INDIANAPOLIS – USAC Triple Crown champion Dave Darland has been tabbed as the driver of Hans Lein’s No. 97 for Sunday’s Ted Horn 100 USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series event at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.
Darland, a recent National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee, has won many of the biggest races on USAC’s calendar, but a win at DuQuoin still eludes him. The Lincoln, Ind., driver’s DuQuoin resume features nine top-five finishes, including runner-up results in 1997, ’99 and ’08, plus a pair of pole positions in ’97 and ’99. As recently as 2014, Darland was in contention to win, leading 15 laps, before an accident sidelined him with 37 laps remaining.
Though this will be Darland’s first run in Lein’s Silver Crown car, the combination of these two goes back several years. As recently as 2013, Darland competed for Lein in six USAC National Midget events, including Indiana Midget Week and the Sue Thiel Memorial at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wis.
Lein, a past competitor as a driver and owner in the midget ranks, made his debut as a Silver Crown car owner this season with driver Tyler Courtney. Courtney will be absent at DuQuoin as he competes in this weekend’s Louie Vermiel Classic at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway, an event which features both AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars and the Light Up The World Beverages USAC Western States Midgets.
Lein’s car has made one start this year, two weeks ago at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield with Courtney at the wheel. They ran as high as fourth with 15 laps remaining before dropping out.
Darland, the winningest driver in the history of USAC National Sprint Car racing, ranks sixth on the USAC Silver Crown all-time win list with 14 and was the series champion in 1997. This season, Darland has made three starts in the series for Phillips Motorsports.
He earned KSE Racing Products Hard Charger honors by racing from 20th to seventh in the season-opening Sumar Classic at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track and earned a season-best fifth in the Bettenhausen 100 at Springfield.