PERRIS, Calif. – Indiana racing star Dave Darland, who earlier this month scored the win in the 18th Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals Presented by All Coast Construction at Perris Auto Speedway, is headed back to the Riverside County clay oval for the running of the 73rd Annual Turkey Night Grand Prix on Thanksgiving night.
For the Honda USAC Midget show, Darland will be part of three driver team fielded by Josh Ford Motorsports.
By posting the win at the Oval Nationals on November 2nd, Darland became on the second driver (Bud Kaeding is the other) to have won the race three times. In addition to his win in 2013, he also won the event back to back in 2005 and 2006. One of the few drivers to have won all three of USAC’s open wheel division championships (1997 Silver Crown, 1999 Sprint Car and 2001 & 2002 Midget), Darland also won the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Irwindale in 1997.
“Anytime Dave Darland is on the racetrack, he is a potential winner,” Perris promoter Don Kazarian said. “He is one of the greatest open wheel drivers of all time and on top of that, he is one of the nicest guys in all of racing. A true winner and a class act all the way.”
Darland will be driving the No. 73 Spike/Fontana tuned by Jimmy May. His teammates for the weekend will be Wooster, Ohio’s Jac Haudenschild and Kevin Thomas Jr. of Colman, Alabama. Haudenschild, 55, is affectionately known as the “Wild Child” and has been racing and winning races across the country since 1974. Thomas, 22, tied champion Bryan Clauson and Darland for the most wins in the USAC National Sprint Car Series with 7 in 2013.
“That is a very strong, very talented team,” Kazarian said. “You have two of the all-time winningest veterans in sprint car racing teaming up with one of the young, rising stars in the sport. They will be a force to be reckoned with on Thanksgiving.”
Haudenschild has strong ties to Southern California. His wife, Patty, is the daughter of racer Max Sweeney who passed away from injuries sustained in a Midget crash at Ascot in 1979. His brother law Mike Sweeney was a popular driver who won 33 sprint car main events in the original California Racing Association (CRA).