GREENWOOD, Neb (August 14, 2007) – The Third Annual O'Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour 'N Topless Midwest Swing kicked off in spectacular fashion with Lincoln, Indiana's Dave Darland nipping California's Tim Kaeding at the line to capture his first career TNT feature win in Tuesday night's 30-lap Huskerland Non-Wing Sprint Car Nationals main event at Nebraska Raceway Park's I-80 Speedway.
Darland wrestled the lead away from Kaeding on the 23rd lap and, after battling for the point over the final rounds, Darland took the checkered flag with a miniscule 0.052-second advantage over Kaeding to give the Trucker's 24-Hour Road Service No. 10 entry its first triumph in Sprint Bandits TNT action.
"I knew Tim (Kaeding) was going to be trying hard on the high side in the last corner, so I tried to go into turn three in the middle," Darland commented in victory lane as he displayed his $4,000 winner's share in the form of 2,000 two dollar bills. "I knew I wanted to come off turn four on the bottom where the moisture was, so I couldn't really run it into three too hard."
While fifth-starting Darland and fourth-starter Kaeding ultimately fought it out for the win, the duo spent the early portion of the race chasing R.J. Johnson and Bud Kaeding, as Johnson paced the opening 14 rounds after outgunning polesitter Bud Kaeding for the point after the initial start was red-flagged for Damion Gardner's turn three tumble. Gardner was uninjured but done for the night.
Following the initial aborted start, the race ran in non-stop fashion with the 21 remaining starters all taking the checkered flag in a feature event that just took nine minutes and 56 seconds.
Arizona's Johnson led the early rounds in front of Bud Kaeding, Darland and Tim Kaeding, with Bud Kaeding and Darland trading the runner-up spot on the seventh and eighth rounds. Tim Kaeding began making the topside work dividends, relegating Darland to fourth on the tenth lap and then overtaking brother Bud Kaeding for second two rounds later.
Tim Kaeding closed the narrow gap on Johnson and charged into the lead as the midway point was displayed, two laps after Darland had taken third from Bud Kaeding.
With Tim Kaeding leading the way, Darland and Bud Kaeding both raced past Johnson by the 17th round and battled for the second position for several laps before Darland took command of second on the 21st lap.
Having outlasted Bud Kaeding, Darland set his sights on Tim Kaeding and edged into the lead on the 23rd lap. With Darland working the low side and Tim Kaeding up top, the pair battled in side-by-side fashion over the final laps.
As the white flag flew, the duo entered turn one wheel-to-wheel. Kaeding surged ahead through the corner, but gripping the low side of the track Darland charged back ahead with front wheels clawing at the air as they raced off turn two.
Kaeding used his top-side momentum to move back ahead through turns three and four, but Darland's strong run of the bottom of turn four proved to be the deciding factor as he took the checkered flag in the closest finish in Sprint Bandits TNT history.
"For a guy that hasn't run much, if at all, without a wing, Tim did a great job," Darland commented.
Kaeding, making just his second career wingless start and first in three years, settled for runner-up honors as he opened his assault upon the TNT crown, with Bud Kaeding taking show honors after finishing second in the initial two editions of the Huskerland Non-Wing Sprint Car Nationals.
Cory Kruseman climbed from tenth to finish fourth, with Jerry Coons, Jr., rounding out the top five. R.J. Johnson crossed the stripe sixth, with 13th-starter Neil Shepherd, last year's Huskerland Non-Wing Nationals winner Robert Ballou, Brady Short and Hunter Schuerenberg completing the top ten.
Bud Kaeding, Johnson, Tim Kaeding and Coons claimed heat race wins, with Ballou, Short, Bud Kaeding and Schuerenberg each earning qualifying race wins among the 30-car field.
Cole Whitt made a last-lap pass of Bret Mellenberndt to win the "B" Main and then climbed from 19th to finish eleventh in the feature event.
The five-race O'Reilly Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing moves on to Mid-America Speedway in South Coffeyville, OK, on Wednesday night and then Creek County Speedway in Sapulpa, OK, on Thursday night before wrapping up with two nights at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, KS, on Friday and Saturday.
O’Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour ‘N Topless I-80 Speedway Huskerland Non-Wing Sprint Car Nationals Results:
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 29-Bud Kaeding, 2. 10-Dave Darland, 3. 17n-Mat Neely, 4. 2b-Brady Short, 5. 12-Trey Robb, 6. 71m-Jesse Mack, 7. 71b-Robert Bell, 8. 29w-Cole Whitt.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 15-R.J. Johnson, 2. 4-Casey Shuman, 3. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 4. 2J-Don Droud, Jr., 5. 97-Bret Mellenberndt, 6. 02-Matt Rossi, 7. 45-Jeff Lowery, 8. 9x-Larry Carter.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 10k-Tim Kaeding, 2. 17-Chris Windom, 3. 75-Jesse Hockett, 4. 81-Robert Ballou, 5. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr., 6. 21-Michael Trimble, 7. 53-Bodie Tulloch.
Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 69-Jerry Coons, Jr., 2. 4n-Neil Shepherd, 3. 10T-Hunter Schuerenberg, 4. 30-Chad Boat, 5. 76-Mike Leslie, 6. 55-Tony Everhart. Disqualified: 71-Damion Gardner (failed to report directly to scales after finishing first).
Qualifying Races – Top 18 in Combined Passing Points from Heats & Qualifiers to "A" Feature; Balance to "B" Main
First Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 81-Robert Ballou, 2. 15-R.J. Johnson, 3. 10k-Tim Kaeding, 4. 30-Chad Boat, 5. 75-Jesse Hockett, 6. 29w-Cole Whitt, 7. 71b-Robert Bell, 8. 71m-Jesse Mack.
Second Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 2b-Brady Short, 2. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr., 3. 69-Jerry Coons, Jr., 4. 4n-Neil Shepherd, 5. 4-Casey Shuman, 6. 02-Matt Rossi, 7. 45-Jeff Lowery, 8. 9x-Larry Carter.
Third Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 29-Bud Kaeding, 2. 21-Michael Trimble, 3. 17n-Mat Neely, 4. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 5. 76-Mike Leslie, 6. 53-Brodie Tulloch, 7. 12-Trey Robb.
Fourth Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 10T-Hunter Schuerenberg, 2. 71-Damion Gardner, 3. 10-Dave Darland, 4. 97-Bret Mellenberndt, 5. 17-Chris Windom, 6. 55-Tony Everhart, 7. 2J-Don Droud, Jr.
"B" Main – Top 4 Advance to "A" Main
"B" Feature (10 Laps): 1. 29w-Cole Whitt, 2. 97-Bret Mellenberndt, 3. 76-Mike Leslie, 4. 02-Matt Rossi, 5. 2J-Don Droud, Jr., 6. 53-Brodie Tulloch, 7. 12-Trey Robb, 8. 71m-Jesse Mack, 9. 45-Jeff Lowery, 10. 9x-Larry Carter, 11. 71b-Robert Bell, 12. 55-Tony Everhart.
O'Reilly Sprint Bandits TNT I-80 Speedway Huskerland Non-Wing Sprint Car Nationals "A” Main
“A” Main (30 Laps): 1. 10-Dave Darland, 2. 10k-Tim Kaeding, 3. 29-Bud Kaeding, 4. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 5. 69-Jerry Coons, Jr., 6. 15-R.J. Johnson, 7. 4n-Neil Shepherd, 8. 81-Robert Ballou, 9. 2b-Brady Short, 10. 10T-Hunter Schuerenberg, 11. 29w-Cole Whitt, 12. 17-Chris Windom, 13. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr., 14. 4-Casey Shuman, 15. 17n-Mat Neely, 16. 75-Jesse Hockett, 17. 76-Mike Leslie, 18. 30-Chad Boat, 19. 97-Bret Mellenberndt, 20. 02-Matt Rossi, 21. 21-Michael Trimble, 22. 71-Damion Gardner.
Lap Leaders: R.J. Johnson 1-14, Tim Kaeding 15-22, Dave Darland 23-30.
O'Reilly Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing Points (Top Ten): 1. Dave Darland 150, 2. Tim Kaeding 146, 3. Bud Kaeding 144, 4. Cory Kruseman 142, 5. Jerry Coons, Jr. 140, 6. R.J. Johnson 138, 7. Neil Shepherd 136, 8. Robert Ballou 134 9. Brady Short 132, 10. Hunter Schuerenberg 130.