By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune enterprise editor
Kokomo — In what was a popular win at Kokomo Speedway, Lincoln driver Dave Darland took the lead with 12 laps remaining to capture the second night feature win in the Kokomo Smack Down.
The night started his way when during qualifications Darland took advantage of the high groove to establish a new track record with a time of 12.618-seconds.
Kevin Thomas took the early lead chased by Wes McIntyre and Chase Stockton. By lap 12 Darland was running third when the first caution flag waved for a spin by Dakota Jackson in turn three.
Four laps later Darland was challenging for the lead by riding the outside cushion when the red flag waved when Chris Bell flipped on the front straight while running third.
On the restart Darland got around Thomas and started to pull away from the field when the final caution flag waved setting up a five-lap shoot-out.
Thomas attempted to use the low line to retake the lead, but Darland was not to be denied. Thomas faded from that point finishing third, but then was credited with a 23rd place showing for failing to go to the scales.
Stockton finished second followed by Bryan Clauson and Shane Cottle, who started 22nd in the field.
Darland celebrated his 38th win at Kokomo Speedway by turning several celebratory donuts on the front straight.
“What a great night,” he said following the victory.
The track condition was almost 180 degrees different on Friday than on the opening night of the Smack Down. The quick way around on Thursday was the low groove while on Friday the cars were getting a good bite off the cushion on the high side.
Jon Stanbrough took advantage of starting on the outside of the front row to jump into the lead and went on to lead the entire distance for the victory in the first heat race.
From the third lap to the finish Stanbrough was chased by New Castle’s Tracy Hines. Dave “Double D” Darland caught a break while battling for the final transfer position with Chad Boespflug on lap eight.
Boespflug and Tom Meserault made contact in turn two while battling for the third spot, bringing out the caution flag.
From there Darland held on for third followed by Blake Fitzpatrick and Gary Taylor.
Hunter Schuerenberg led all ten laps for the win in the second heat with Brady Bacon coming home in second followed by Chase Stockton.
The final transfer position went to C.J. Leary following a spirited fight with Daron Clayton and Darren Hagen.
The third heat win was claimed by Kevin Thomas Jr. who passed early leader Chris Windom with one lap remaining. Third place went to Tyler Courtney followed by Chris Bell.
Kokomo’s Shane Cottle finished one spot out of the transfer position after being involved in an altercation with Casey Shuman on the third lap.
Blake Fitzgerald recorded the win in the final heat race, followed by Bryan Clauson, who started fourth in the field. The final two transfer spots went to Dakota Jackson and Wes McIntyre.
Cottle showed why is nickname is “the Throttle” driving from the 14th starting position to capture the B Main and earn a spot in the feature.
Cottle cracked the top five after six laps using the high groove to shot past competitors.
On the ninth lap Cottle went from third to the lead by passing both Casey Shuman and early leader Scotty Weir, who finished second and third. Daron Clayton spun on lap nine while running fourth and then pitted.