July 13th, 2008

USAC Sprint Car A-Main
1. Dave Darland
2. Cole Whitt
3. Tracy Hines
4. Levi Jones
5. Darren Hagen
6. Jerry Coons Jr.
7. Brady Bacon
8. Bryan Clauson
9. Damion Gardner
10. Dustin Morgan
11. Scotty Weir
12. Jeff Bland Jr.
13. Robert Ballou
14. Jon Stanbrough
15. Brett Burdette
16. Chad Boespflug
17. Shane Cottle
18. Chris Windom
19. Casey Shuman
20. Dickie Gaines
21. Thomas Meseraull
22. Ryan Pace
23. Henry Clarke
24. Hunter Scheurenberg
25. Brad Sweet

USAC Sprint Car Semi
1. Tracy Hines
2. Clauson
3. Coons
4. Bland
5. Hagen
6. Ballou
7. Bacon
8. Hockett
9. Clayton
10. Boat
11. Pace
12. Mellenberndt
13. Anderson
14. Dennis
15. Kruseman
16. Imel
17. Robbins
18. Clarke
19. Martini
20. Shepherd
21. Wissmiller
22. Ted Hines
23. Mero

Street Stock A-Main
1. 9 Glen Gamblin
2. 48 Arnie Prater
3. 14 Bill Lewis
4. 8 David Hurst
5. 18m Andre Missig
6. 2old Bob Jarrett
7. 9w Chris Welch
8. 17c Randy Charles
9. 18k Kevin Kemp
10. 35 James Headley
11. 56 Thurman Wines
12. 19 Josh Gamblin
13. 78 Charlie Walden
14. 9x Corey Johnson
15. 11 Ryan Hines
16. 31 James Ahrendt
DNS 68 Doug Johnson
DNS 17 Tristan Ramseyer

Thunder Car A-Main
1. 56 Tony Bowman
2. 7d Allen Davis
3. 215 Gerald Armfield
4. 99 Josh Owens
5. 75 Marvin Uitts
6. 2h Tim Huffman
7. 72 Brandon Sampson
8. 48 Travis Wolford
9. 5j Jim Summitt
10. 83 Ray Molder
11. 92 Scott Apple
12. 0 Chris Clark
13. 80 Joe Brown
14. 92z Chanteal Zimmerman
15. L215 Paul Whittaker
16. 28 Robert Howard
17. 00 Nathan Huffman
18. 19 Rick Paul
19. 33 Jeff Shaw
DNS 12c Steve Clark

Dave wins Bob Darland Memorial

By Derek Fisher

55 cars. Standing room only. Perfect weather. A lightning-fast racing surface. Four epic heat races. And drama. Lots and lots of drama.

It was an instant classic.

Kokomo veteran Dave Darland, with a career full of big wins, had never won the race bearing his late father’s name. He’d come the closest last season, leading until a bobble on the last lap handed the victory to an opportunistic Jon Stanbrough. Last night the roles were reversed in what had to be, in anyone’s estimation, one of the greatest nights of racing in Kokomo Speedway’s glorious 61-year life.

Darland used a last-corner pass of Robert Ballou to capture the 30-lap Lucas Oil USAC National Sprint Car Bob Darland Memorial on Sunday night, taking over the Indiana Sprintweek points lead in the process. But there was so much more to the story.

Early on in the main event, it looked as though Stanbrough would be laying claim to yet another — he entered the event with four — Darland Memorial trophy. After the initial start was called back when fast qualifier Brad Sweet (12.937 seconds) tumbled hard out of the fourth turn, third-place starter Stanbrough made quick work of the front row. Sliding under Jeff Bland and Jerry Coons in turn two to lead the opening circuit, Stanbrough set sail on the high side and appeared to be untouchable.

Behind him, Darland and Ballou were on the move. Starting side by side in row four, the duo were already second and third, respectively, by lap three. As Darland searched for grip in the low groove, Ballou was upstairs — no, in the attic — and gaining momentum quickly. By lap seven Ballou had pulled even with Darland at the line, and the Rocklin, California driver was able to complete the pass the next time around.

As the leaders worked through the first hints of lapped traffic at the 10-lap mark, Stanbrough showed no real signs of slowing as he diced high and low to maintain his 12 car length advantage over Ballou. Ballou was equal to the task however, and managed to circle most of the backmarkers on the high side to remain within shouting distance of the leader. Darland held onto third through the traffic but was beginning to hear noise from Cole Whitt, up to fourth place from tenth.

When the field slowed under caution for Brett Burdette’s lap 18 spin in turn one, Stanbrough’s sizeable lead was erased completely, save for the lapped car of Shane Cottle separating him from Ballou. When the green flew again, Ballou quickly cooked Cottle and began his charge for the lead. Gaining on Stanbrough on every lap by driving his machine deeper and deeper into the thin cushion in turn one, Ballou looked poised to overtake the 2006 Kokomo champion with just six laps remaining. But instead of seeing Ballou take a shot at the lead, the capacity crowd watched the MPHG machine begin to slow with a badly vibrating, mud-packed right rear wheel.

As Ballou fell further and further into the clutches of third-place Darland, it looked as though Stanbrough would not be challenged again on his way to victory lane. In fact it looked that way until just after Stanbrough took the white flag, indicating just one more lap remained. It was at that point that Burdette executed his second spin of the evening; this one, unfortunately for fans of Stanbrough, was directly in front of the leader. With nowhere to go Stanbrough crashed into Burdette and turned over in the process, ending his night and handing the lead to Ballou.

If that wasn’t enough, there was more excitement remaining. Reverting to the last completed lap, the field flashed under the restart green with two laps remaining and a still-shaking Ballou doing all he could to hold off a hungry Darland. After pulling even with Ballou on lap 29’s backstretch, Darland nearly made the pass stick coming off turn four to take the white flag. As Whitt stalked just two car lengths behind, Darland used basically the same move going into turn three the next time around, nosed under the leader at the head of the frontstretch and looked as if he’d beat Ballou to the line by a car length at best.

While Darland did reach the finish line first, Ballou never did reach it. In a last-ditch effort for the win, the 19-year-old pilot tagged the outside wall and launched into a series of flips that sent him into the crash fence just shy of the flagstand. Whitt was able to avoid Ballou’s flipping car as it rebounded into the racing line and claimed second, and New Castle’s Tracy Hines was able to sneak through the carnage as well to pick up third. Hines’ teammate Levi Jones was not so lucky. He tagged Ballou’s upside down racer with his right rear tire and proceeded to flip end-over-end across the line, garnering fourth place in the air. Darren Hagen crossed just after Jones in fifth.

Darland was jubilant in victory lane afterwards. “This is great,” he said. “I figured Ballou would go to the top, he does a great job up high. I know that he packed his wheel up there though, and that maybe cost him the win.” When asked how winning his father’s race felt, Darland responded “This is definitely for dad. Stanbrough has about 100 of these trophies, and it looked like he was going to have another tonight. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Stanbrough was less than pleased after the race. “I am really [ticked] off, to tell you the truth,” the mild-mannered Avon driver said. “That was the second time the 17 car [Burdette] spun down there, and he let the car back up the race track right in front of us. I guess that’s just part of it.”

Coons, Brady Bacon, Bryan Clauson, Damion Gardner and Dustin Morgan rounded out the top 10. Ballou and Stanbrough were credited with 13th and 14th, respectively.