PUTNAMVILLE, Ind. — Dave Darland led flag to flag in Thursday’s 30-lap Indiana Midget Week kickoff at Lincoln Park Speedway, surviving a marathon night that ended with 30 consecutive laps of Honda National Midget Series action.
After original front-row starter Tanner Thorson spun aon the original start, Darland moved to the front row and got the jump on polesitter Steve Buckwalter. Darland protected the bottom, as Tracy Hines came along and Buckwalter tried to hold off ProSource “Fast Qualifier” Rico Abreu.
As they entered traffic, Abreu ran down the top two and worked to the outside of Hines for second, relentlessly running the tricky cushion. Abreu briefly held second on multiple occasions and nearly nipped Darland for the lead, but struggled with the cushion off turn-four, continually tossing the front-end and losing his momentum.
In the final laps, Abreu dropped to third as Hines had a shot at Darland on the final circuit, but Darland was mistake-free and took the win in Driven Racing Oil – CML RW Security No. 17 Beast/Fontana.
“I never did see anybody, but I could hear somebody back there even with my bad hearing, so I knew they had to be pretty dang close. Running the cushion was pretty treacherous, so I didn’t think guys would be able to put very many laps together up there. I tried to limit mistakes and force them to do it the hard way and hit the cushion to perfection,” Darland said.
Hines held on for second in the Parker Machinery – Turbines, Inc. No. 24 Spike/Stanton Toyota.
“Track position was key with as heavy as it was. I was able to run a little bit lower into one, and once he saw me, he moved down a little bit and got better. I thought seeing Rico may make him move, but I figured he knew they’d mess up more on the top than he would. It was just so good down low, it was tough to ever get a run on him even at the end,” Hines said.