CONCORD, N.C. (July 16, 2008) - Following a two week break from racing, Erik Darnell is itching to get back on the track and resume his recent surge up the Craftsman Truck Series standings. The driver of the No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150 is hoping the layoff didn’t spoil the wave of momentum the team gained over the past three races. However, Darnell thinks Kentucky Speedway is just the place for the No. 99 team to continue their good fortune come Saturday night at the Built Ford Tough 225.
“Having some time off is always nice, but I would prefer to be on the track every week. You never want time off, especially the way we ended the seven week stretch of racing,” said Darnell.
Darnell is referring to his three outstanding finishes at Michigan, Milwaukee and Memphis. The No.99 Ford F-150 finished no higher than fourth in each of those races, including picking up his first win of the 2008 season at Michigan. The vast improvement over those few weeks showed in the standings as Darnell catapulted five spots in the overall standings to seventh.
Even with the recent time off, Darnell knows for this team to keep the momentum going heading in the second half of the season it begins at Kentucky Speedway. “The way we’ve been running of late, it’s hard not to look ahead, but if we want to stay in the championship chase, we have to take it one race at a time,” added Darnell.
Darnell is hoping the old phrase “third time’s a charm” comes true Saturday night. In 2006, Darnell started the Built Ford Tough 225 from the outside of row three and ended up sticking around in the top-10 for most of day finishing ninth. On the flip side, the 2007 edition can be summed up in one word - disaster. For the second year in a row the No. 99 started from the sixth spot, but a blown tire late in the race halted his bid for another top-10 finish. Darnell ended up 29th.
“Last year’s race was unfortunate because our truck was really good that day. We are bringing the same truck we took to Michigan back in June and we all know how that turned out. This team is poised and ready to go. I’m looking for a lot of good things to come out of this weekend’s race for this Northern Tool + Equipment team,” added Darnell.
A win by Darnell Saturday night would give Roush Fenway Racing three Craftsman Truck Series wins at Kentucky Speedway. Greg Biffle won the event back in 2000, with Carl Edwards celebrating in victory lane three years later.