By BRETT BOWMAN For the Pharos-Tribune
---- — KOKOMO — An hour before the cars even took to the track Sunday night at the Kokomo Speedway, Wes McIntyre was talking about how much he missed not racing at track the previous week. Just a few hours later, the McCordsville driver left with a $3,000 check after claiming the annual Darland Memorial, an event to honor the late Bob and Joan Darland.
Unlike his first career win at the track on July 7 in which McIntyre led from green to checkered, he had to show patience and commitment to the top of the track this time.
After leading the opening lap aboard his family owned No. 83, Jerry Coons Jr. slipped by underneath McIntyre on the second lap and held the top spot until McIntyre, pounding off the cushion lap after lap, got by on the high side. The remainder of the race saw no challenge for McIntyre, but plenty of tussling back in the pack.
“I really can’t thank everyone who has been a part of this enough,” said McIntyre. “When I used to come out here and watch, Dave Darland was always my hero. I idolized him. Now to win this race that honors his family, I’m very happy.”
With the win, McIntyre took a huge step towards capturing the season championship at the track with just four points races remaining, including the three-night Sprint Car Smackdown.
“That has been my dream [to win the track championship at Kokomo],” he stated. “I’m not a contender in USAC yet but this is pretty much a USAC show out here each Sunday night. This is by far my favorite track and I’m pretty confident with the team’s chances heading into Smackdown in a few weeks.”
Shane Cottle backed up his solid performance of the previous night at the Lincoln Park Speedway with a second straight runner-up outing. Dave Darland was third, defending track champion Scotty Weir fourth and Robert Ballou, already a three-time winner this season, fifth. Coons was sixth, Chris Windom seventh, Jon Stanbrough eighth, Chris Gurley ninth and Thomas Meseraul 10th.
“The track was real racy out there,” said Dave Darland while presenting McIntyre with the Darland Memorial trophy. “And you have to take your hat off to him, he drove the [heck] out of the car. He did a good job.”