Hartford, Michigan…….Dave Darland of Lincoln, Indiana notched his fifth AMSOIL National Sprint Car win of the year on Saturday at Hartford Motor Speedway in a dominating performance. Darland took the Jeff Walker Racing #11 Maxim/Claxton sponsored by Jam-It-In Storage and Parker Store of Phoenix to victory lane in the first trip to the 9/16-mile oval since Jay Drake won on the same date twelve years ago.
Robert Ballou shot to the lead from the pole, but Jerry Coons, Jr. crossed under him off turn-two to take the lead down the backstretch. Ballou was left to race with Darland and Levi Jones, while Coons held a comfortable lead.
Darland disposed of Ballou quickly, however, and wasted no time running down Coons. Darland pulled even with Coons after diamonding off turn-four to complete lap eight, but Coons was narrowly ahead at he line. After Darland slid in front in turn-one, Nick Landon slowed to a stop and Coons returned to the front. On the restart, Darland again used a big slide-job on Coons, but the two traded the lead until Darland finally cleared Coons on lap eleven.
After a caution on lap twelve, Coons brought out the yellow a lap later as he slowed down the front-stretch. The final 19 laps went green, however, and Darland checked out on the field. Opening up over six seconds on the field, Darland cruised to victory as Robert Ballou ran out of fuel coming to the checkered, giving Darland a 10.511-second win.
“I hated to go back behind Jerry on that first yellow. I knew it was close at the line, but I hated to see that yellow come out. We just took advantage of being there and finally got clear of him for the lead. I was just trying to keep the tires under it and make sure I didn’t spin the tires too much. It got a little tough there coming up on slower cars, but I was just trying to be smooth on the top,” Darland said.
Jon Stanbrough made a late-race move on Jones for third and then caught Ballou coming to the line to grab the second-spot in the Roberts/Tate Racing – Leer Racing #21x DRC/Speedway, tacking on two more points to make it a six-point lead over Jones.
“It seems like that’s been the way we’ve been all year for us, coming on at the end like that. I hate to sound like a broken record, but it’s another solid night for us and we gained a little on Levi. When he’s in front of you, you wanna do anything you can to beat him on the track. We just kept digging tonight and found something here and there to get by those guys,” Stanbrough said.
Ballou held on for the third spot in the MPHG Promotions – J.C. Plew #81 Maxim/Ott.
“We finally cleared Levi for the second-spot and I got to entering three the way I needed to, but I just wasn’t gaining on Darland at all. It was a great track for us to run on, fast and way up high,” Ballou said.
Jones finished fourth in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevy Performance #20 Maxim/Kistler, and Chase Stockon rounded out the top-five in the Terre Haute First Financial Bank – Superior Tank & Trailer #32 DRC/Fisher.
AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: August 11, 2012 – Hartford, MI – Hartford Motor Speedway – “Wolverine Nationals”
QUALIFYING: 1. Levi Jones, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-18.669; 2. Chase Stockon, 32, Stockon-18.783; 3. Bryan Clauson, 7, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-18.891; 4. Dave Darland, 11, Walker-18.896; 5. Jerry Coons, Jr., 71P, Phillips-18.920; 6. Robert Ballou, 81, MPHG-18.992; 7. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-19.028; 8. Jon Stanbrough, 21x, Roberts/Tate-19.058; 9. Damion Gardner, 71, DG-19.155; 10. Hunter Schuerenberg, 35, Byram-19.197; 11. Chris Windom, 21, Pollock-19.247; 12. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, BlackJack-19.260; 13. Bobby East, 5E, East-19.321; 14. Steve Irwin, 1, Flying Zero-19.434; 15. Dustin Daggett, 2M, Mott-20.489; 16. Dusty Shriver, 73, Shriver-10.646; 17. Nick Landon, 82, Landon-21.073; 18. Jay Steinebach, 10s, Steinebach-21.860.
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. East, 2. Schuerenberg, 3. Darland, 4. Jones, 5. Hines, 6. Shriver. 2:36.11
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Stockon, 2. Stanbrough, 3. Windom, 4. Irwin, 5. Coons, 6. Landon. 2:39.31
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Thomas, 2. Ballou, 3. Gardner, 4. Daggett, 5. Clauson, 6. Steinebach. 2:38.04
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Dave Darland, 2. Jon Stanbrough, 3. Robert Ballou, 4. Levi Jones, 5. Chase Stockon, 6. Tracy Hines, 7. Damion Gardner, 8. Bryan Clauson, 9. Chris Windom, 10. Bobby East, 11. Hunter Schuerenberg, 12. Dustin Daggett, 13. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 14. Steve Irwin, 15. Jay Steinebach, 16. Jerry Coons, Jr., 17. Dusty Shriver, 18. Nick Landon. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-10 Coons, Laps 11-30 Darland.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Stanbrough-1,505; 2-Jones-1,499; 3-Darland-1,406; 4-Clauson-1,298; 5-Gardner-1,222; 6-Hines-1,195; 7-Ballou-1,157; 8-Stockon-1,147; 9-Thomas-1,137; 10-Schuerenberg-1,105.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: August 23 – Kokomo, IN – Kokomo Speedway – “Sprint Car Smackdown I”