In its long existence, the Kokomo Speedway has played host to many great races but few were as popular as the one Monday night when the USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series visited the local oval for round three of the 25th running of the Indiana Sprint Week.
In the much anticipated, rain-delayed event, Lincoln’s Dave Darland used a late-race pass on a restart to score the popular win before a huge crowd, most of whom were on their feet, pumping fists in the air as Darland took the checkered flag.
“I know I say it every week but it’s true,” said Darland. “[Car owner] Jeff [Walker] gives me a great race car and it is just so much fun to drive. It was a blast [Monday], the track was right up to the wall, pretty much at both ends and I love to run when the cushion gets up that high.”
When Jon Stanbrough got by Logan Jarrett on the second lap, the thought of anyone but the Avon standout winning was rather far fetched. He was clearly the class of the field the first 21 laps, opening a half-track advantage over second place Bryan Clauson. However a caution on the 22nd lap slowed the field and Stanbrough had to limp his Roberts/Tate/Leer Racing No. 21X to the pits with a flat right rear tire, handing the top spot over to Clauson.
The 2012 Indianapolis 500 competitor then held the top spot until Darland executed a slide job in turn two on the 26th lap, then pulled away down the stretch of the 30-lap event.
“I was joking last week that we were going to be breaking out our good [stuff] for Sprint Week, but this is the same car we’ve been running all year,” said Darland, pointing to his Blue No. 11D. “This is really a pretty special deal. I’ve always loved to run here at Kokomo, and to come out here and win and during Sprint Week is a lot of fun.”