IRL: Darland passes rookie test

FORT WORTH, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2000 - USAC open-wheel star Dave Darland passed his Indy Racing League rookie test Sept. 12 at Texas Motor Speedway. Under the observation of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Indy Racing driver coach...

FORT WORTH, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2000 - USAC open-wheel star Dave Darland passed his Indy Racing League rookie test Sept. 12 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Under the observation of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Indy Racing driver coach Johnny Rutherford, Darland completed the four speed phases of the test. At Texas, a rookie driver is required to run 10 consistent laps between 190-195 mph, 195-200 mph, 200-205 mph and 10 more at 205 mph or faster.

Darland, 34, drove the 1999 No. 91 Delta Faucet/Coors Light/Tae-Bo/Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone car driven by Buddy Lazier last year. "Dave did a great job," Rutherford said. "He was driving an older car but talked well with the crew and got right up to speed. He showed good aptitude."

Rutherford indicated that Darland did not get the opportunity to take the car back out for additional laps after the test because the Hemelgarn Racing crew discovered a cracked cylinder head.

"They were going to take some push out and put on new tires and send him back out, but they found that problem," Rutherford said. Darland ran a total of 59 laps with his fastest laps, in the 205-mph range, coming during the final phase of the test, Rutherford said. Ron Hemelgarn, car owner for current Indy Racing Northern Light Series points leader Buddy Lazier, awarded the winner of a USAC sprint race in July at Toledo Speedway a test in one of his Indy Racing cars. Darland won the race.

Darland, from Kokomo, Ind., was one of USAC's most accomplished drivers in the 1990s. He was the 1999 USAC Stoops Freightliner Sprint Car Series champion and has 15 career wins in the division. In 1997, he won the USAC Coors Light Silver Bullet series championship and has six wins in that series.

Darland has also won eight USAC MCI WorldCom National Midget races, including the prestigious Belleville Nationals and the Hut Hundred, both in 1999. He was USAC's winningest driver in 1999.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar , USAC
Drivers Buddy Lazier , Johnny Rutherford