Darland Gets 49th USAC Sprint Car Victory
EAGLE, Neb. — For the 49th time in his illustrious career, Dave Darland drove his way to AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory lane in Friday’s “Rumble in the Bullring” at Eagle Raceway.
Darland became the first repeat winner of the season.
Bret Mellenberndt got the jump from outside the front-row, but polesitter Bryan Clauson snuck under him to lead the opening lap. The show early on, however, was Justin Grant, who started seventh but immediately jumped up above the cushion and made his way to the front. After rocketing off turn-two on lap five, he rode the cushion to the lead at the line.
After a short red flag for Cody Brewer, a lap-14 restart gave Darland the opportunity he needed to attack Grant. After getting a good run down the fronstretch, Darland dove down underneath Grant into turn-one and came away with the lead.
Grant did not give up, as he ran Darland back down with just a few laps remaining but bobbled on the turn-three cushion, allowing Darland to gain some breathing room and cruise to the win in the Phillips Motorsports – Racer’s Advantage Store No. 71p DRC/Foxco.
“Justin was really sailing around the top, but it was pretty choppy especially into one. I was just waiting to take advantage of that if I could. We finally got that restart and I had such a good run, I was able to slide him into there. It worked out that we got that opportunity and could get by him and to the lead when we did,” Darland said.
Grant repelled late challenges of Brady Bacon to retain the second spot in the Mark Hery Racing – Dick’s Paint & Body No. 40 DRC/Claxton.
“I really like this track, but not the result. (Car owner) Mark (Hery) and I talked and thought it looked like Kokomo on the nights we would go up above the cushion. We freed it up a lot and tried to do something spectacular. It was working for a while. I should have slid myself on that restart, especially with Dave behind me, but I hadn’t even gone anywhere but the top through that end. Dave is good and snuck under us. I got my rhythm back late and we were a little better, but there wasn’t much of anywhere to go,” Grant said.
Bacon was another one on the move in the feature, climbing from 10th to a podium finish in the Hoffman Auto Racing – Mean Green No. 69 Triple X/Stanton Mopar.
Fast-qualifier Tracy Hines finished fourth with Clauson fifth.