DARLAND 1ST “SUMAR CLASSIC” ENTRY AT TERRE HAUTE
Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind., who seems to set new all-time USAC records nearly every time he sits behind the wheel, is the first driver listed on an entry for the 2014 USAC Silver Crown Series opening “Sumer Classic” at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track April 6.
Darland could become the first driver to win at least one USAC National feature victory in 22 consecutive seasons. Earlier this year he became the first USAC driver to win at least one race in 22 consecutive years with his West Coast/Southwest Sprint wins at Peoria, Ariz.
His February 20 appearance in the “Winter Dirt Games” AMSOIL USAC Sprint race at Ocala, Fla. was his 1,000th National start, which established another first.
Darland will pilot the Marc Longworth MTR-Martco/Longworth Enterprises entry in the race which marks the 14th appearance for Silver Crown cars at the half-mile dirt oval. The first saw Gary Bettenhausen win a 100-lapper in 1980, then the Sumar tradition began in 1995. Rain has forced cancellation three times since 2007 and no race was held in 2009.
“I’m really looking forward to Terre Haute,” says Darland, whose 14 career Silver Crown wins rank fifth on the all-time list. “The track has a long history and makes for great racing, between the cushion and the bottom groove and it’s one of my favorites. My new car owner Marc Longworth, doesn’t have a long history but he has some good people who have been around this series for a while with some success. Last year, Matt Westfall finished second at Eldora and Justin Grant was sixth in the Hoosier Hundred in the car, so I’m pumped about 2014.”
Darland remains the only driver to win all three of the Terre Haute USAC “classics:” the Sumar Classic Silver Crown race, the Tony Hulman Classic Sprint race and the Hut Hundred Midget race (which has since moved to Granite City, Ill.).
The April 6 race will be a 100-lap contest and Darland will be the most recent “active” winner. He won in 2008, while Levi Jones, who won in 2010, will not compete.
Former race winners include Donnie Beechler (1995 and 1997), Kevin Thomas (1996), Tony Elliott (1998 and 2002), Jack Hewitt (1999), J.J. Yeley (2003). Brian Tyler (2004), Josh Wise (2005) and Bud Kaeding (2006).
The race opens an ambitious 11-race calendar featuring seven races on dirt and four on pavement, concluding with the October 11 return to the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. In between, races will occur in Indianapolis, Ind., Madison, Ill., Millington, Tenn., Belleville, Kans., Springfield, Ill., DuQuoin, Ill. and Rossburg, Ohio.