Ventura, Phoenix on Darland's calendar

Two-time defending USAC National Midget Car Champion Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. will compete in the opening events of the 2003 USAC racing season at Ventura, Calif. March 15 and Phoenix, Ariz. March 20-23. Beyond that, his pavement Midget slate...

Two-time defending USAC National Midget Car Champion Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. will compete in the opening events of the 2003 USAC racing season at Ventura, Calif. March 15 and Phoenix, Ariz. March 20-23. Beyond that, his pavement Midget slate is somewhat up in the air at present.

"I'll run all the dirt Midget races for Steve Lewis," says Dave, "but after Phoenix my pavement Midget plans are not yet finalized. In the Weld Racing Silver Crown Series I'm driving for car owner Bob Hoerner at Phoenix and will split races between Bob and Galen Fox the rest of the season. In the USAC Sprint Cars I'll be running for the D.DeSalle Arctic Cat Team again. I would like to repeat as the National Midget Champion for the third consecutive year, but that will hinge on my pavement situation." He will team with J.J. Yeley and Bobby East in Lewis Midgets at Phoenix.

The 2003 USAC season commences on Saturday night, March 15, with a USAC National/Western Midget Car and USAC Ford Focus Midget Car "doubleheader" at the Ventura (Calif.) Raceway. The event opens USAC's 2003 Speed Channel coverage, with airing on Thursday night, March 20.

"I'm looking forward to Ventura," says Dave despite the fact that in five starts at the 1/5-mile dirt track his finishes keep getting worse! He finished sixth in March of 1995 in his first start there, then finished 10th and 16th in April, 1995, 18th in November, 1995 and 21st in 1997. The USAC Midget Cars have not competed at Ventura since 1998.

One driver not expected to be in the March 15 Ventura field is USAC's last Ventura winner, Shane Scully. Scully was leading the USAC Western Midget Car standings last year when he suffered injuries at Belleville, Kans. He is continuing his recovery from those injuries.

Darland could become USAC's fourth driver to land three consecutive National Midget titles. Shorty Templeman (1956-58), Jimmy Davies (1960-62) and Jason Leffler (1998-2000) are the others to accomplish the feat.

"We're also getting Trenton (Dave's son) ready to compete in the USAC Indiana Ford Focus Midget Car Series which opens April 6 at Anderson Speedway," adds Dave. "We should have the car ready to run the whole season."

--USAC--

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Bobby East