No Choke: Darrell Keane Gets First Career Late Model Victory At Stafford

Darrell Keane celebrates his first career Late Model victory at Stafford Speedway Friday (Photo: Jim DuPont)

STAFFORD – On April 29 on the big stage of the NAPA Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway, Darrell Keane looked on the way to his first win at the historic track, as he dominated most of the 30-lap Late Model feature.

Most being the key word in that sentence.

On lap 29 Keane bobbled enough in turn two to give up the lead to Glen Reen and eventually settled for a fourth place finish.

“I choked,” Keane said. “Plain and simple. I was a lap and a half away from winning the Spring Sizzler. For a rookie that was huge.”

Friday at Stafford the Late Model division rookie from Enfield got his chance to make up for the mistake of opening weekend.

Keane inherited the lead on lap 20 and then held off the charges of Tyler Leary over the closing laps to win the 30-lap Late Model feature Friday at Stafford.

“Tonight was redemption,” Keane said.

Though redemption didn’t come with some moments of trepidation over the final mile.

“I saw the [signal for two laps to go] and I said ‘Let’s not make this mistake again.’” Keane said. “Tyler behind us, he’s no slouch. That was hard fought.”

Leary, of Hatfield, ended up second and Michael Wray of Northford was third.

“This is surreal for me,” Keane said. “It really is. My family has been coming here since I was a baby. My parents came here for their honeymoon for the first Spring Sizzler.

Keane dedicated the victory to his father John, who passed away last August.

“This has been a dream of his and mine to come here and race and to win,” Keane said. “And it tears me apart that he’s not here. But he must have been upstairs helping me out tonight.”

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