DARLAND-KUNZ SPRINT TEAM DEBUTS AT TAMPA
Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind., whose 28 career USAC Sprint Car wins trail only Tracy Hines’ 37 on the all-time National victory list among active drivers, has switched teams for the 2010 season. He will pilot one of two Keith Kunz Motorsports/Advanced Racing entries in the “Bubba Army Sprint Nationals” February 8-10 at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, Fla.
Darland, who finished third in the 2009 standings, won the 1999 series championship and is one of only five USAC “Triple Crown Champions.” His Sprint car career includes victories in the Tony Hulman Classic, Joe James/Pat O’Connor Classic, Rich Vogler Classic, Glen Niebel Classic, Robbie Stanley Classic, Four Crown Nationals and the Ultimate Challenge at Oskaloosa, Iowa.
Darland and teammate Henry Clarke of Villa Park, Calif., who claimed the 2009 series “Rookie of the Year” honors, will try to give the Kunz Motorsports team their first USAC National Sprint Car owner’s crown. The team finished second in the 2009 standings and were second in 2003, fourth in 2007 and 2008 and fifth in 2006.
The Kunz team ranks fifth on the all-time USAC Sprint car feature winners list, with 35 wins to their credit, including three with Cole Whitt in 2009.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to Florida,” says Dave, who admits his first outings at East Bay a few years ago were less than successful. “It’s a hard track to figure out and has an odd shape,” he adds. “I’m glad to be in a Kunz car because they always field top-notch equipment. I have to thank Cory Kruseman for suggesting that I call Kunz and it should be a fun 2010 for us.”
In 2004 Dave dominated to win the “Four Crown Nationals” Midget race at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio in a Kunz entry, then finished second in the same race in a Kunz car in 2008. His only previous outings in a Kunz Sprinter were at Joliet, Ill. in 2003 where he did not qualify and at the Mopar Million at Eldora in 2004 where he finished 12th in a field of 138 cars!
The three back-to-back National Sprint races at East Bay, located in Gibsonton, Fla., serve as the 2010 Amsoil USAC National Sprint Car series openers and are part of the track’s 34th “Winternationals.”
In an effort to generate maximum participation at what he considers his “home track,” an added bonus for pre-registered USAC car entrants at Tampa will be a free right rear Hoosier tire compliments of Bubba “The Love Sponge” for any appearing car entrants whose entries were filed prior to the entry deadline.
Each night (Monday through Wednesday) contains a complete racing program capped by a 30-lap feature on the very competitive 1/3-mile dirt oval located in Gibsonton, a Tampa suburb.