DARLAND’S #53 BREAKS ONE OF USAC’s CHERISHED ALL-TIME MARKS
The “People’s Champ” is now USAC’s winningest Sprint Car driver of all time!
Dave Darland’s remarkable career has carried him to a record few thought would ever be broken. And, it took him 22 years to break it, scoring his 52nd and 53rd victories this past week to surpass the mark of 52 established by Tom Bigelow during his USAC career. The Bigelow record stood for 33 years!
It was fitting that Bigelow was one of the first to congratulate Darland in victory lane Sunday after the historic win.
Beginning with the 1993 “Tony Hulman Classic” at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track, Dave’s career has included wins at 27 tracks in nine states, including Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Arizona, California, Wisconsin and Arkansas.
In terms of track wins, he has eight Sprint wins at Kokomo, six at Lawrenceburg and five ach at Eldora Speedway and Putnamville, Ind. He has won for nine different teams, including 13 each with Jeff Walker Racing and his current owner, Phillips Motorsports and 12 wins with Dynamics, Inc.
His latest wins have him on the threshold of another significant USAC mark – 100 total USAC National feature wins! He now has 97 and three more will put him in company with only three previous drivers – A.J. Foyt, Rich Vogler and Mel Kenyon.
Bigelow’s achievement occurred with wins between 1969 and 1981 and included 14 wins in 1977, ironically a year in which he did NOT win the series title. Actually, Bigelow posted his 14th win that year by mid-July but was unable to add any more the remainder of that year. The following year, with less wins, Bigelow secured the USAC National Sprint Car championship.
Darland has now won USAC feature events in 22 consecutive years (1993-2014), a feat unmatched in USAC’s 59-year history.