VENTURA, Calif. — A historic winning streak spanning parts of three decades was officially broken on Thursday at Ventura Raceway, as Dave Darland’s quest to score a USAC National victory for the 25th-straight season was thwarted during the 77th annual Turkey Night Grand Prix.
The Indiana veteran bowed out of action on Thanksgiving night after finishing 15th in the second 12-lap qualifier, eliminating him from a chance to advance into the last chance qualifier for the night’s 98-lap main event.
Darland was not eligible for a provisional starting position in the feature, due to the fact that the Keith Ford-owned No. 73T that he entered in for the event had no owner points in USAC competition this year.
As such, after failing to reach victory lane in USAC National Sprint Car, National Midget or Silver Crown competition all season, Darland’s last chance to add another notch to his record ended at that point as well.
Darland earned his initial USAC National feature victory in 1993 at the Tony Hulman Classic in Terre Haute, Ind., and he added at least one feature victory in each of the subsequent 23 seasons, bringing his record number to a total of 24 consecutive years with a USAC National triumph.
He surpassed the record of 21 consecutive years established by A.J. Foyt (1959-1979) and Mel Kenyon (1962-1982) in 2014, when he won at Eldora Speedway during the Don Branson/Jud Larson Classic in April of 2014.
“There are lots of reasons why I’ve been able to put this streak together,” said Darland in 2015. “I had no intentions in 1993 of ever being able to achieve this, but I’ve been fortunate to have quality cars and teams.”
While he will end the season without a USAC National victory, Darland does have a USAC regional win to his credit this season, taking the checkered flag in February during the USAC Southwest Sprint Car Series’ Steve Stroud Memorial at Arizona’s Canyon Speedway.
USAC Media contributed material to this staff report.