Kevin Darling has been a long time competitor on the Rislone URC Sprint Series tour, traveling to many if not all the tracks on the URC schedule.
Darling started go-kart racing at the young age of eight and in 1993 he helped as a crew member on the Jimmy Martin No. 7 URC sprint car. The following year he had the opportunity to drive one of the Martin back-up cars at a URC event. He loved it and wanted to go further. In 1994, Darling won his first URC heat race and also experienced his first flip after a tangle with another competitor while racing with URC in Canada.
He prepared his own URC sprint car in 1995, competing on and off as he was on a very limited budget.
“My best race back in the day was probably at Rolling Wheels where I won the heat race, the Cash Dash and finished second in the feature event. It was an awesome night for our team,” Darling said. “I remember there being so many cars that day that Greg Coverdale had to start in the back of the E Main after wrecking in his heat.”
For a short period time, Darling ran a limited sprint at the Bridgeport Speedway and won the championship there in 2007.
“In 2008 I came back to URC and used a Lou Eckrich motor for many of the races,” said Darling. “2011 was when we started getting serious about URC racing. In 2012 we took it up a notch with the addition of Andy Anderson, Dave Parker and Kevin Scott as part of our team.”
That was also the year Darling earned the nickname “The Sheriff” as a result of his sudden hold on URC. He was a contender on almost every race night and he did it with style, usually racing high and wide and right up on the outside wall.
“We finished every feature and ended up winning my first URC feature at the Big Diamond Raceway, also ending the season fourth in points,” said Darling.
In 2013, Kevin Darling and his Ken Darling & Sons Inc. sprint car won a feature at the New Egypt (N.J.) Speedway, this win being the first victory for crew chief Dave Parker. Darling was again a threat during the season, but ran a limited schedule because of the work demands of the family business, which is now 45 years old.
Darling is putting a lot of focus on the 2014 season with the hopes of contending for his first championship.
“We will have an HG Racing Engine which will give us some additional horsepower, which in my opinion, is the only thing we’ve been lacking at the track in the past,” said Darling.
The plan is for the No. 9D sprint car to run the full URC season but, as always, the business needs will have to come first.
“To win a championship, you need to run every race. You need to first finish races, then you need to try to be a consistent top five car,” Darling said. “If you can do that, the wins will come and eventually, so will a championship, but let’s remember, URC drivers are tough.
“With URC, there are no easy nights, as you have to work hard for every position. We concentrate on being strong at the end, the last lap is the only one that counts,” said Darling.
Kevin has just two DNF’s in the last two years with URC and neither were from mechanical issues.
“I credit that totally to the crew and all their hard work maintaining and preparing the car,” Darling said.
With the change in URC’s handicapping procedure in the coming year, Darling feels this will work to his advantage.
“The luck of the draw handicapping should attract a few more cars. Never-the-less, it’s gonna be tough to win races when you’re competing against drivers like Andy Best, Robbie Stillwaggon, Chad Trout, Art Liedl and Randy West,” Darling said. “These guys are tough on the track but will help you out in the pits any way they can. I guess that’s the biggest difference racing with URC, everybody tries to get along, although there is still an occasional disagreement in the pits, but let’s face it, it’s racing, fueled by adrenaline.”