Dave Steele & Dave Darland To Campaign 9 Racing Toyota-Powered Midgets For 2006 Racing Season LAGUNA BEACH, CA Dave Steele, reigning 2-time USAC Silver Crown Champion, has committed to driving the Toyota-powered 9 Racing Midget on all...
Dave Steele & Dave Darland To Campaign 9 Racing Toyota-Powered Midgets For 2006 Racing Season
LAGUNA BEACH, CA Dave Steele, reigning 2-time USAC Silver Crown Champion, has committed to driving the Toyota-powered 9 Racing Midget on all pavement races in the 2006 USAC National Midget Series. Dave Darland, one of only four drivers in USAC history to claim the "Triple Crown" (Silver Crown, Sprint and National Midget titles) during a career, will be the points driver for all events for the famed 9 Racing team.
"It's a big opportunity to be involved again with 9 Racing," said Steele, a Tampa native. "I'm going to enjoy working with Ed Pink, the Toyota engineers and Crew Chief Kelly Drake, and I look forward to winning some races next year."
Darland, of Lincoln, Indiana, said, "I was able to win two national Midget championships with 9 Racing, and I look forward to working with the team and the challenge of a third national Midget championship."
In partnership with 9 Racing and Ed Pink Racing Engines, Toyota Motorsports and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) have developed a new, four-cylinder race engine for USAC Midget competition in time for the start of the 2006 race season. The new Toyota Midget engine package will consist of the V-8 cylinder head used by Toyota truck teams competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series. The 9 Racing cars will be ready to race with Toyota powerplants at the 2006 Copper World Classic on January 22 at Phoenix International Raceway--the first event on the USAC National Midget Series 2006 schedule.
The formidable 9 Racing team, fielded by team owner Steve Lewis, has won 10 USAC National Midget Championships. Several NASCAR stars first arrived on the national motorsports radar screen in the famed 9 Midgets, including such drivers as Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Jason Leffler, Kenny Irwin, Mike Bliss, JJ Yeley and Bobby East. Ed Pink has designed and built race engines for some of the greatest names in racing over the past three decades in a variety of venues, from Don Garlits to Al Unser, the NHRA US Nationals to the Indy 500.
"Steve Lewis' signing of Dave Steele and Dave Darland is the final piece of the puzzle in regards to Toyota's plan to enter Midget racing in 2006," said Gary Reed, vice president special projects for TRD USA. "Coupled with crew chief Kelly Drake's knack for knowing what makes a Midget go fast and the competitiveness of the new Toyota Midget engine, we'll have a hard time coming up with an excuse if we're not competitive right out of the box, especially when you add the support of Ed Pink Racing engines to the mix.
"It is our plan, once the parts have been validated via our aggressive preseason testing program, to begin offering the Toyota Midget parts to any and all Midget competitors. We plan to have a parts list, ordering guide and pricing available by the Copper World Classic, and to start delivering parts to customers in April," continued Reed.
Lewis said he is eager to start the new racing season with what he believes is a powerful combination of talent and technology. "It's great to have two veteran drivers of the caliber of the two Daves involved with the program this year. With the new Toyota Midget engine, we have a strong team, and I can't wait for our first race in Phoenix in January."
The 9 Racing team is sponsored by Team ASE, Oakley and Toyota. The team will be running a Beast chassis in 2006.