This is part two of a special Q&A with veteran USAC star Dave Darland, which appeared in the July issue of Sprint Car & Midget Magazine. The full version can be viewed at www.sprintcarandmidget.com and requires either a print subscription to Sprint Car & Midget Magazine or online subscription to www.sprintcarandmidget.com to read.
SC&M: Well, the follow-up of that question would be what your thoughts are that NASCAR turned into a series where teams focused so much on looking for 17- or 18-year-old kids and turning their backs on older drivers? As you said, you could still win midget races, but you likely could have also adapted to a stock car or Indy car at that age and won races as well. Not everyone that’s a fan of NASCAR is 18, and I’m sure a lot of racing fans would have liked to have seen what you could have done in NASCAR.
DARLAND: Well, I understand it, but it seemed to switch right at the wrong time for me. When I was 17 or 20 years old, they wanted the older, more experienced guys, guys with experience that took care of things. But then it switched around to where when I was an experienced 30-year-old then they wanted the kids, the young talent. Maybe some of them had a little backing to help the team too, so I was just on the opposite side of the list of qualifications.
My personality…I’m a sprint car driver. That’s what I like to do; it’s what I was cut out to do. That’s what I’m gonna do for the rest of my life, it looks like. So, I certainly enjoy driving sprint cars. I’m not sure whether I would have been the right mold or the right guy to be a NASCAR or Indy car driver. It would have been fun, I think. It would have been a good experience to be able to go on to some sort of bigger series or bigger and better things maybe, but I got an opportunity to drive both of those cars at some point, but I don’t know, I’m a sprint car driver and that’s what I’m gonna be.
SC&M: But, being a lifelong Indiana open-wheel racer, driving the Indy 500 had to have been on your bucket list.
DARLAND: Yeah, I certainly would have liked to have done the Indy 500 or, like some of the guys did, just do a little short spurt of something like that. I would have liked to have drove the Indy 500 a time or two, or 10 maybe, but as far as being a fulltime Indy car driver, I had no desire to want to try to do that. To drive some races, though, I certainly would have enjoyed.