One venue where he has really dominated in recent years is the Dirt Track at Lowes Motor Speedway. His accomplishments have included wins in 2005, 2006, and 2007, along with runner-up finishes in 2007 and this year. "I love that track because of its high speeds," he says. "It's not really that high banked, but we can really get around it. It's actually the shape of a big circle.
"It's really great going there because of the many Cup guys that come over to watch us race. I really think because of the increasing involvement of Cup guys with dirt teams that you could see some Dirt Late Model drivers really getting a shot at Cup. If I thought I could get good equipment and somebody wanted to give me a shot at Cup, I would probably give it a shot. But with the purses we have, I feel very comfortable in this kind of racing."
Madden will tell you that he thinks the biggest change in the Dirt Late Models over the course of his career has been in the suspension systems. "There have been tremendous changes in the shock and spring locations, along with different front ends, and a huge improvement in shock design. Of course, the engines have also improved greatly, now making well over 800 hp.
"As far as the current rules in the sport, I really object to inversions in the front of the field. I really think that it promotes sand-bagging during qualifications. You end up being penalized for your accomplishments."
Dirt Late Model Pointers From Chris Madden
A DrivingIf you are a young driver who is thinking about getting into a Dirt Late Model, the place to start would be in either a Crate Late Model or a Modified. The Modified has narrow tires and is an excellent vehicle to learn how to apply power. With the Crate Late Model, you can learn the handling characteristics of a Dirt Late Model because you are using a Dirt Late Model chassis, only with a less-powerful engine. One important thing to recall, do not stick to the same track all the time. You need to experience different tracks and learn which driving style applies to different track surfaces. Watch the good drivers on the track and the grooves they take. It's very important to keep up with the track. Remember, the driver is still very important.
If you don't understand how a Dirt Late Model works, you really don't need to be driving one of these cars. I really believe that you have to have that knowledge to win races. Hey, I know how everything works on my cars.
As Told to Bill Holder