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Darland Reigns Supreme, Wins Third-Straight Kokomo "Sprint Car Smackdown"

Darland Reigns Supreme, Wins Third-Straight Kokomo "Sprint Car Smackdown"

Kokomo, Indiana…….For the third straight year, “The People’s Champ” Dave Darland parked the Phillips/Curb-Agajanian – Trench Shoring #71P DRC/Foxco in victory lane at Kokomo Speedway after a dominant performance to win “Sprint Car Smackdown IV.” The all-time wins leader in AMSOIL National Sprint Car history took the lead on lap seven and ran away with his 57th career triumph at his home track.

“I love this track, I love these fans, and I really love winning the Smackdown. It doesn’t get any better than this. My Phillips team gave me a great car again, and I couldn’t be happier to get them another one. The O’Connors gave us a good race track, and I have to thank them for all their hard work and putting on such a great event. It’s an unbelievable feeling to do it again. I’m thankful for all the people who help this small team keep getting it done. I went after them fast tonight, and I knew I just needed to be smooth and limit mistakes once I got out front. It got tough a few times coming up on traffic where it got difficult to see the cushion perfectly, but we kept it up on the fence and finished it off,” Darland said.

Brady Bacon won the night’s B&W Auto Mart “King of the Hill” to earn the pole position for the 40-lap, $10,000-to-win main event, but Chase Stockon shot to the early lead from outside the front-row. On lap three, Bacon’s hopes for a win were dashed when he got into the fence, flattening his tire and eventually bringing out a yellow on lap five. He restarted at the tail.

Things got busy up front after the restart, with both Kyle Cummins and Darland assaulting Stockon for the lead as Thomas Meseraull held the fourth spot. The lead trio flashed three-wide, with Cummins on the bottom slipping to the lead by inches on lap six over Darland, who was on the extreme high side.

Darland nailed the top through turns one and two, breaking free from Cummins and opening up his advantage that he would never relinquish. Stockon retook second from Cummins on lap 15 and opened up some breathing room.

Behind the front four, it was all-out war from fifth through tenth between 16th-starting Shane Cottle, Tyler Courtney, Jon Stanbrough, Kevin Thomas Jr., Justin Grant, and Chris Windom, who destroyed his primary car in hot laps and had to utilize a back-up car. Brady Short joined that fray after starting 17th and made it a seven-car scrap just before the inevitable contact among the group brought out a caution on lap 23 as Courtney got turned around in turn-three. He restarted at the tail. Meseraull also pulled off under that yellow with driveline issues, ending his fourth-place run.

Cottle, Windom, and Stanbrough continued their fight for fourth until another caution five laps later, this time for debris. Stockon used that restart to look underneath Darland, nearing drawing even before Darland gained his momentum and pulled away. Stockon and Cummins restarted their battle for second with five laps to go, this time turning it into a torrid affair as Cummins pulled slidejobs on Stockon only to be crossed back over for the position.

Darland was flawless as he ran right next to the Kokomo concrete, opening up a 2.542-second advantage at the checkers over Stockon, who cleared Cummins again off the final corner to take the second spot in the Superior Tank & Trailer – Crescent Electric Supply #32 DRC/Fisher and close Robert Ballou’s National Sprint Car point lead to 24 markers.

“I couldn’t be much happier. This place is so tough and I’m still not totally in love with it, but we’ve made great strides. That last restart, I thought we maybe had something for him, but he got his momentum up and my groove kinda went away some. Kyle and I had a heck of a battle for second, and we’ve raced together for a lot of years, so it’s fun to throw it down like that in the last few laps for second at Smackdown. We’ve struggled at times here, but this week was a big momentum builder for us,” Stockon said.

Cummins finished off an impressive performance after winning the event’s “Rookie of the Year” award last season, filling out the podium in this edition aboard the Rock Steady Racing – Vincennes University #3R Mach-1/Cummins.

“I like this place a lot and love coming up here for this event. It felt like a lot of races we’ve had down at Haubstadt with Chase and me battling through the middle. Towards the end, I felt like like I was losing ground through the bottom and middle, so I got up top and was better than him at the end, just couldn’t clear him. We came up short there, but it was a good weekend and we made a little money. It’s been a tough season for us, but this feels pretty good,” Cummins said.

Windom’s high-side exploits carried him to a fourth-place finish, earning the Weld Racing “Smackdown Badass” award for his efforts in the Rick Pollock – Bates Commodities #21x Maxim/Advanced. Thomas, Jr., who earlier took down one of four Competition Suspension (CSI) qualifying heat races to start the night, came home fifth from 12th in the Bakken Concrete – Griffin’s Propane #17RW Maxim/Fisher.

Brady Short capped his incredible come-from-behind week with an eighth-place run, earning the night’s Elliott’s Custom Trailers “Hard Charger Award” presented by Maxim Chassis. He also made it a resounding victory in the battle for the Speedway Motors “Passing Master Award,” as he advanced a total of 62 positions cumulatively in every race over the three nights.

Other CSI heat race winners who also picked up Hoosier right-rear tires included Jerry Coons, Jr., Courtney, and Grant. Short and Max McGhee also earned Hoosier tires as the top-two finishers in the B Main. Ryan Bernal stormed back after going to the tail to claim the final transfer, earning the American Racing Ministries “Perseverance Award.”

Kyle Robbins was the lowest point earner to make the feature, earning the Simpson Racing “Hard Work Award” presented by Pace Performance Coatings, good for a free helmet. Ted Hines not only won the Impact Racing prize for being the first non-transfer from the B Main, but he also took $200 from Lil Moe’s Pizzeria. Hines was also the Spire Sports + Entertainment “Smackdown Rookie of the Year” award. Josh Spencer took the Simpson Racing prize for being the second non-transfer.

The SST Motorsports team was awarded the DRC Chassis “Hard Luck Award” after their tough weekend was cut short. The “Bill Gardner True Grit Award” from Lincoln Park Speedway went to the driver displaying the most persistence despite many obstacles, and that went to Justin Grant. The Frolic Bar & Grill “Best Appearing Car and Crew” went to Robert Bell.

Rod End Supply awarded certificates to all participants on Saturday who were not locked into the feature. Indy Race Parts contributed certificates that went to Aaron Farney, Brandon Mattox, and Jarett Andretti.

AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: August 28, 2015 – Kokomo, Indiana – Kokomo Speedway – “Sprint Car Smackdown IV”

FIRST QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps) 1. Jerry Coons, Jr. (#10E Edison), 2. C.J. Leary (#30 Leary), 3. Scotty Weir (#5 Baldwin), 4. Brian Karraker (#29 Jarrett), 5. Travis Hery (#21H Hery), 6. Brandon Mattox (#28 Mattox), 7. Joe Bares (#19 Test), 8. Lee Dakus (#75 Dakus).

SECOND QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps) 1. Tyler Courtney (#23e Eberhardt), 2. Chad Boespflug (#66 Amati), 3. Hunter Schuerenberg (#2E Epperson), 4. Brady Short (#11p Pottorff), 5. Dustin Smith (#77 Smith), 6. Chris Gurley (#12G Team Automotive).

THIRD QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps) 1. Justin Grant (#40 Hery), 2. Tracy Hines (#4 THR), 3. Max McGhee (#17 McGhee), 4. Ryan Bernal (#11 Walker), 5. Kody Swanson (#32M Marshall), 6. Josh Spencer (#66J Spencer), 7. Robert Bell (#71 Bell).

FOURTH QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (#17RW Dutcher), 2. Shane Cottle (#57 Hazen), 3. Jarett Andretti (#18 Andretti), 4. Aaron Farney (#15F Farney), 5. Kyle Robbins (#17R Robbins), 6. Colten Cottle (#42 Jackson), 7. Ted Hines (#12H Hines).

“KING OF THE HILL” 2-CAR SHOOTOUTS: (3 laps each) Round 1: Chase Stockon (#32 32/TBI) defeated Robert Ballou (#12 Ballou); Kyle Cummins (#3R Byram) defeated Jon Stanbrough (#81 Stanbrough); Brady Bacon (#69 Dynamics) defeated Thomas Meseraull (#29x Dawkins); Dave Darland (#71P Phillips/Curb-Agajanian) won by default over Chris Windom (#21x Pollock) – Windom did not start. Round 2: Stockon defeated Cummins and Bacon defeated Darland; Final Round: Bacon defeated Stockon.

B MAIN: (15 laps) 1. Short, 2. McGhee, 3. Schuerenberg, 4. Weir, 5. Robbins, 6. Bernal, 7. Ted Hines, 8. Spencer, 9. Swanson, 10. Harris, 11. Bell, 12. C.Cottle, 13. Hery, 14. Bares, 15. Smith, 16. Mattox, 17. Andretti, 18. Farney, 19. Karraker, 20. Gurley. NT

FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Dave Darland, 2. Chase Stockon, 3. Kyle Cummins, 4. Chris Windom, 5. Kevin Thomas Jr., 6. Jon Stanbrough, 7. Justin Grant, 8. Brady Short, 9. C.J. Leary, 10. Tracy Hines, 11. Shane Cottle, 12. Chad Boespflug, 13. Ryan Bernal, 14. Brady Bacon, 15. Robert Ballou, 16. Tyler Courtney, 17. Scotty Weir, 18. Jerry Coons Jr., 19. Max McGhee, 20. Thomas Meseraull, 21. Hunter Schuerenberg, 22. Kyle Robbins. NT

**Windom flipped during practice. Farney flipped during the semi. Andretti flipped during the semi. Hery flipped during the semi.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 Stockon, Lap 6 Cummins, Laps 7-40 Darland.

NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Ballou-1,706, 2-Stockon-1,682, 3-Darland-1,654, 4-Bacon-1,557, 5-Stanbrough-1,465, 6-Thomas-1,344, 7-Windom-1,205, 8-Leary-1,151, 9-Tracy Hines-1,104, 10-Grant-1,039.

NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: September 18 – Terre Haute (IN) Action Track – “Tony Hulman/Jim Hurtubise Classic”

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