INDIANAPOLIS — National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Dave Darland was hospitalized Friday night after suffering what his family characterized as “a mild stroke.”
Darland, who was on his way to Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway to compete in a non-winged 410 sprint car, was suffering some mild confusion before being found by his family in Indianapolis, according to a post on Darland’s official social media accounts made by his son, Trenton.
The 54-year-old native of Kokomo, Ind., was taken to an Indianapolis-area hospital for observation and other tests. SPEED SPORT confirmed with Darland’s family Saturday that he is stable in the hospital.
“The ER doctor did a CT scan of his [Dave Darland’s] brain Friday night and determined that a small blood clot had traveled from his heart to deep in the middle of his brain,” Trenton Darland wrote. “He has no outward signs of a stroke but does have some confusion. … He was his usual self this morning, gulped down his breakfast and, of course, wants to go home.
“When we met with the neurologist, he was pleased with dad’s improvements,” the younger Darland continued. “He still has a little stumbling of words and [trouble with] memory, but the doctors say that he should continue to improve daily. We’re thankful we found him in time and got immediate care for him. … At this time, we just ask for continued prayers for a quick recovery.”
Trenton Darland expects his father to remain hospitalized for “another day or so” before being released to continue his recovery at home.
Dave Darland is one of the most accomplished open-wheel, short-track drivers in history.
He’s a USAC Triple Crown champion, having won the 1997 USAC Silver Crown Series title, the 1999 USAC National Sprint Car Series title and two USAC National Midget Series championships in 2001 and ’02.
His major race wins include victories in the Turkey Night Grand Prix, three triumphs in the Budweiser Oval Nationals at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway, and the Bob Darland Memorial, a race held in honor of Darland’s late father.
Other honors include four Hoosier Auto Racing Fans Driver of the Year Awards, the 2011 King of Indiana Sprint Series championship, four track titles at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway and three crowns at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind.
Darland was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2017.