“It’s all kind of a serendipitous story,” Ian Madsen explained. “It’s just by pure chance that it all came together.” The it he’s referring to is the formation of KCP Racing, the team he’s raced for since its inception in 2013.
Despite both his father, Joe Madsen, and brother, Kerry Madsen, being sprint car racers, it wasn’t until well into his teen years that Ian felt the raw ache in his belly to climb behind the wheel and push off in a sprint car.
He was born and raised in St. Marys, New South Wales, Australia, a suburb of western Sydney. His brother Kerry (who is 14 years his elder) first traveled to the United States to race a sprint car in 1991 and, when Ian was old enough, he made his first long flight to America to experience a race season as a crew member on his brother’s team.
Ian immediately took to the States and returned again each season to work on brother Kerry’s crew, earning the nickname “Dyno” along the way.
“I really didn’t take an interest in it early on,” Ian says, reflecting on his thoughts regarding sprint car racing as a youngster. “Fourteen was the first year I came over here. And, I liked it ‘cause Kerry did it and my dad did it, but really when I came over here is when I fell in love with the sport.
“Just the big tracks like Knoxville and Eldora, and the racing was just on another level back then. I mean, back in Australia now it’s more aligned with here and more competitive, but back then to come over here and see the guys like Sammy (Swindell), Steve (Kinser) and Dave Blaney and them guys go at it was just something else.”
He was 20 years old when he finally competed in his first sprint car race, at Valvoline Raceway in Sydney (then known as Parramatta Speedway) during the 2004-2005 season, just after the Australian tracks made the move from 370ci to 410ci engines. “There was never any money to go racing,” he explains. “And then, when they brought the 410 rule in, we were able to pick up a cheap motor over here and take it back and get enough stuff to get ready to go racing.
“I probably really only did 12-to-15 races a year for probably the first five years. So, I would do just some local shows in Sydney, and then I would come over here for six months of the year and still crew for Kerry. I crewed for Kerry right ‘til 2009.
Then he landed a ride in the TK Concrete No. 55 sprinter owned by Tony VerMeer, and in 2010 took his first shot at being an American sprint car racer, running weekly at Knoxville Raceway.
In 2011, Madsen headed west, running in California around the Chico area in friend Lee Watson’s sprinter. He returned to Knoxville and the TK Concrete car in 2012 before the formation of KCP Racing launched his racing career into overdrive.
“Originally, when I came over here to crew for Kerry, my best friend Matt (Barbara), who grew up where I grew up in Sydney, he came over here with me and we both crewed for Kerry for a long time. His father was into concreting before he came over here, and he got off the Outlaws around 2010 ‘cause he got married to a girl in Pella, Iowa. And, he started concrete pumping and he met this guy, they formed a business together. He took this guy to the races one night at Knoxville in 2012. The guy loved it. First night ever there he wanted to start a sprint car team, and here we are now.”
That guy was Bret Nehring of Des Moines, Iowa, and the business they formed was Kustom Concrete Pumping Inc., or K.C.P.
After Nehring’s introduction to sprint car racing the two formed KCP Racing and put together a stout winged 410 team, fielding the No. 18 with Ian as their driver.
“It was really the first year I was able to branch out,” Madsen recalls. “We concentrated on Knoxville, but probably did 60-to-70 shows, so I was able to get away and do some other tracks and had some fun.”