Turn 2 Blog: Just how much money can Chris Madden win?


*Turn 2 Blog is a regular feature on InsideDirtRacing.com. Here, site operators Michael Moats and Richard Allen take turns offering their thoughts on the dirt racing topics of the day from east Tennessee and beyond.

The latest edition of the Turn 2 Blog is presented by the American Crate All-Star Series.

Chris Madden is well on his way to being this year’s big money winner. Can he maintain this level of success all season?

Richard: Chris Madden’s two wins in the three Colossal 100 races that were contested this past week at The Dirt Track at Charlotte further cemented the fact that he has been the top driver up to this point in the 2022 season. The Gray Court, SC driver now has seven wins this year with five of those paying more than $20,000. On top of that, he earned a $100,000 bonus for being the top points collector during the Karl Kustoms Bristol Dirt Nationals earlier this spring at the Bristol Motor Speedway.

But as he himself said in his victory lane interview following his $50,000 triumph in Charlotte, there is no way to know just how far this run will continue. That said, he and his team have obviously hit on something that began near the end of last year and has carried through to now. And as we have seen in several cases over recent years, once these types of streaks get started, they often times continue.

Madden said on Saturday night that he is already focusing on the upcoming races at Eldora Speedway, particularly the Eldora Million. At the same time, though, virtually every top Dirt Late Model driver and team in the country will be focused on that huge Dirt Late Model Dream weekend.

Not that he hasn’t already beaten many of the top stars in the sport who were throwing their best at him, but it will be interesting to see if Madden is able to walk away with a seven-digit payday under those circumstances. Right now, it would seem that he is the odds-on favorite to do exactly that.

Chris Madden has already won a lot of money in 2022

Michael: No doubt that Madden is the top driver in the sport right now. He and his team have found something that suits his driving style. I could see him going on a run like he had in 2019 when he won all those big races in August of that year.

One thing that has eluded Madden during his career is the one big win at Eldora. He’s always been fast there, but has either been not fast enough at the end of those races or has had some type of bad luck. If Madden is to ever get one of those wins there, I can see it happening this year.

The car counts at this past weekend’s events in Charlotte and Illinois were quite good. Were you surprised at the number of entrants at each of these events?

Richard: I would not only say that I was surprised at the 50+ numbers of cars signed in at both The Dirt Track at Charlotte and the facilities used during Illinois SpeedWeek, I was stunned. With all we keep hearing about shortages of this and that as well as high fuel prices and other factors that seem to have affected some races already this year, I was not expecting those kinds of numbers even with the amount of money available.

I was very much encouraged about the health of the sport despite having all of the setbacks placed before it over the past couple of years.

As I have said all along, though, I do not believe these big events will see as much of an impact regarding tire and other shortfalls as will the local racing scene. Let’s be realistic, if there are truly going to be races impacted to the point that there might even be cancellations, it’s not going to be these high-dollar affairs.

But back to the question, I was very surprised in a good way at the number of cars in the pit areas of the biggest events held this past weekend.

Michael: It was a surprise to see the car counts at those events, especially at Charlotte. I know a lot of drivers like racing at Charlotte, but I was expecting a car count closer to what the series drew for All-Tech Raceway in Florida last month.

All we’ve been hearing about the last few months is tire shortages and high fuel prices. But we have not seen car counts really drop off. Racers are going to race as long as they have the means to do so, even if that means paying more to get there and once they get there.

I guess the question is will this continue as we get into the summer months?

There has been no shortage of big paying races so far in 2022 but the real money season is just about to begin, isn’t it?

Richard: As I said earlier, everyone is beginning to turn their focus toward Eldora and the $1,000,000 that will be handed out there in June. But that’s certainly not the end of the time when major money will be on the line. As a matter of fact, it’s more like the beginning.

By my count, there are 21 features remaining in the 2022 season that will pay out at least $40,000 to the winner. And that’s not counting scores of other events with $20,000 and $30,000-to-win purses. It seems like it took the Dirt Late Model world a long time to upgrade its purse structures but those upgrades are now coming at a rapid rate.

There is a lot on the line from now through December which is good news for both competitors and fans of the sport.

Smoky Mountain Speedway is certain to have a packed grandstand for its $50,000 Lucas Oil race in June

Michael: I’m not trying to be negative when I say this but a typical $10,000 to win race seems like nothing now. That would be a good pay day for a regional or local racer to cash in from one of those races. But the bar has been raised and there’s no turning back.

I think Flo and XR are both responsible for the increased purses based off what they did last year and have continued into this year. It’s certainly putting the pressure on the Lucas Oil and World of Outlaws series’ to raise their purses. Lucas Oil and some of their tracks have when you look at the increases for events like the Mountain Moonshine Classic at Smoky Mountain Speedway next month and the North/South 100 at Florence in August.

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