IRNLS Test At Stake In Toledo

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Dave Darland is still looking for his first win this season in the USAC Sprint Car Series, but his inability to reach victory lane this season is doing nothing to hurt him in the points standings.

Darland heads into Friday night’s event at Toledo Speedway leading the standings by 27 points over last year’s 19-race winner Jay Drake, who has just one win this season.

Besides protecting his points lead and gunning for his first trip to the Sprint Series victory lane, Darland has two other incentives pushing him this week: He’s the defending race winner at Toledo and an Indy Racing Northern Light Series test is up for grabs on Hemelgarn Racing’s Rollie Beale Night.

"The race was a tremendous success last year," said Hemelgarn, a Toledo businessman. "We were able to bring open-wheel pavement racing back to Toledo with the USAC Sprint Cars. I am very pleased to have the opportunity again to contribute to this type of racing.”

Toledo Speedway General Manager Scott Schultz hopes Hemelgarn’s involvement has the same effect as it did last season.

"The IRL test stirred the kettle for many competitors and put a different light on this race" Schultz said. "We are very fortunate to have Ron and his race team involved with this show. It had an immediate impact on our track. The crowd was great, the car count was great and the racing was impressive too."

This year, the racing should be equally impressive thanks to a close, four-way fight atop the Sprint standings.

Darland has his 27-point lead over Drake, who in turn is just 34 points in front of J.J. Yeley. Tony Elliott, the defending Sprint Series champ, is 27 points behind Yeley.

Yeley, Elliott and Tracy Hines, who is fifth with 569 points, have put themselves near the top of standings with three wins. Drake has only won once, and Darland has no wins.

Darland has used consistency to put himself in the driver’s seat of the championship chase. In 12 starts – there have been 16 races – Darland has nine top-five finishes and 12 Top 10s.

Practice for Friday’s event at the half-mile paved oval begins at 5 p.m. (ET), with qualifying at 6:45 and racing at 8. The feature is 30 laps.

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