Ian Madsen is coming “home,” even though he’s never stepped foot on the 3/8 mile clay oval at Farley Speedway.
A native of Australia, Madsen lives in Des Moines these days, driving for KCP Racing out of Granger in the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series.
The WoO sprint cars return to Farley Speedway on Friday for the first time since 1994.
“During the month of June, everything is pretty close to Iowa, so we get to work from the shop most of the time.” Madsen said in a release from SLS Promotions. “Farley will be like a home race for us. We’ll have a lot of friends and partners there to watch, so hopefully we can put on a good show.
“From what I hear, it’s an awesome place and I really am looking forward to getting there.”
Racing begins at 7:30 p.m. with hot laps.
This will be the 30th race in a series that features “900-horsepower winged sprint cars.” Nearly 20 races have been postponed by inclement weather.
Donny Schatz, a nine-time and defending series champion, leads again this year with 11 wins and 27 top-10 finishes. Brad Sweet is second with two wins and 25 top 10s. Daryn Pittman has four wins, David Gravel three.
Madsen, 33, is looking for his first win this season. He stands ninth in the points race with 10 top-10 finishes, 594 behind Schatz.
This is his 13th year of driving, but his first full-time in the sprint car series. He won his first race in 2013 and another last year. He won the Knoxville Raceway track championship in 2014 and 2017.
“It’s been kind of an up and down year so far,” he said. “We’ve struggled some nights and then there has been nights we have been really fast and had something happen, whether it’s a blown tire or bad luck. Hopefully we can get into rhythm here in June and knock some good runs out and get on a roll.”
Racing such an ambitious schedule — the series has races nearly every weekend through November — doesn’t leave a lot of time for practice on unfamiliar tracks. Madsen has no problem with that.
“We honestly just kind of wing it when we go to a new track,” he said. “You go out for hot laps and hope that you are quick from the get go. If you aren’t, then you have to make some adjustments.”
This is the series’ only Eastern Iowa stop this season, but there are races scheduled in Knoxville at the end of the month and the popular Knoxville Nationals are Aug 8-11.
“Hopefully we can start to put some strong runs together and knock off a couple of wins,” Madsen said. “It would be awesome to win a race anywhere with these guys, and if we could do it in Iowa, at a place such as Farley, that would be even better.”
Hawkeye Downs notes
• The Mid-American Series and the Midwest Compact/Tour Series will join the regular divisions at Hawkeye Downs on Friday. Both series, along with late models, will have their features on the larger of the two tracks, while the hobby stocks and legends continue their battle on the 1/4 mile. Racing starts at 7:30 p.m.
• Nathan Ballard of Marengo has won four of the six Hornet features, but stands third in the points standings, 18 behind one-time winner Dallas Chandler of Vinton.
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• Cory Houdek of Marion has three Sportsman wins, but is fourth in the points race. CJ Van Horn of Marion is the leader.
• Kevin Korsmo of Cedar Rapids is winless, but leads the Legends series with 97 points, five more than Austin Slaughbaugh of Kalona and nine more than two-time winner Dave McCalla of Cedar Rapids.
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