By RICHIE MURRAY
SPEEDWAY, IN – Dave Darland has teamed with Chase Briscoe Racing to compete on the 2019 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car trail, beginning with the season-opening “Winter Dirt Games X” on Feb. 14-15-16 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla.
“I’m excited,” Darland exclaimed in the team’s press release. “They have a great team with Chase, Kevin (Briscoe), Brady Short and Brent Deweese. I’m certainly looking forward to it; it is a great opportunity for me.”
The Lincoln, Indiana native is coming off a rejuvenated season in which he won three times in USAC competition at Bloomington, Putnamville and Haubstadt, Ind. while Briscoe’s team won once with driver Thomas Meseraull during “Indiana Sprint Week” at Kokomo.
The pairing of Darland and Briscoe marks the combination of two of the most successful names of sprint car racing in the Midwest over the past several decades. Darland, of course, is the most prolific driver in the history of the series in terms of feature wins (62) and starts and is one of six USAC Triple Crown champs to have won the Silver Crown (1997), National Sprint (1999) and National Midget titles (2001-02) in his career.
Team namesake Chase Briscoe, meanwhile, is the grandson of famed car owner Richard Briscoe, who owns eight USAC National Sprint Car feature wins dating back to 1984 with drivers Jack Hewitt and Richard’s son, Kevin, who raced the No. 5 to six USAC Sprint wins, the most recent of which came in 2004.
Kevin is a contemporary of Darland with the two competing against each other on numerous occasions throughout their careers. Now after all these decades spent trying to beat each other, Darland and Briscoe are on the same side and aiming to be in victory lane together.
“Kevin and I go back a long way,” Darland reminisced. “We’re similar in same age and kind of started around the same time, in the same way. When I was growing up, watching his cars run, I know Richard (Briscoe) has owned some great teams. Being associated with the Briscoes for the first time in my career is a good feeling. Being 52 years old and getting a good solid ride like this, at my age, makes me feel good and I plan on giving them 100% every night.”
Like his father, ARCA titlist and past NASCAR Truck Series Rookie of the Year Chase Briscoe has competed on track against Darland as well. Having the most-accomplished driver in the history of the series in most every statistical category has always been a goal for the Briscoe family, and in 2019, that time has arrived.
“I can’t wait to have Dave in the car,” Chase Briscoe said. “When it comes to USAC competition, you can’t find anyone more accomplished or better with the fans. There is a reason he is called the “People’s Champ.” Dave is someone I’ve looked up to throughout my career and it’s going to be so cool to have him in the car. My Grandpa has always said that Dave is the one driver he always wanted to have drive for him, and it never worked out, so it’s really neat for our whole family for this to come full circle. I’m confident Dave will continue to put our car up front and battle for wins. Hopefully we can get a little more sponsorship put together and contend for the USAC National title.”
USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car racing returns to Ocala once again for the ninth consecutive year to kick off its season at “Winter Dirt Games.” The mini-series will take place at Bubba Raceway Park with an open practice night on Wednesday, February 13, then three complete full programs on Thursday, February 14, Friday, February 15 and Saturday, February 16.
Cars hit the track for engine heat at 6:30pm Eastern on both Thursday and Friday, February 14-15 and at 5:30pm on Saturday, February 16.