by Jacob Hord, @HordRacewatcher Photo: Jacob Hord
Judging by the weather, any Ohio Sprint Car fan would know that it had to be Speedweek with the FloRacing All Star Circuit of Champions. It was hot, and humid, but the fans and the cars came out to start one of the most exciting weeks in motorsports. Forty-five of the All Stars made the call, with names like Rico Abreu, Danny Dietrich, Tanner Holmes, and Garrett Williamson trekking out to the Buckeye State to race for the week.
It was Skyler Gee, who was announced as the driver of the Mark Coldren 07 car this week, and Justin Peck, who owns two Ohio wins so far this year, taking the field to the green flag for forty laps of racing. Peck rocketed out to the lead, and amassed a 2.216 second lead by the fourth lap. Gee had his hands full with Ian Madsen, who was looking for his first All Star win of the year. Two quick yellows on lap four put Gee back on Peck’s bumper.
On the restart, Peck again enjoyed an over two second lead over Gee, who bobbled, allowing the younger Madsen to close in and make the pass. Madsen then set his sights on Peck, who watched his lead dwindle in lapped traffic. On lap 13, Madsen was at Peck’s tail. On the frontstretch, going from lap 13 to 14, contact was made by Madsen and Peck. Peck ended up in the wall, but was able to keep going, relinquishing the lead to Madsen in the process.
A couple laps later, Peck threw a slider at Madsen in turns three and four, that didn’t quite clear. Again, contact was made between the two, but this time, Peck spun and could not keep his car going. Madsen, on the other hand, did keep his car running and would hold the lead while the yellow flew for Peck. This bumped Cory Eliason to second and Skyler Gee to third. Gee would have his hands full once again, this time with Cole Macedo for the rest of the race.
Restarts were a factor all race long, and with Eliason right behind Madsen, he knew he had to be on his game if he wanted the win: “You can’t spin your tires, and I knew if he [Eliason] spun his wheels, I could roll the top and do my own thing.”
Three more yellow flags came, and three more times, Madsen held serve over Eliason and Gee. Neither Eliason nor Gee had anything for Madsen, and each time Madsen was starting to sniff lapped traffic, a yellow came out. Madsen cruised to his first All Star win of 2021 after three straight runner-up finishes.
“We got lucky at the end and never really had to deal with lapped traffic, it was one of those nights where everything played out,” said the race winner. “We’ve been coming here for a lot of years, and never have been that good. I kind of hated this place, but this is a great feeling.”
Madsen will take the Ohio Speedweek points lead into Fremont Saturday night, and he also cut into Tyler Courtney’s season points lead as well. It is shaping up to be a highly-contested week as teams zig zag across the state of Ohio.
“It was an unreal night,” Madsen said. “I can’t quite put it into words yet. I just have to thank Sam McGhee Motorsports and all those guys for giving me the opportunity this year. This is just night one, so hopefully we can keep it rolling.”