Superior, Wisconsin…….Dave Darland outlasted the competition and defeated a challenging AMSOIL Speedway on Friday night for his third AMSOIL National Sprint Car win of the season and record 56th of his career, but most importantly his 100th career win across all three National divisons of the United States Auto Club. He became the fourth driver to reach that milestone, joining A.J. Foyt, Rich Vogler, and Mel Kenyon.
The initial start was called off after Justin Grant got a big jump, but as they slowed for the yellow, Kevin Thomas, Jr. rode a wheel and flipped down the backstretch, collecting Jarett Andretti. Thomas was unhurt, while Andretti restarted.
Grant took the lead on the complete restart with Chad Boespflug in tow. After two early cautions, the pack behind the lead duo began to race hard with Brady Bacon and Robert Ballou going at it for third. Behind them, C.J. Leary, Chase Stockon, and Dave Darland battled with guys starting to venture up to try the high side.
Stockon was making ground on the high side and drove by Darland while pressuring Bacon and Ballou. On lap 11, while racing for third, Bacon made contact with Ballou and spun at the exit of turn-two. He restarted at the tail of the field. That’s when it got dicey, as the lead pack started to try both lines, and they went two-by-two through turns one and two on lap eleven, with Boespflug under Grant for the lead and Ballou trying to hold off Darland for third.
Boespflug led lap twelve, but Grant came right back at him, circling him through three and four to lead lap 13 at the line. He slipped up through turn one and tried to come back down the track in turn-two just as Boespflug stuck his nose back in for the lead, and both cars flipped onto the backstretch, with Boespflug’s taking a hard impact. He emerged from the car but was taken to a local hospital for observation.
After the delay for the red flag, the race resumed, unleashing a torrid battle for the lead between new leader Ballou and seventh-starting Darland. Darland ducked under Ballou to lead lap 14, but Ballou wasn’t done. He got back to Darland and the duo went side-by-side for the lead on lap 22, with Darland holding the spot by inches at the line.
Darland stuck to the low groove and pulled away from Ballou, closing with a 2.483-second victory in the Phillips/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Trench Shoring #71P DRC/Foxco as the fog rolled over the speedway.
“It’s great to be in elite company with those guys who have 100 wins and, as always, it’s a testament to the great owners and sponsors I’ve had over the years who have given me great race cars to allow me to win races. I was glad to see Robert go to the top on that restart, and I was able to get through the bottom and knew if I could keep from making mistakes down there, he would have a tough time. He came back at us and I could see him out there, but I knew I just had to hit my marks. I startedtonight with more tear-offs than ever, I think, but luckily we got to the front fairly quick, and my team was up for the challenges tonight,” Darland said.
Ballou lengthened his point lead with the runner-up finish aboard the Blakesley Auto – Twister-X #12 Maxim/Ott.
“I knew those guys racing for the lead wasn’t gonna work, but we were able to avoid it. I think it was a little better up where I was after that, I think, but it was still pretty treacherous and it got tough to see with the dew building up on the tearoffs. That was the biggest challenge towards the end, being able to see with the tearoffs fogging up so much,” Ballou said.
Tenth-starting Stockon rounded out the podium in the Superior Tank & Trailer – Crescent Electric Supply #32 DRC/Fisher.
“We knew we had to get moving pretty quickly if we were gonna get anywhere, and luckily we caught a couple breaks to avoid crashes along the way. I thought we might be able to challenge them for the win, but after those two got out front, we had nothing for them. We had that one chance after passing Dave and Robert, but that just showed them where they needed to be. We plugged away at it tonight with a challenging track and gave ourselves a good night,” Stockon said.
Bill Balog completed an inspired drive from his 16th-starting spot to finish fourth in the Lein Acres – DRC Chassis #2 DRC/Speedway Mopar, and Leary rounded out the top-five in the Leary Construction Company – AMSOIL #30 DRC/Claxton Mopar.
AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: August 7, 2015 – Superior, Wisconsin – AMSOIL Speedway
QUALIFYING: 1. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-14.943; 2. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips/Curb-Agajanian-14.
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Stockon, 2. Ballou, 3. Grant, 4. Lehr, 5. Leary, 6. Bares, 7. S. Thomas, 8. Stevenson. 2:04.03
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Balog, 2. Windom, 3. Irwin, 4. K. Thomas, 5. Bacon, 6. Darland, 7. Seach, 8. Bell. 2:02.57
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Andretti, 2. Hines, 3. Stanbrough, 4. Boespflug, 5. Farney, 6. Rost, 7. Scanlon. 2:05.37
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Darland; 2. Bares; 3. Rost; 4. S. Thomas; 5. Caho; 6. Seach; 7. Scanlon; 8. Stevenson; 9. Bell. 3:08.25
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Dave Darland; 2. Robert Ballou; 3. Chase Stockon; 4. Bill Balog; 5. C.J. Leary; 6. Jon Stanbrough; 7. Brady Bacon; 8. Tracy Hines; 9. Joe Bares; 10. Chris Windom; 11. Aaron Farney; 12. Jarett Andretti; 13. Rob Caho, Jr.; 14. Steve Thomas; 15. Ray Seach; 16. Jim Scanlon; 17. Chad Boespflug; 18. Justin Grant; 19. Todd Lehr; 20. Steve Irwin; 21. Tony Rost; 22. Kevin Thomas, Jr. NT
Pellersels & Stevenson flipped during practice. Schriever flipped during qualifying. K. Thomas flipped at the start of the feature. Boespflug and Grant flipped on lap 13 of the feature. Boespflug was transported to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, Minnesota for further evaluation.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-11 Grant, Lap 12 Boespflug, Lap 13 Ballou, Laps 14-30 Darland.
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