By Mike O’Leary
May 19, 2012 – Dave Darland scored his second consecutive King of Indiana Sprint Series victory with a dominating performance at Lawrenceburg Speedway, Saturday. The defending King of Indiana was uncatchable after sweeping past Darren Hagen on the 16th circuit as Chad Bosespflug claimed second, followed by Robert Ballou, Brady Bacon and Hagen. The victory tightened the KISS point battle as Darland closed to just 14 behind Ballou.
The victory was important for Darland and car owner Jeff Walker, as sponsor Buck Rice and his wife were visiting from Texas. Darland noted, “It’s great. The KISS series is a nice little series and I was able to win the championship last year driving for Dan Roberts and Daryl Tate, and driving for Jeff Walker this year, we’ve had a great start to the season and the second KISS win in a row and we’re excited about it.”
Hagen, in the Hoffman Mean Green Chalk sprint car, and Ballou, wheeling his own Triple-X, led the field to the green, with Darland’s ProSource Jeff’s Jam It In Storage/Consultants Maxim lined up in the fourth row. Hagen quickly took the lead, as Ballou and Hunter Schuerenberg fought for second. Hagen led the first 15 laps until caught by Darland, who charged inside of Hagen going into the first turn. Once in the lead, Darland quickly opened a large gap, and even with multiple caution flags, scored the win by a straightaway advantage.
“I knew that ¾ of the way around the track I was awful fast, my car was hooked up extremely well,” Darland said later. “Getting into one, I got to running the very top there at the end. I wasn’t getting in very good, but the track was slick and I knew that nobody else was any better, really. Just leaving the bottom open for the slide job was worrying me, but I knew that as long as I could get through one without anybody sliding me, through two and off of two, and then all through three and four I was very good.”
Throughout the 30 laps, there was plenty of great wheel-to-wheel racing behind the leader, as the Lawrenceburg track was fast from top to bottom. Boespflug started twelfth in the Nineight Motorsports DRC, and had to scrap for position every lap of the race. Early on he battled with Jon Stanbrough and Casey Riggs, and later with Casey Shuman and Hunter Schuerenberg as he advanced through the field. He took second from Ballou on lap 26, but couldn’t catch Darland.
“This thing just ran like a top tonight, I didn’t have to make many changes to it,” Boespflug said later. “I kept looking at the track trying to figure out setup and it was just spot on, really, to run the cushion. I could run right in on it and watch the other guys hop and bike over it and my car just stayed right with it and kept on trucking forward.”
On the 11th lap, a fire broke out on CJ Leary’s car while under a caution. Leary bailed out of the car with his uniform leg aflame, suffering burns to his ankle and bringing out a red flag as the safety team responded. After starting 16th, Brady Bacon had worked his way into seventh when the right rear tire went flat under the red. After restarting on the tail, Bacon raced around the bottom of the track to a strong fourth place finish. Bacon actually took third place in the closing laps, but was beaten off turn four by Ballou, by a nose. He was aptly noted as the hard charger of the race.
Two laps later, Jon Stanbrough turned sideways in turn three and was struck by Kevin Thomas Jr. While Thomas was retired from the race, Stanbrough’s crew changed a flat tire and he restarted last, and the five-time KISS champion hustled to a seventh place finish. Schuerenberg battled past Ballou for second on lap 23, but got caught up with a lapped car going into the first turn, putting his new Mach 1 chassis into the first turn wall.
In many ways, Boespflug is an example of why the KISS series has become so popular. The defending Lawrenceburg Speedway sprint car champion, he looks forward to big events. “Running with these guys, everybody here tonight was top notch, the best of the best. That was another reason that it was so important to me to run good here, to prove myself. I’m doing this all on my own. My bill, my trailer, I’m working my butt off seven days a week to fund this. It’s definitely paying off when we run this good, especially against this field of cars. Darland and Stanbrough, the guys that are known in this sport for being the guys to beat, and we beat all but one tonight.”
King of Indiana Sprint Series, Round 3
Lawrenceburg Speedway, Lawrenceburg, Indiana
May 19, 2012
Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Hunter Schuerenberg 35 (1), 2. Casey Shuman 21 (2), 3. Dave Darland 11 (7), 4. Kevin Thomas Jr. 9k (3), 5. Brady Short 36 (4), 6. Brady Bacon 99 (8), 7. Logan Hupp 9h (6), 8. Drew Abel 04 (5)
Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Robert Ballou 12 (2), 2. Jonathan Hendrick 68 (1), 3. Brett Burdette 17b (8), 4. Mark Smith 1 (3), 5. Justin Owen 26 (5), 6. Mike Weber 22w (4), 7. Mike Kennedy 2 (7), 8. CJ Leary 30 (6)
Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Darren Hagen 69 (2), 2. Casey Riggs 37 (1), 3. Jon Stanbrough 21x (5), 4. Chad Boespflug 98 (6), 5. Chris Windom 5 (4), 6. Coleman Gulick 14 (7), 7. Justin Grant 40 (3)
Semi Main (10 laps): 1. Brady Bacon (1), 2. Coleman Gulick (3), 3. Justin Grant (6), 4. Logan Hupp (4), 5. CJ Leary (8), 6. Mike Weber (2), 7. Drew Abel (7), 8. Mike Kennedy (5)
Feature (30 laps): 1. Dave Darland (7), 2. Chad Boespflug (12), 3. Robert Ballou (2), 4. Brady Bacon (16), 5. Darren Hagen (1), 6. Chris Windom (15), 7. Jon Stanbrough (9), 8. Coleman Gulick (17), 9. Brett Burdette (8), 10. Casey Shuman (6), 11. Casey Riggs (3), 12. Logan Hupp (19), 13. Jonathan Hendrick (5), 14. Mark Smith (11), 15. Hunter Schuerenberg (4), 16. Justin Owen (14), 17. Kevin Thomas Jr. (10), 18. CJ Leary (20), 19. Brady Short (13), 20. Justin Grant (18)
KISS Points: 1. Robert Ballou 544, 2. Dave Darland 530, 3. Coleman Gulick and Jon Stanbrough 492 (tied), 5. Hunter Schuerenberg 443, 6. Jonathan Hendrick 413, 7. Justin Grant 395, 8. CJ Leary 382, 9. Casey Shuman 373, 10. Chris Windom 370
2012 KISS SCHEDULE
April 22 – Terre Haute Action Track – Robert Ballou
April 29 – Kokomo Speedway – Rain
May 4 – Bloomington Speedway – Rain
May 11 – Gas City I-69 Speedway – Dave Darland
May 19 – Lawrenceburg Speedway – Dave Darland
May 27 – Tri-State Speedway
June 2 – Paragon Speedway