BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Dave Darland took advantage of a lucky break and a tricky track to capture Bloomington Speedway’s 26th annual Sheldon Kinser Memorial on Friday.
Leading all 40 circuits, Darland was followed at the checkers by Brady Short and Jeff Bland, Jon Stanbrough and Shane Cottle.
After a 20-minute rain shower delayed the program, the track was challenging and may have been the reason for several incidents throughout the evening. Starting from the pole, Darland grabbed the lead, but slid over the top of turn two and was passed by nearly a dozen cars. But behind him, another car spun to a stop in the turn necessitating a caution, allowing Darland to reclaim the pole for the restart.
“That was real lucky,” Darland said in the pits after the victory celebration. “Hunter Schuerenberg drag raced down the front stretch and I had to get into turn one too low and got into the grease and skated across the top. I went over the top a little bit and fell back to about 10th before I got back on the track.”
Getting through the first turn cleanly on the restart, Darland’s No. 71p Phillips Motorsports/Racer’s Advantage Store DRC dominated the race in spite several caution periods. Schuerenberg dropped out on lap six with a handling problem. On a restart, Dalton Gabbard got over the right rear tire of another machine and flipped violently over the third turn. Gabbard climbed out quickly.
After working his way to second, Short’s machine began getting tight and at the same time was hampered getting past packs of lapped cars. This allowed Darland to build nearly a half-lap advantage at the halfway mark. With traffic, the margin at the finish was a couple of seconds.
“I just got slowed up a few times (in traffic) and I was hoping that someone wasn’t close enough to take advantage of that moment. I just knew that the bottom was fast and if anyone was going to pass me, they were going to have to be on the outside and that was going to be a tough pass,” Darland said.
“Winning a race at Bloomington in the Kinser name is a special moment The Kinsers are special in racing. I raced Bob Kinser for years, and I raced against Sheldon a few times back when I first got started. He was good and I wasn’t,” Darland recalled.