Lawrenceburg revved up for season-opener

Lawrenceburg Speedway will kick off its 2018 racing season tonight with a visit by the AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series. The series already has completed three events this season, all at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida, last month.

Former Elizabethtown resident Chase Stockon won the opening race of the season, and Indianapolis driver Tyler Courtney won the final two at Ocala in February.

Also racing at Lawrenceburg tonight will be the modifieds and hornets. For more information, call the track at 812-539- 4700 or visit their website, lawrencburgspeedway.com.

Current AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Points Standings: 1. Kevin Thomas Jr. 227; 2.Chris Windom 219; 3. Tyler Courtney; 209 4. Chad Boespflug 182; 5.  C.J. Leary 179; 6. Kyle Cummins-172; 7. Stockon 170; 8. Robert Ballou 170; 9. Justin Grant 168; 10. Carson Short 164.

Darland shoots for 700th USAC start

Veteran USAC sprint-car driver Dave Darland will be shooting for his 700th start in USAC competition tonight at Lawrenceburg Speedway. Darland, 51, also plans to enter the “No-Way Out 40” at Brownstown Speedway on Friday night.

Darland originally is from Lincoln, Indiana. He started racing as a child at the Kokomo Quarter Midget Club. He later moved to sprint cars, winning 100 races in his father Bob’s car. He is one of only six drivers to earn USAC’s Triple Crown by winning championships in Midgets, Sprint Cars and Silver Crown cars.

Other winners are Pancho Carter, Jerry Coons Jr., Tracy Hines, Tony Stewart and JJ Yeley. Darland also is a four-time HARF (Hoosier Auto Racing Fans) Driver of the Year. He has four track championships at Kokomo Speedway. Darland won the USAC National Sprint Car Championship in 1999, the Silver Crown title in 1997 and the midgets title in 2001 and 2002.

Stewart runner-up in Alabama

Tony Stewart made an unexpected visit to North Alabama Speedway in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on March 24. Stewart was racing with USCS 360 Sprint Cars, and he started from the pole position and finished in second place at the end of the feature race.

Stewart will be in action this weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway dirt track located in Fort Worth, Texas, where he again will race with the ASCS 360 Sprints.

Brownstown tries again tonight

Brownstown Speedway will try again to run its first race of the year tonight. On the racing program will be the Indiana Pro Late Models, modifieds, super stocks, pure stocks and hornets.

Coming up next weekend will be two nights of racing at Brownstown. On Friday night will be the 10th annual “No Way Out 40” for 410 non-wing sprint cars. The track has upped the purse from $7,500 to $10,000, making it one if the highest-paying sprint car races in the state of Indiana. Also racing Friday will be late models ($2,000 to win) and modifieds ($1,000 to win).

April 7 will be the Ultimate Battle of the Bluegrass Late Model Series, along with modifieds, pure stocks, super stocks and hornets.

Gates will open at 3 p.m. today, with hot laps at 6 p.m. For more information, call the track at 812-358-5332.

Florence hosts Spring 50 tonight

Florence Speedway in Union, Kentucky, like all the other local dirt tracks in the area, hope to get their first race in when it hosts the 42nd annual Spring 50 for late models, paying $5,000 to win. Also racing will be modifieds, sport mods and hornets. For more info, visit florencespeedway.com.

Twin Cities set for practice run

Twin Cities Raceway Park in Vernon will conduct a special practice session on from noon to 5 p.m. April 8. The first race of the 2018 season will take place on April 14 with 410 non-wing sprints plus crate late models, pure stocks and hornets. For more information on the 2018 schedule, go to twincitiestrack.com.

This week in racing history

Thirty years ago this weekend in 1988, Brownstown Speedway opened its racing with twin features for the late models. In the first feature Jim Curry took the win over Steve Barnett, Roger Long, Ray Guss Jr. and Ernie Barrow. Barnett came back to win the second feature over Bob Pierce, Paul Shafer, Scott Graham and Russ Petro.

Also, at Brownstown, Earl Plessinger won the street stock main over Terry Arthur, Mark Humphrey, Don Hoover and Scott Patman. Ray Hughes won the bomber feature race. Jerry Allman was second, with Rick Graham, Hal Heath and Tim Finch trailing.

At Twin Cities in 1988, the opening night late model feature was won by Ray Godsey over Terry Eaglin, Dill Whittymore, Robert Brison and Lee Fleetwood. Rolla Millspaugh took the top honors in the street stock class over Taulby Donnell, Randy Petro, Danny Redding and Frank Douglas.

Twenty years ago on this weekend in 1998, Brownstown opened its racing season with Tony Izzo Jr. winning the Northern Allstars Late Model Indiana Icebreaker. The next night, Shannon Babb won the Hoosier Dirt Classic main event over Dion Deason, Rick Aukland, Kevin Weaver and Izzo.

Tim Clark won the street stocks feature at Brownstown, followed by Greg Kendall, Rusty Smiley, Trent Niflis and J.D. Francis. Gary Burton won the modifieds main event over Ted Nobbe, Dale Dubois, Mark Wireman and Lee Hobbs.

James Essex writes a motorsports notebook for The Republic. Send comments to sports@therepublic.com.