It's about time. Not just because the Outlaws could use more competitive balance, and not just to see one more new face on the tour. It's time for Chris Madden to tour on a national level for a few good reasons in 2017.
|Daylon Barr Photo|
The 41 year old Super Late Model pilot from Gray Court, SC has become a fixture on the various regional tours over the last 20 years near his base of operations. You see the press releases that hit your email box, check the standings, and know that he's doing his thing, making a living week in and week out. And then, you see him at Eldora twice a year where's he's always in the hunt and at a few more crown jewels perhaps, and the World Finals. And that's what makes his recent announcement intriguing. Because quite honestly, we could use to see more of him in different parts of the country. It's about time.
Madden has already taken a couple of high profile World of Outlaw Late Model races in his career to date. He cashed a $25,000 winners check at Virginia Motor Speedway in 2010 and has taken two wins at the Dirt Track at Charlotte, most recently at this year's World Finals where he bested perhaps one of the most stacked fields in his career, Eldora fields not withstanding. His record against top competition speaks for itself over the years, and he's a member of a small club of drivers that have wins not only with the Outlaws, but with Lucas Oil and the ill fated NDRL series as well. He's accumulated over 200 career feature wins, several regional titles and even though he's been more of a regional racer, picking and choosing He'll be an instant favorite for a top three finish in the standings by the time all is said and done in 2017 and has a reasonable title chance. It's the right series for Madden to go on tour with, and at the right time.
|Daylon Barr Photo|
But aside from joining a tour he brings instant credibility to, there are more reasons why this move made sense.
He'll be in front of some sets of eyes that he's never been in front of before on the Wild Western portion of the tour, and other areas that haven't seen his presence in years, if ever. It will be great for his sponsors, it will be great to broaden his visibility, boost his merchandise sales and it'll be tremendous for Late Model fans across the board who will get to see him race. It will also help him as a driver, not like he needed that much to begin with, but more seat time at places a driver hasn't had the chance to see that often pays dividends. It helps with setup decisions, tire choices and many other aspects of preparation.
|Kevin Praytor Photo|
And yet another good reason is that it will finally reward him for what he's been doing all year. Not that point funds in the regional series aren't nice, but that end of the year award for Madden will be a nice addition to his winnings totals come November. It will be deserved, and it will be a good reward for a true outlaw that will be able to get in front of more eyes, turn more heads, and turn more fans on to his hard and smooth style of driving. There's a lot to be said for picking and choosing, but a nice check at the end of the year makes touring worthwhile too.
So welcome Mr. Madden to the World of Outlaws. I think we can all agree, it's time to show what you can do against the best of the best night in and night out. It's a good bet he's in the hunt by the time late August rolls around, and stays there until the World Finals where he'll have a chance to take home a championship, in front of his home fans and family.