SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Dave Darland will drive the Baldwin Brothers Racing No. 5 for the season-opening USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series events on Feb. 11-13 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla.
Darland won at Ocala during Winter Dirt Games in Feb. of 2015, one of the 1999 series champion’s record 62 victories with the series, which also includes 781 starts, 275 top-fives, 482 top-tens and 62 career fast qualifying times.
Meanwhile, Baldwin has yet to score a victory as a car owner at Ocala. His cars have come oh-so-close to victory on multiple occasions at the three-eighths-mile D-shaped dirt track, most notably with Robert Ballou in 2013 and Justin Grant in 2016, where both drivers led the white flag lap.
Baldwin earned the 2017 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car entrant title with Chris Windom as the team’s driver. Darland, of Lincoln, Ind., is excited and hopeful for success at Ocala, and possibly more down the road.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Darland said. “He’s got great equipment, brand new stuff basically. Hopefully, we’ll run decent down there for the three nights and end up decent in the points and consider trying to do more.”
Wayne Simmons will serve as the team’s crew chief for the Florida trip. But without a full-time mechanic for the entire USAC season, the search has been ongoing for the team to put a full-time deal together. For now, Florida is a 100 percent go for Darland and Baldwin, who have teamed up just once before in a non-USAC sanctioned show.
“Just one little time down at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway a couple years ago with Derek Claxton as the mechanic,” Darland recalled. “It didn’t go great, but the car certainly has great potential.”
While Darland is hopeful to run more frequently with Baldwin, additionally, he will have the availability of his own to run several of the races that he wants to on the USAC schedule and locally in the Midwest. He’s taken last year’s car apart, sold the frame and has all the pieces left, with a new one on the way.
“I’m getting ready to buy another car,” Darland revealed. “I sold my car as just a frame or a kit and I’m getting ready to buy another one here pretty soon. I’m going to have a great race car ready to use. I might even put somebody else in the race car on occasion depending on what I’m doing with somebody else.”