With his reservoir of experience, Darland is now considered among the elder statesmen with most of the other drivers no older than any of his children. That fact makes what he continues to accomplish all the more impressive.
“I wish I could say that the reason I continue to do OK is because of my exercise habits but I can’t,” Darland said with a chuckle. “I don’t work out at all. All I do is drive a race car and I think that more than anything helps me to stay competitive as I have gotten older. I thank God for giving me the ability to race a car for this long like he has. I’ve been fortunate in getting together with good teams and it seems like the right team at just the right time.”
Last year with his seven USAC Sprint Car Series wins, Darland moved past Jack Hewitt into second-place in all-time career victories. Darland now has 47 to his credit while Hewitt closed his career with 46 wins. Tom Bigelow holds the high-water mark for the series with 52.
Darland’s goals are just as ambitious now as they were 10 years ago. They are simple — go out, run the car as hard as possible and win as many as he can. Closing in on 300 career A-main wins, another season like last year could see Darland’s name perched atop the career feature wins for USAC.
Even with the possibilities out there to move on to another series, open wheel fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief since Darland’s loyalties are pretty obvious.
“I don’t wanna get away from the sprint cars,” he stated. “I still love and have always loved racing them and I’m not planning on getting away from them anytime soon, if at all. Right now it looks like I’ll be back in the Phillips’ No. 71 again for this year and for local stuff Dave Stinzlin is putting me into his car [Physical Medical Consultants No. 41].”