Chris Madden: First Venture into Modifieds

Chris Madden: First Venture into Modifieds

Many know Chris Madden from his success in dirt late models. However, this past weekend, he took his first laps in competition with a modified during the World Short Track Championship at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Some might have questioned car owner Dan Davies for putting a “rookie” into his ride. Then, Madden started off the event by winning his heat race, beating top-name modified drivers such as Curt Spalding and Kyle Strickler.

“Even though he never drove [a modified] before, he still knows the feel [he wants in a race car],” Davies, 37, of Warren, Pennsylvania, said. “He’s like, ‘You guys run these all the time, do whatever, but I’m feeling this and I want to work on that.’ We’re both learning a little bit together. Hopefully, it’s helping him for next weekend [the World of Outlaws Finals]. [But,] we’re just here to have fun.”

Davies’ father, Ron Davies, is father-in-law to another dirt late model driver, Shane Clanton. Madden got to know the Davies family through Clanton. Whenever Madden ventured to races near where the Davies lived, the Davies family provided a home away from home for Madden and his team.

“They took me in … let me spend time, use their shop, and treated me like family — they gave me everything I needed,” said Madden, 46, of Gray Court, South Carolina. “I can’t thank Dan enough for giving me this opportunity to have fun.”

Davies said he’s thankful for the experience Madden once provided him and the friendship that has since developed.

“He was up at my dad’s shop in 2017, and all his crew guys quit and he had nobody to race with,” Davies said. “I was supposed to race that weekend with my mod. [I told Chris], ‘I’m doing this for fun. This is your job. I’m not going to go. I’m going to help you.’ I went to Merritt Speedway [in Michigan] with him and did tires. He ran second the first night and he won the $50,000 [-to-win race] the second night. That meant a lot to me, and [the friendship] built from there.”

The modified and late models certainly have differences, but they’re not too far apart, at least according to Madden.

“It’s a race car, it’s dirt, and it’s a lot of fun,” said Madden of the modifieds. “You got an open motor here, eight-inch tires, and a car that doesn’t have a lot of body and spoiler like we do [on a late model]. It’s fun in the seat, that’s for sure.”

Chris Madden finished second to Nick Hoffman in the feature on Saturday. Davies feels Madden has a new appreciation for modifieds after his experience.

“Chris has commented, ‘Now I can see why a Kyle Strickler … a Nick Hoffman …  can come run late models and be good,’” Davies said. “These things are challenging. You got to work on getting them hooked up and handle a motor that’s overpowered.”