USAC: Dave Darland wins Turkey Night Grand Prix

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After race leader Damion Gardner lost a wheel with four laps to go, Dave Darland went on to take the checkered flag in the 73rd running of the USAC midgets’ Turkey Night Grand Prix at California’s Perris Auto Speedway.

Starting sixth on the grid, Darland made his way to the front of the field at Lap 50 and was able to hold it through multiple restarts before Gardner took the lead from him at Lap 82.

But with only a handful of circuits to go on the dirt oval, Gardner suffered his misfortune and was forced to replace a left-rear wheel. The lost wheel relegated him to a 12th place finish.

Darland, 47, is now a two-time Turkey Night winner after his 2007 triumph on the pavement at Irwindale Speedway. The list of champions for this USAC midget racing mainstay is an impressive one, boasting names such as Tony Bettenhausen, A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, the late Jason Leffler, and Tony Stewart.

Now, Darland is setting his sights on competing in the ARCA stock car series for its season opener this coming February at Daytona International Speedway. Fans can help him get there by donating to his effort at DaveDarlandRacing.com.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

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“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”