Darland Matches Bigelow’s USAC Record
KOKOMO, Ind. – In a rare day show due to rains delaying the Thursday portion of the Stoops Freightliner – Quality Trailer Sprint Car Smackdown III at Kokomo Speedway, Dave Darland etched his name into the history books along with Tom Bigelow atop the all-time AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car win list.
The Lincoln, Ind., veteran came out on top of a great duel between he and Justin Grant to win the 30-lap event, his fifth win of the season.
Grant got the jump from the pole, but he pushed the front end as he moved to the cushion in turn one, getting sideways and collecting C.J. Leary, who spun. Bryan Clauson had nowhere to go and stopped, as well. Grant continued on as the other two restarted from the tail.
On the second start, Grant beat Jerry Coons Jr. to turn one and stuck to the cushion as he opened up an early lead. Coons, Shane Cottle and Robert Ballou raced hard for the second spot, as Darland had no progress early from his third-row starting spot after again posting fast time.
After consecutive cautions on laps seven, eight, and nine, Grant continued to lead as Darland sliced past Cottle and Coons to take second. He whittled away at Grant’s lead, catching him with ten to go. Darland looked low in one and two once, and then tried the middle through three and four on lap 24 just as Grant bobbled on the cushion. Darland ripped through the middle and barely navigated past Grant as the two made slight contact exiting turn-four.
Just a lap later Kyle Cummins run on the high side came to an end against the turn-one concrete, bringing out the final caution. Darland led on the restart as Grant tried a new approach, going high above the cushion in turn-three and diamonding down through the middle in turn-four. He closed to the back bumper of Darland as they completed the 28th lap, and the next lap Grant had the run he wanted as they took the white flag. He dove to the bottom and slid up the track, leaving a narrow lane to the outside where Darland darted past with the lead and the win.
The 52nd win of Dave Darland’s career came at his home track aboard the Phillips Motorsports – Racer’s Advantage Store No. 71P DRC/Foxco.