 2nd and Marlar passed the early race leader one lap later for 3rd. Bloomquist briefly challenged for the lead but would eventually lose 2nd to Marlar on lap 55 as the two Tennessee drivers worked slower traffic.
At the finish it was Chris Madden, Mike Marlar, Scott Bloomquist, Jonathan Davenport, Billy Moyer, Jr., Dale McDowell, Don O’Neal, Kent Robinson, Tommy Kerr and Skip Arp making up the top-10 finishing positions.