Ocala, Florida…….Dave Darland added to the most impressive streak in USAC history on Sunday night at Bubba Raceway Park, as he added another AMSOIL National Sprint Car win to his list and made it 23 consecutive seasons with at least one win in a USAC National series. The Lincoln, Indiana veteran’s all-time record 54th National Sprint Car win came in flag-to-flag fashion aboard the Phillips Motorsports – Trench Shoring #71P DRC/Foxco.
“My crew had to work their asses off just to get the car ready for the feature after some issues in the heat race and then gave me a great car even without having much chance to keep up with the track. We have just had some bad luck out of the gate, but tonight was a great way to rebound. It’s good to be down here while it’s snowing at home, and I can drink a beer to celebrate while it’s warm outside. And it’s good to get my first win in the state of Florida!” Darland said.
Darland led at the start over polesitter Chris Windom, while Robert Ballou was the early man on the move, jumping into the top-five in just a few laps after starting tenth. A red flag on lap six brought things to a screeching halt as Brady Short flipped hard into turn three and collected Landon Simon. Neither driver was hurt.
After a tangle on the ensuing restart, Ballou found himself bringing out the next caution as he slid to a stop in turn-three, giving up the fifth spot but restarting at the tail. Under that caution, defending champion and current point leader Brady Bacon pulled to the infield. He started the night as the ProSource “Fast Time” winner, but registered a DNF in the feature.
From there, the race went green and, despite losing brakes on lap-five, Darland was able to pull away from the field. He encountered very little lapped traffic, but handled it with ease en route to a 2.482-second victory over Windom, who found the podium for the second night in a row aboard the Lein Acres – Mid-State Equipment #2 DRC/Speedway Mopar.
“You always want to win, but I can’t be much happier with the weekend we put together. To get two podium finishes with a brand new deal and guys new to sprint car racing – I’m just fortunate Hans (Lein) gave me a ride down here. I had to get in below the hole in one, but I dropped down a little in three and four which seemed to help. Dave was just too far out at that point,” Windom said.
Jon Stanbrough also planted his brand new operation on the podium to end the weekend, as well, as he ran third in the MP Environmental Services – AED Motorsports Products #81 Spike/J&D.
“To come out of here with two top-fives with a brand new team is pretty good, and we have things going in the right direction. It’s nice to have all the people supporting us, and commenting about how much they like the car, even. We have a good group of people working on this and supporting us. Daryl (Tate) is really easy to work with for me, and hopefully we can keep improving and knock some wins down. It’s been a lot of work in a very short amount of time to get this together, and it’s been stressful to get it all together and there’s still much more to do when we get home, but I’m very grateful for all the support,” Stanbrough said.
Kevin Thomas, Jr. found himself back in the top-five on Saturday night aboard the Bakken Concrete – Griffin’s Propane #17RW Maxim/Fisher, and new point leader Chase Stockon rounded out the top-five in the Superior Tank & Trailer – Crescent Electric Supply #32 DRC/Fisher.
C.J. Leary earned the ProSource “Hard Charger Award” after driving from 17th to finish seventh.
AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: February 21, 2015 – Ocala, Florida – Bubba Raceway Park – “Winter Dirt Games VI”
QUALIFYING: 1. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-14.088; 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher-14.206; 3. Justin Grant, 40, Hery-14.209; 4. Jon Stanbrough, 81, JSR-14.256; 5. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips-14.313; 6. Chris Windom, 2, Lein-14.342; 7. Casey Shuman, 2x, Barnhill/Dodd-14.368; 8. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-14.384; 9. Tracy Hines, 4, THR-14.397; 10. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-14.458; 11. Kyle Cummins, 21x, Pollock-14.477; 12. Shane Cockrum, 66, Wade-14.485; 13. Kyle Robbins, 17R, Robbins-14.496; 14. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-14.532; 15. Carson Short, 21, Short-14.595; 16. Brady Short, 11P, Pottorff-14.606; 17. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-14.632; 18. Landon Simon, 24, LSR-14.673; 19. Aaron Farney, 15F, Farney-14.726; 20. Chad Boespflug, 5, Baldwin-14.765; 21. Isaac Chapple, 7G, Goacher-14.778; 22. Chris Gurley, 11, Walker-14.839; 23. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-14.904; 24. Brandon Spithaler, 57B, Burkey-14.933; 25. Bret Mellenberndt, 97, Mellenberndt-15.258; 26. Logan Jarrett, 29, Jarrett-15.618; 27. Kent Wolters, 12x, Wolters-15.961; 28. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-16.135; 29. Bryan Clauson, 41, SST-NT.
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Darland, 2. Bacon, 3. Hines, 4. Robbins, 5. Leary, 6. Mellenberndt, 7. Chapple. 2:01.19
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Thomas, 3. Windom, 4. Gurley, 5. Andretti, 6. Jarrett, 7. Simon. NT
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Cummins, 2. C. Short, 3. Grant, 4. Farney, 5. Shuman, 6. Swanson, 7. Wolters. 2:02.91
FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. B. Short, 2. Stockon, 3. Boespflug, 4. Stanbrough, 5. Cockrum, 6. Bell, 7. Spithaler. NT
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Cockrum, 2. Shuman, 3. Leary, 4. Andretti, 5. Simon, 6. Swanson, 7. Jarrett, 8. Chapple, 9. Mellenberndt, 10. Wolters, 11. Bell. 3:06.20
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Dave Darland, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Jon Stanbrough, 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 5. Chase Stockon, 6. Justin Grant, 7. C.J. Leary, 8. Tracy Hines, 9. Jarett Andretti, 10. Kyle Robbins, 11. Robert Ballou, 12. Carson Short, 13. Chad Boespflug, 14. Kyle Cummins, 15. Aaron Farney, 16. Kody Swanson, 17. Casey Shuman, 18. Chris Gurley, 19. Shane Cockrum, 20. Brady Bacon, 21. Brady Short, 22. Landon Simon, 23. Logan Jarrett.
**Brady Short & Landon Simon flipped on Lap 6 of the Feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Darland.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Stockon-187; 2-Windom-162; 3-Bacon-160; 4-Ballou-158; 5-Thomas-156; 6-Stanbrough-150; 7-Grant-146; 8-Darland-136; 9-Boespflug-119; 10-Leary-116.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: February 26 – Gibsonton, Florida – East Bay Raceway Park – “Winter Dirt Games VI”