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April 24, 2014

BOWMAN: Gas City gearing up for USAC sprints

Heading into the new season at the Gas City I-69 Speedway, there were more questions than answers among fans as to how things were going to be run.

After Friday’s season opener, it would seem that a lot of that preseason apprehension can be laid to rest.

In the early going the track was on the dry, slick side, a condition that wasn’t helped by the warm temperatures and steady winds. However, following all the heat races, new promoter Mel Botkin and his staff went to work on the racing surface and what ensued was one of the more entertaining sprint car features the track has seen in some time.

Eventual winner Shane Cottle found himself mired outside the seventh row at the drop of the green before working his way to the front. Same thing for Dave Darland, who started 18th en route to a fourth-place showing.

All in all, it was a very entertaining evening. Ervin Turner took the Thunder Car feature over Kokomo’s Kaleb Nutter, who carried his left front wheel in the air throughout the main event. In the Modified feature Derek Losh worked his way to the front in posting the win while Chet Gerke scored the win in the Midget A-main.

Friday night promises to be even better as the USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series rolls onto the track with all of the series’ “Stars and Cars.”

Darland moved a step closer to notching his name into the USAC record books by winning the Don Branson/Jud Larson Classic on Saturday night at the famed Eldora Speedway.

After swapping the lead back and forth with Chase Stockon the opening 12 laps, Darland finally got his Phillips Motorsports No. 71P out front for good in posting the 30-lap win. Stockon was second and Tracy Hines third. Jerry Coons piloted the Edison Motorsports No. 10E to a strong fourth-place run while Brady Bacon rounded out the top five. Wes McIntyre, the 2013 Kokomo track champion, was 18th while Kokomo’s Logan Jarrett took 21st.

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