3 “WINTER CHALLENGE” FINALES THIS WEEK AT CANYON;
DARLAND TAKES 2 & SETS USAC MARK; BACON GETS OPENER
The third “Winter Challenge” for USAC Southwest and West Coast Sprint Cars concludes this week with Thursday, Friday and Saturday races at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Ariz. Saturday’s finale offers $5,000 to win and if last week’s races are any indicator, Dave Darland will be the man to beat.
Darland, of Lincoln, Ind., swept Saturday and Sunday night 30-lappers in his Casey Minks Eagle, leading all 30 laps Sunday night after passing teammate Ryan Bernal on lap 18 Saturday. Saturday’s victory established a new all-time record for drivers with at least one USAC win in consecutive years, marking the 22nd straight year Darland has found a USAC victory lane. He breaks the tie he shared at 21 with A.J. Foyt (1959-1979) and Mel Kenyon (1962-1982).
Brady Bacon of Broken Arrow, Okla. won Friday night’s “Winter Challenge” opener, racing from 13th starting spot to pass Josh Pelkey on lap 14 and lead the final 17 laps in his Fatheadz Eyewear Triple X. Pelkey took second ahead of 2013 USAC Southwest Champ R.J. Johnson, Casey Shuman and 2013 USAC Western Classic Champ Ryan Bernal. Darland was eliminated from competition in a first-lap tangle after winning his heat race.
Trailing Darland Saturday were Bernal, Johnson, Pelkey and Bacon. On Sunday Charles Davis Jr. picked up the runner-up spot ahead of Pelkey, Bernal and Shuman.
Pelkey emerged from the three races as the early leader in the “Winter Challenge” standings, 15 ahead of Darland, with Johnson holding down third.