USC student from Irmo racing in the big leagues at Darlington

By Rick Henry - bio | email

DARLINGTON, SC (WIS) - It's a big weekend in Darlington at the track "too tough to tame." Friday night, race officials will drop the green flag on the Nationwide race.

One guy we'll be watching closely in the Nationwide race is Danny Efland. The 21-year-old Irmo native is trying to compete against much bigger teams and also find the time to get a college education.

Danny Efland and his father Tom work on Danny's race car in their small Irmo garage. They're the only two full-time employees of Danny Efland Racing.
"No longer do you see teams starting up like we do in our house garage," said Danny. "I'm sure it's crazy, echoed Tom. "Nobody does it this way anymore, but I don't see any other choice he has right now."

Danny competed in 18 Nationwide races in 2008, including his first Darlington appearance. He was hoping to get a full-time ride in 2009 with an established team, but the phone call never came.
So the Eflands decided to start their own team. It's not easy competing with teams that operate with budgets ranging from $2-10 million.

"When he ran half a season, he won about $500,000, so basically we put every dime we win back into it," said Tom. "And we still come up about 50 percent short."

"It's been very difficult, the way we've stepped into the sport," said Danny. "We've done it on very limited funding."

It's been a very busy year for Danny. He's competed in four Nationwide races, Daytona, California, Las Vegas and Texas. Plus he still finds time to take a full course load at USC, majoring in civil engineering.

"School has been very difficult, mainly because I spend a lot of time in the shop, lot of time on the road, lot of time working," said Danny.

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