WEST BURLINGTON, Iowa — After picking up a huge win in last week’s “Sprint Car Smackdown II,” Dave Darland kept the momentum rolling as he set a track record at 34 Raceway and ended the evening in victory lane.
It was Darland’s fifth victory of the season, now tying him for third all-time with Larry Dickson and Tracy Hines.
Brady Bacon wound up on the pole for the 30-lapper and was the man to beat, immediately jumping to the lead and stretching out a huge lead over the rest of the field. Darland battled his way to the front of a vicious pack racing for second, slipping past Chris Windom and Kevin Thomas, Jr.
The race took a major turn as leader Bacon stopped with a broken rear-axle in turn-two on lap 14. His lead had been 6.853 seconds over Darland on the last completed lap. Bacon was okay, and Darland was handed the lead.
The Lincoln, Indiana was never seriously threatened from there. A caution with ten to go put Windom on his tailtank, and the two remained close for a couple laps before Darland found his rhythm on the cushion and gradually pulled to a 1.641-second win in the Phillips Motorsports – Racer’s Advantage No. 71p DRC/Foxco. The win puts him just one behind Jack Hewitt for second on the all-time Sprint Car win list.
“All those guys up there on the list are great, but we’ve all gotten to be on some pretty great teams along the way. I have to thank the Phillipses and our group for the hard work and giving me a great race car. We really work well together. It was pretty heavy tonight, so we were busy pulling tear-offs in traffic. Luckily, it was racey and we were able to get up through there. One behind Jack (Hewitt) — he’s a great race car driver and a great guy; you just don’t ever want to piss him off,” Darland said.
Windom was strong, finishing second after starting seventh in the Jeff’s Jam-It-In Storage – Hoosier Tire No. 11 Maxim/Claxton.
“He’s just too hard to beat up there like it was tonight. I could keep with him through three and four, but he was getting off two so well. It seemed like I couldn’t catch a good break to get to second, but once we did, we were really good,” Windom said.
Bryan Clauson was quiet in the Feature, running in the top-five before jumping to third in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevy Performance No. 20 Beast/Kistler.
“Had anybody else won, it would have been a good night for us in the championship. We were decent all night, just needed to be better to run with Dave, obviously. We couldn’t get free of guys early and get the bottom working, and by the time we got in a rhythm, he was long gone,” Clauson said.