Du Quoin: Miracle Mile preview

Darland hopes to be 14TH with wins on 3 Midwest miles. Dave Darland returns to the "Miracle Mile" at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds this Sunday on a mission - to add the "Ted Horn 100" at the 1-mile oval to his list of career...

Darland hopes to be 14TH with wins on 3 Midwest miles.

Dave Darland returns to the "Miracle Mile" at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds this Sunday on a mission - to add the "Ted Horn 100" at the 1-mile oval to his list of career victories.

Darland, of Lincoln, Ind., will try to add his name to an illustrious list of drivers who have won USAC Championship races on the three Midwest miles. The DuQuoin race history pre-dates USAC back to 1948, while the Springfield, Ill. mile history dates clear back to 1934. The Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis has hosted Championship races since 1946 and to date 13 different drivers have claimed wins at all three in the big cars.

Darland nearly won last year's "Ted Horn 100," leading laps 77-98 before spinning into the first-turn guardrail while battling eventual winner Paul White for the lead. It was not Dave's first near-miss at victory at DuQuoin. In 1995 he came from 20th starting spot to finish third. A year later he came from 24th to finish seventh. He won the pole in 1997, led 86 laps and finished second to Russ Gamester. In 1999 he again took the pole and finished second behind Tony Elliott and in 2000 he finished third.

Sunday's race will mark Dave's 98th start in USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown competition and his ninth at DuQuoin. His first five 2002 starts failed to produce a "top-10" finish but he was fourth in the August 17 "Tony Bettenhausen 100" at Springfield.

Drivers who have won at all three miles in Championship racing include Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hanks, Jimmy Bryan, Rodger Ward, A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and Al Unser, plus Tom Bigelow, Pancho Carter, Gary Bettenhausen, Jack Hewitt, Chuck Gurney, Jimmy Sills and George Snider.

Darland won the Hoosier Hundred (1995) and Hulman Hundred (1996) at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and the "Tony Bettenhausen 100" at Springfield in 1997 and 1999.

He'll have to contend with drivers like J.J. Yeley of Phoenix, Ariz. and Dave Steele of Tampa, Fla. Sunday. Yeley won the Springfield 100-miler and trails Steele by 11 points in the series standings going into Sunday's race. Paul White of Temple, Texas will also return to defend his 2001 race victory.

Practice at DuQuoin starts at 9 am with qualifying scheduled to start at 10:30. A 15-mile "qualifying race" at 12:30 pm precedes the "Ted Horn 100," which gets under way at 1:30. Darland holds the 1-lap track qualifying record of 118.781 mph, which he set in 1997. Johnny Parsons set the 100-mile race record of 107.047 mph in 1992.

USAC WELD RACING SILVER CROWN SERIES STANDINGS
1. Dave Steele 339
2. J.J. Yeley 328
3. Tracy Hines 294
4. Jason Leffler 245
5. Jason McCord 244
6. John Heydenreich 219
7. Jay Drake 201
8. Russ Gamester 188
9. Jerry Coons, Jr. 181
10. Tony Elliott 177

-usac-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Mario Andretti , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Jack Hewitt , Tony Elliott , Jay Drake , John Heydenreich , Johnny Parsons , Russ Gamester , Paul White , Jason McCord , Pancho Carter , Jerry Coons , Rodger Ward , Jimmy Sills , Tony Bettenhausen , A.J. Foyt , Al Unser