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 Press Release

Darland Collects Fist Full of Sprint Bandits TNT Dollars in Husker Nationals!

Lonnie Wheatley, GREENWOOD, Neb. (August 12, 2008) – For the second year in a row, Indiana's Dave Darland left Nebraska Raceway Park's I-80 Speedway with a fistful of two-dollar bills.

Two thousand of them to be exact, as he collected the $4,000 winner's share by topping the second round of the Fourth Annual O'Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour 'N Topless Midwest Swing in Tuesday night's 30-lap Husker Nationals main event.

Darland fought off Brady Bacon much of the way, then survived a late restart to take the checkered flag in front of Damion Gardner, Robert Ballou, 13th-starter Darren Hagen and Charles Davis, Jr.

Darland did more than "survive" the final caution that set up a three-lap dash to the checkered flag, as he checked out to take the checkered flag aboard Scott Benic's Gaerte-powered RWB No. 2b Maxim with a 0.852-second advantage to claim Husker Nationals honors for the second year in a row, delivering car owner Benic his sixth career TNT feature win in the process.

"That was a lot of fun," Darland exclaimed after his fifth overall victory in the past eight nights. "In one and two the top was the way to go, and in turns three and four the bottom was the quickest. I kept seeing a nose under me from time to time so I knew I had to keep hustling."

Darland earned the front row outside starting position for the main event, but it was Oklahoma's Brady Bacon outdueling Darland for the point on the opening round from the pole position in Mike and Megan Eubanks' Tel-Star Communications No. 99 Triple-X.

Bacon's lead was short-lived however, as Darland slid in front to take command upon the completion of the third lap. Darland was unable to shake Bacon though, with the young shoe keeping the pressure on as Gardner and Ballou battled for position close behind with Jesse Hockett next in the chase as the top five separated themselves from the field.

Working through heavy traffic, Darland cleared a group of cars on the 20th lap to break away from his chasers. And when the race's first caution flew on the 24th lap, Darland had already lapped up to ninth place and had a cushion of three lapped cars between himself and Bacon with another pair of lapped machines between Bacon and the battling duo of Ballou and Gardner.

As Darland took off on the restart, Bacon's mount stumbled and he pulled pitside moments later with fuel pickup problems.

On the move was Gardner, who blasted past Ballou and then cleared the five lapped cars before the red flag flew after 27 laps for Mike Leslie's turn four tumble. Leslie walked away uninjured.

While Gardner restarted on Darland's tailtank, he was no match this time as Darland breezed to victory lane. Gardner settled for runner-up honors in the Pace Lighting/Team ASE No. 71 Beast, with Ballou taking show honors in the MPHG Promotions No. 81 Maxim.

Darren Hagen raced from 13th to snare fourth in the Trucker's 24-Hour Road Service No. 10 DRC, with Charles Davis, Jr., climbing a handful of positions to round out the top five in Mark Swanson's No. 21s.

Casey Shuman crossed the stripe sixth, with Hockett, Cory Kruseman and Chris Windom the final cars on the lead lap. Gary Taylor climbed from 21st to complete the top ten.

Bret Mellenberndt, Darland and Shuman topped heat race action with Gardner, Ballou and Darland victorious in the qualifying races.

The Fourth Annual O'Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour 'N Topless Midwest Swing moves on to Oklahoma City's State Fair Speedway on Wednesday night, with ensuing stops at Creek County Speedway near Tulsa (Thursday) and then Kansas City's Lakeside Speedway (Friday and Saturday).

O’Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour ‘N Topless I-80 Speedway Husker Nationals Results:

Heat Races:

First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 97-Bret Mellenberndt, 2. 10T-Thomas Meseraull, 3. 75-Jesse Hockett, 4. 17-Chris Windom, 5. 76-Mike Leslie, 6. 14-Coleman Gulick, 7. 71x-Robert Bell, 8. 83-Tim Kaeding.

Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 2b-Dave Darland, 2. 99-Brady Bacon, 3. 71-Damion Gardner, 4. 81-Robert Ballou, 5. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 6. 71k-Alex Schutte, 7. 77-John Klabunde.

Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 32-Casey Shuman, 2. 15-R.J. Johnson, 3. 1-Levi Jones, 4. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr., 5. 10-Darren Hagen, 6. 5*-Gary Taylor, 7. 41k-Henry Clarke.

Qualifying Races: 

First Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 71-Damion Gardner, 2. 99-Brady Bacon, 3. 10-Darren Hagen, 4. 10T-Thomas Meseraull, 5. 15-R.J. Johnson, 6. 83-Tim Kaeding, 7. 76-Mike Leslie, 8. 71x-Robert Bell.

Second Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 81-Robert Ballou, 2. 75-Jesse Hockett, 3. 1-Levi Jones, 4. 71k-Alex Schutte, 5. 32-Casey Shuman, 6. 14-Coleman Gulick, 7. 77-John Klabunde.

Third Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 2b-Dave Darland, 2. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr., 3. 17-Chris Windom, 4. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 5. 41k-Henry Clarke, 6. 97-Bret Mellenberndt. DNS: 5*-Gary Taylor.

O'Reilly Sprint Bandits I-80 Speedway Husker Nationals "A" Main

“A” Main (30 Laps): 1. 2b-Dave Darland, 2. 71-Damion Gardner, 3. 81-Robert Ballou, 4. 10-Darren Hagen, 5. 21-Charles Davis, Jr., 6. 32-Casey Shuman, 7. 75-Jesse Hockett, 8. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 9. 17-Chris Windom, 10. 5*-Gary Taylor, 11. 15-R.J. Johnson, 12. 10T-Thomas Meseraull, 13. 1-Levi Jones, 14. 97-Bret Mellenberndt, 15. 71k-Alex Schutte, 16. 14-Coleman Gulick, 17. 41k-Henry Clarke, 18. 71x-Robert Bell, 19. 83-Tim Kaeding, 20. 76-Mike Leslie, 21. 99-Brady Bacon, 22. 77-John Klabunde.

Lap Leaders: Brady Bacon 1-2, Dave Darland 3-30. 

O'Reilly Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing Points (Top 15): 1. Dave Darland 296, 2. Robert Ballou 294, 3. Casey Shuman 282, 4. Darren Hagen 280, 5. Gary Taylor 270, 6. (tie) Damion Gardner, Levi Jones and Jesse Hockett 266, 9. Thomas Meseraull 260, 10. Cory Kruseman 256, 11. R.J. Johnson 252, 12. Coleman Gulick 246, 13. Tim Kaeding 238, 14. Bret Mellenberndt 234, 15. Henry Clarke 232.






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