Faas #1 in Focuses; Championships to Coons, Kaplan & Skoglund
Irwindale, CA — “The car was absolutely perfect from start to finish,” said Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. in victory lane Thursday night after winning the 67th “Turkey Night Grand Prix” at Irwindale Speedway. Darland passed pole starter Kody Swanson on lap three and led the final 96 laps of the 98-lap race in his Nine Racing Toyota/Oakley – Performance Racing Industry Beast/Pink Toyota. NASCAR vet Kasey Kahne finished second ahead of Bobby East, Don Basile “Rookie of the Race” winner Mike Murgoitio and Garrett Hansen. “This is a tough race,” added Darland. “It’s a great feeling to beat the best competition anywhere. The only nervous point came when some cars crashed right in front of me. We might have won this race before if It had been 98 laps a few years back.” Darland finished third in 1999 and fourth in 1998. Swanson was the fastest qualifier in a 66-car field, while Ricky Ehrgott and Brad Kuhn won the “qualifying races.” Jerry Coons Jr. and Wilke/Pak Motorsports emerged as National Midget Champion driver and car owner, while Johnny Rodriguez and Mitchell Motorsports grabbed the Western Midget driver and owner titles.
Bobby Santos III of Franklin, Mass. gave Toyota a victory in its USAC Sprint car debut, winning the 40-lap Lucas Oil Western Sprint car feature in his Western Speed Racing TRD/K & N Filters Eagle. Santos trailed Cole Whitt fo 31 laps, then led the last nine to beat Whitt, Tony Hunt, fast qualifier Nick Greenand 2007 series champion Ryan Kaplan. The series car owner title went to Michael Swanson.