Ocala, Fla. — The “Steel City Outlaw” Tim Shaffer made the most of his front row starting position on Friday night, eventually leading all 30 circuits around Bubba Raceway Park to claim his first Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 main event victory of the season. The pilot of the Rudzik Excavating, No. 49X earned $5,000 for his efforts, edging out the “Madman” Kerry Madsen for the 61st victory of his career against the All Star Circuit of Champions.
“This is great for the Rudzik team,” Shaffer said, a four-time All Star champion from 2009 to 2012. “Everyone works so hard back at the shop. That hard work makes all of this happen. This is what makes all of their hard work fun.”
Shaffer started from the outside-pole position and earned the early advantage, racing by the flagstand for the first time with Tyler Clem and Sheldon Haudenschild in tow. The Aliquippa, Pa., native maintained a quick pace at the front of the running order until caution flags appeared for the first time on lap nine. Unfortunately for Clem and Haudenschild, the caution flag was the result of their misfortune, each collected by a stopped lapped car.
Green flag conditions soon returned with Shaffer resuming his campaign at the front of the running order. With Clem and Haudenschild out, it was Sunbury, Pennsylvania’s Mark Smith inheriting the runner-up position, followed closely by New York native, Coleman Gulick, and Kerry Madsen.
While Shaffer controlled the point, pushing his advantage to nearly two seconds even with traffic coming back into play as early as lap 14, it was Madsen who was attracting the attention, driving by Gulick on lap 11 and eventually squeezing under Mark Smith on lap 20. On lap 21, caution flags appeared for the second and final time once again erasing Shaffer’s advantage.
With rubber starting to come into play around the bottom of the speedway, it was obvious that Shaffer had the edge despite Madsen’s speed. Madsen followed Shaffer back to green on lap 21 and raced on the tail tank of the familiar No. 49X for the next nine circuits. Once again, traffic came into the picture but this time acting as a roadblock around the thin lane of rubbered-up racing surface. Madsen made a few attempts to squeeze under Shaffer, but the attempts failed. The “Steel City Outlaw” prevailed for his third All Star Circuit of Champions victory at Bubba Raceway Park.
“I tried to get out of line and get around the lapped car on the front stretch, but I had to duck back in line,” Shaffer explained. “You just have to be patient. Last night I wasn’t patient and it cost us. To come back tonight and win is just awesome for this team. This is a Rider Engine and it is running great. The first win is always the hardest to get. To get a win this early will really help us the rest of the year. It is a building tool for the team.”
Kerry Madsen chased Shaffer to the line, followed by Mark Smith, Coleman Gulick, and Paul McMahan.
“I did think about trying to squeeze under [Tim Shaffer] a few times, but I thought I better get on the brakes because I didn’t want to take him out,” Madsen explained, pilot of the GoMuddy.com, No. 2. “I tried to keep him honest right there at the end and be right up his bum. If he had a slip, I was going to get right in there. We had a good run. I’m happy for this team. Second run of the year and we got a top-two. I’m happy with that.”
The Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 will end their three-day visit to Ocala, Fla., on Saturday, February 3, with a third and final appearance at Bubba Raceway Park. “America’s Series” will battle for a $5,000 top prize during the final leg of their Winter Nationals campaign, successfully wrapping up the first segment of their Florida invasion. The All Stars will return to competition on Wednesday evening, February 7, at Volusia Speedway Park near Barberville, Florida.
On Saturday, February 3, starting times will move ahead one hour at Bubba Raceway Park with the All Star drivers meeting scheduled for 4:30 p.m. followed by All Star hot laps at 5:45 p.m., sharp. Those seeking additional news and notes, such as general admission gate times and ticket prices, should visit Bubba Raceway Park live on the Web at www.bubbaracewaypark.com.
-All Star Circuit of Champions Press Release
-Photo credit: Paul Arch