Darling inches closer to championship
Track Champ and points leader Dave Darling won once again, following the simple rule of staying out of trouble.
Darling took over the lead from Kenny Spencer at midrace, on a lap 19 restart. They had dueled on a lap 18 restart and again following cautions on laps 20, 22, 24, 29 and 30. Darling was able to hold on to the lead each time. The final ten laps ran caution free and Darling led Spencer over the stripe. Dick Houlihan, Fred Astle and Kevin Casper followed.
Signs for the race were bad from the first billowing of the green, as Kevin Folan and Mike Brightman were together and up into the wall before the starting line. They had started side-by-side and something had knocked Folan loose and into Brightman and they locked together in a slide into the wall at the base of the starter’s platform. Brightman pulled away and drove smoking to the pits. Folan, with his right front corner collapsed, had to be hauled to the pits before completing a lap. Brightman was able to return, but Bill Antonellis, who had been collected in the fray, was also out without finishing a circuit.
The complete restart put the field into a six lap run to the next caution. Polesitter Mike Mitchell took the lead over outside pole Kyle Casper, and Casper gave chase. Elmer Wing took over third but Spencer wound it up and overtook Wing for position. Lap two saw wing pursued by Tom Scully, Jr. and Dick Houlihan with Darling coming on and Kevin Casper on the outside. Freddy, Ryan Vanasse, Rick Martin and Bob Hussey followed.
Darling had moved from ninth to sixth, behind Houlihan before the caution.
Under green, Mitchell came out first, but Casper came back and Spencer locked on to Mitchell’s rear bumper. Vanasse developed problems with his car, slowed dramatically and retired to the pits after eight laps.
Casper was working Mitchell’s outside, but now Darling was at their backs. Spencer was now on Darling’s tail with Scully, Houlihan, Brightman and Hussey in pursuit. Casper had his nose past Mitchell as Ken spencer came in underneath to take the lead out of turn two on lap 13. Scully followed under into second, but Wing was around in turn two. Casper, Spencer, Darling and Scully went in to the box for the restart and came out door-to-door with
Spencer edging ahead him on the outside. Casper fell off and Spencer took the front as Darling made an underneath move on Casper but was denied.
Struggles over position lasted a few seconds between restarts, but during the time, the field established positions which followed through the final ten consecutive laps.
1) Dave Darling 2) Ken Spencer 3) Dick Houlihan 4) Fred Astle 5) Kevin Caser 6) Bob Hussey 7) Mike Brightman 8) Kyle Casper 9) Tom Scully Jr 10) Dave Silvia 11) Rick Martin 12) Mike Mitchell 13) John Berchem 14) Cory Cleary 15) Elmer Wing III 16) Daryl Stampfl 17) Billy Joerres 18) Ryan Vanasse 19) Kevin Folan 20) Bill Antonellis