Sitting here with my laptop thinking back to the just completed second running of the Sprint Car Smackdown, I felt the need to put some of my thoughts and observations on the event in print since, like a little kid the day after Christmas, I'm fighting the post-race blues.
First, it was so cool to see two of the oldest drivers competing, Dave Darland and Shane Cottle, put on a show. For Darland, he claimed his 48th and 49th career non-wing sprint car feature wins at his home track in the biggest event of the year, surpassing Tony Elliott for the most all-time. In addition, he set a new USAC track record en route to advancing up the all-time USAC Sprint Car Series feature wins. Darland now has 44 feature wins to his credit in the series, just six behind the great Tom Bigelow and two behind Jack Hewitt.
On Friday night the run Cottle put on in the B-main was simply worth the price of admission. The humble Kokomo driver started last in the 22-car race and managed to not only win the 12-lap last chance race, but simply dominate it. He then went out in the feature that night and secured a top-five run. Over the course of three days, he passed more than 50 cars, which is a testament to his ability. In Saturday's finale he again put on a show with a spirited run to finish second to Darland.
Both of those drivers are arguably the most humble of any two men that one would be fortunate enough to have the pleasure to know. Talking with fellow announcer Rob Goodman from the infield during the 40-lap main event, we both commented on how it would be tough not to see either of them stand in Victory Lane as there are not two more deserving drivers.