It’s not all about going in circles for those who love motorsports in Maine.
For some, launching hard down an 1/8-mile or 1000-foot drag strip is what gets the adrenaline flowing. When veteran drag racer Jamie Madison climbs into his car, he has the same burning desire to win that powers oval racers.
“I’ve been doing this since 2003, and I think my love of being competitive is stronger than ever,” Madison said. “Once you’ve had a taste of success, you want more. Success on the race track is addictive.”
Madison, 43, has enjoyed his share of success in a 15-year career on the dragway. He’s a three-time champion (2009, 2012, 2015) in the Street Eliminator class at Oxford, with 60 wins to his credit.
He also won a pair of prestigious IHRA Ironman trophies in 2010 (Quick Rod & Street) and has won finals at three different tracks.
“I’m pretty proud of my two Ironman trophies,” Madison said. “They’re extremely hard to earn given the level of competition within the International Hot Rod Association.
“The only trophy harder to get in our sport is the Wally, the one given to all Final round winners at NHRA National events. I’d love to own one some day.”
The longtime barber by day and resident of Auburn is enjoying a strong start to his 2018 season. He’s won three consecutive finals and led the point standings through late June into early July.
“I’ve been a little lucky so far, but I’ve also tried to eliminate distractions on race nights. It’s worked out pretty well so far. It feels good to be winning finals again,” he said.
Madison also drives an 800-horsepower Dragster in the Super Comp class at select NHRA regional and national events. He made a respectable showing in last weekend’s New England Nationals in Epping, N.H., losing by a mere .005 seconds in the third round of a six-round race loaded with 56 entries.
“Considering I haven’t run that car in almost a year and I was up against the best drivers in the country who run every event, I’d say the guy from quaint little Canton, Maine, did pretty well,” Madison said.
His career began when several family members pitched in to purchase the Ford Mustang that Madison drives to this day at Oxford. In the years since, he bought out the co-owners and now owns the car by himself.
“That’s how I got started in this deal, my family helped me get this Mustang and it has treated me well since I brought it home,” he said. “I’ve always tried to show folks you can win drag races without modifications. I love doing well in the Street class.”
Cory Prindall is another local drag racer who knows what it takes to be successful on-track. He has competed alongside Madison at a number of events and speaks highly of his central Maine colleague.
“Jamie is one of the best all-around guys I know,” Prindall said. “He’s a very dedicated racer, a great sportsman and a focused driver. Whether going 16 seconds in his Mustang in the 1/4 mile or jumping in his 7-second dragster, he is always a fierce competitor but also a gentleman.”
On the local short track oval scene, car counts are always a concern for track promoters. Those numbers are down in a lot of places around the northeast, yet at Oxford Dragway, fresh faces and new cars fill the pit area.
“We’ve seen a renewed interest at the dragway this year,” Madison said. “It’s really encouraging, because not only are we seeing new faces and different cars, we’re seeing some guys and cars that used to race years ago and they’ve dug them out.
“Part of it is having an NHRA National event here in New England. That gets people revved up about our sport again. We needed a little rejuvenation, and we’re seeing one now. It’s great for our sport.”
Madison says manager Jeff Shock and his staff at Oxford Plains Dragway do a nice job of keeping the place on people’s mind all season long. Events run smoothly, with races flowing as they should on Friday nights.
“Jeff does a lot of promotional during the week,” Madison said. “He works social media heavily, which is so critical today. The track is well cared for and our races are run as they should be run. I just love the place.”
With a hobby that demands considerable time and effort to be successful, Madison has several folks working behind the scenes to keep it all together.
“I’m lucky to have such amazing support from my family in this hobby,” he said. “With my dragster program, my stepfather, Doug Marsters, and my mother, Paula Marsters, own the car. My brother Doug Marsters and sister Miranda Marsters are my teammates, and also serve as crew members.”
With two race cars to maintain, Madison is lucky to have a big family and good sponsors in his corner.
“With my Street class effort at Oxford, I have to thank my father, David, and fiancee, Nicole Dionne, for they do for me. I couldn’t do this without them and my entire family,” Madison said. “I’m also blessed to have Marsters Trucking, John Morrison at Weatherize Northeast and Jim Delamater supporting my efforts.”
As the summer starts to wane and points races become numbered, Madison will continue to wheel his trusty old Mustang down the 1/8-mile with a solitary goal on his mind.
“I’d really love to secure another championship,” Madison said. “We got off to such a strong start this year, I want to see it through and notch that fourth title. It would be satisfying if we can pull it off.”
Jamie Madison launches off the line at Oxford Plains Dragway earlier this season. Madison has won three consecutive Final rounds in the Street class and now leads the championship point standings.