Charging from eleventh, “The People’s Champion” Dave Darland (Lincoln, Indiana) took command from Stevie Sussex on the twenty-first lap and claimed the “Steve Stroud Memorial” at Canyon Speedway Park. For Darland, last Saturday’s $3,500 Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car victory was also a personal triumph in winning the race that honors friend and sponsor. “Chargin” Charles Davis Jr., hard charger R.J. Johnson, Sussex, and Shon Deskins rounded out the top-five drivers.
Racing Charlotte Aragon’s #99 Yelp / Beaver Stripes J&J, Dave Darland steadily made his way forward in the 30-lap main event. By lap twenty, the former USAC National Champion was secure in third and executed a brilliant turn one “slide job” to take second. Still on the charge, Darland shot low into third corner underneath the leader Sussex and slid into the lead. From there, “The People’s Champion” was not to be denied and sped to the season opener’s checkered flags. Earlier in the program, Darland ran third in his heat race and ranked eleventh in passing points.
“Chargin” Charles Davis Jr. (Buckeye, Arizona) pressured Sussex for the lead early in the race but had to settle for second at Canyon Speedway Park. Driving the Massey Motorsports’ #50 RSS Industries / Rod End Supply RSS, Davis won the night’s first heat race sponsored by Crawford Auto Repair and placed fifth in passing points. The five-time Arizona sprint car champion left the “Steve Stroud Memorial” as the series point leader.
R.J. Johnson (Laveen, Arizona) earned the night’s MAJ1K “hard charger / best passing job” honors with a third place run from seventeenth. Piloting Bobby Martin’s #51 Martin Family Auto Museum / Pecon Builders Sherman, Johnson scored eighth in his heat race after mechanical issues seemed to end his night. R.J’s crew went to work and the four-time series champion rebounded to win the night’s All Things Surplus Semi-Main after starting seventh. The four-time series champion heads to the March 9th and 10th Las Vegas “Showdown” ranked fourth in the standings.
Stevie Sussex (Tempe, Arizona) led the first twenty laps before scoring fourth in the “Steve Stroud Memorial.” Racing Bob Price’s #4 Team AZ Racing / RSS Industries entry, Sussex won the night’s Crawford Auto Repair Heat Race #2 and ranked sixth in passing points. Heading to Las Vegas, the 2015 “Outlaw Showdown” winner is currently third in the point chase.
Shon Deskins (Waddell, Arizona) raced from eighth to score fifth in the season opener. Driving his #20 Spike Chassis / Simpson Racing entry, Deskins finished fourth in his heat race and placed eighth in overall passing points. The veteran driver left Canyon Speedway Park ranked sixth in championship points.
“The Bull” Tye Mihocko (Peoria, Arizona) earned the night’s Beaver Stripes Passing Master Award over the 25-car field. Piloting the family owned #5 Property Solutions by Dave Wilson / Futuristic Designs Spike, Mihocko ran third in his heat race and finished eleventh in the main event. At press time, “The Bull” will head to The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway ranked ninth in the point standings.
Ronnie Clark (Tucson, Arizona) returned to USAC SouthWest competition and won the night’s Interstate Truck Bodies Third Heat Race. Racing the family owned #6 RCM / Performance Engines Ellis, Clark ranked second in passing points and scored nineteenth at the checkered flags. Ronnie left the “Steve Stroud Memorial” sitting fourteenth in chase for the championship.
After a break in the schedule, the Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Cars will travel to The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 9th and 10th. Co-sanctioned with the USAC West Coast Sprints, the “Outlaw Showdown” will also feature the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and IMCA Modifieds. For more event information, visit the track’s website at www.lvms.com/dirt or call 702.644.4444.
The USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series thanks All Things Surplus, AME Electric, Aragon Racing, Arizona Motorsports Promotions, Beaver Stripes, Canyon Speedway Park, Crawford Auto Repair, Interstate Truck Bodies, Jason Rominger, Kyle Larson, Larry H. Miller Chrysler Jeep, MAJ1K, Property Solutions by Dave Wilson, Ron’s Lawn Service, Southern New Mexico Speedway, T&K Repair, Team AZ and everyone else that made the Steve Stroud Memorial a special event.
For more information on the Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series, visit www.southwestsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, or follow the series on Facebook.