As his closest competition fell by the wayside in the closing laps, Chris Madden completed his domination of the Ed Gibbons Memorial at Fayetteville Motor Speedway (NC), taking the $10,000 winner’s check in the process.
Madden established himself as the man to beat throughout Saturday afternoon and evening at Fayetteville, the second round of the 2018 Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series. After setting the third-fastest time in hot laps, Madden qualified on the pole after winning his heat race, and led all 50 laps of the Ed Gibbons Memorial to take his ninth career Carolina Clash victory.
After the race, Madden established his pride and honor in being able to win the race named after a fellow racer. Gibbons, the 2001 Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series champion, passed away following a 2009 traffic accident and has been honored with this event at Fayetteville in the ten years since. His last triumph came at the Fayetteville Motor Speedway.
“It’s awesome to be here. It’s a privilege to be able to run this race for Ed [Gibbons],” Madden told Speed51.com after the win. “I had gotten to race a good bit with Ed. I had a lot of respect for that guy. I want to thank his family for being here and still continuing the Ed Gibbons Memorial Race. It’s just a privilege to be here.”
The two drivers who came closest to challenging Madden were Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series regular Bobby Pierce and World of Outlaws Late Model Series competitor Chris Ferguson. Pierce and Ferguson battled for the runner-up spot throughout the evening.
“That’s the good thing about racing with them guys,” Ferguson said after the race. “Me and him (Pierce) went door-to-door for two or three laps. At one point in the race, I was better than him. At one point, he was better than me, and the same thing with Madden.”
However, both would see their shots at victory dashed in the closing laps. Ferguson would be the first to fall by the wayside, as a flat tire with four laps remaining prevented him from competing for the win.
“I think we got a little aggressive racing with Bobby [Pierce],” Ferguson said. “Me and Bobby were driving the wheels off it. We knew it was going to be close, and I knew racing as hard as we were on the restarts wouldn’t be good on the tires.”
While Ferguson hoped to add to his collection of Fayetteville trophies, which includes wins in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and World of Outlaws Late Model Series, Bobby Pierce was learning more about the North Carolina half-mile for those touring dates this season with his Dunn-Benson Motorsports team. However, a mechanical failure following the final restart after Ferguson’s flat tire ended his evening just shy of the finish.
“Something broke there in the car,” said Pierce. “I don’t know if it was something in the rear end or something in the transmission.
“I kinda felt something on the second-to-last caution. Then I felt it worse on the last caution, something was just clanging around. Right through the middle of one and two, it broke.”
Despite the sour ending, Pierce was pleased with what he was able to gain from the race.
“It sucks to have a really good race car and have a chance to win and that happens,” Pierce said. “Overall, I’m really impressed with the car. I was able to run down Madden a couple of times. That makes me feel pretty good because he’s the master when the tracks get like this, and this kind of dirt. Being from the Midwest, I’m not used to this stuff.”
For the second-consecutive race to begin the season Adam Yarborough received the Speed51.com Hard Charger of the Race Award and the $51 that comes along with it. He advanced 13 positions from 24th to 11th at the conclusion of the event. Yarborough now leads the standings for the $251 Speed51.com Hard Charger of the Year award.
The Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series returns to action on Friday, April 20 for the Skyler Trull Memorial at Carolina Speedway. The event at the Gastonia, North Carolina facility was originally scheduled to be the 2018 season opener on March 10, but inclement weather postponed the event by one month.
Pos # Driver
1 44 Chris Madden
2 24B Michael Brown
3 89 Justin Williams
4 09 Johnny Pursley
5 93 Donald Bradsher
6 16 Ben Watkins
7 79B Ross Bailes
8 23B Matthew Bissette
9 44R Brent Robinson
10 22 Chris Ferguson
11 57 Adam Yarborough
12 72 Mike Parker
13 03 David Yandle
14 42 Doug Sanders
15 32P Bobby Pierce
16 32 Dustin Mitchell
17 11X Christian Thomas
18 55 Dean Bowen
19 5 Dennis Franklin
20 23 Ryan Gifford
21 87 Walker Arthur
22 79L Roger Lucas
23 22A Dale Arnold
24 22* G.R. Smith
25 57M Zack Mitchell
Story By: Zach Evans, Southeast Editor for Speed51.com – Twitter: @ztevans
Photo By: Speed51.com