CONCORD, N.C. (May 8, 2008) - The 2008 season started out with a bang for Erik Darnell and the No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford when they captured the pole at Daytona back in February. It ended the following day with Darnell involved in a wreck after leading 45 laps, finishing in 21st place. Since Daytona, Darnell has managed only one top-10 finish (Martinsville) and currently sits 13th in the overall standing after five races. But with seven consecutive races coming up beginning next week in Charlotte, Darnell hopes to turn around his early season misfortunes.
“It has been very frustrating with the way things have gone for us the first part of the season. To know you have a truck that is good enough to win each week and to have the disappointing finishes we’ve had thus far is upsetting. I’m hoping Charlotte is the place where our luck begins to change,” said Darnell.
Darnell knows for the team to get moving in the right direction they need to find some momentum, something they’ve been missing so far this season. He admits though it has been difficult to get anything going because of the way the race schedule is setup during the early part of the season. “It’s hard to put any momentum together when you’ve only raced five times in the last 11 weeks,” said Darnell.
The driver of the No. 99 Ford F-150 isn’t the only one with early season frustrations. Crew chief Matt Puccia believes his team has had a top-five truck or better in every race this season, but misfortunes on the track ended with several poor finishes. “We qualified first at Daytona, had a top-three truck at Atlanta, a top-five truck at Kansas and finished each of those races in the back of the pack. It’s those kinds of races that upset you the most,” said Puccia.
He believes though the team can rebound from its early season misfortunes and will be prepared for the stretch run. “We have done quite a bit of track and wind tunnel testing over the last few weeks. The truck performed very well during those tests and I feel pretty confident heading into the next several races,” added Puccia.
Even though the No. 99 team wishes they were in a better spot in the standings after five races, they know there is still a lot of racing left in the young season. When they look back at 2008, the team can hopefully point to those seven consecutive races and know that is where their racing season turned around.
About Northern Tool + Equipment
Northern Tool + Equipment has been a supplier of high-quality tools and equipment for more than 27 years, selling products through direct mail, the Internet and at nearly 65 retail locations in 11 states. Along with a deep selection of hand, power and air tools, Northern Tool + Equipment carries a wide variety of products, including generators, pressure washers, air compressors, hydraulics, small engines, trailers, water pumps, tractors, welding equipment and much more. Northern Tool + Equipment also serves as the exclusive distributor of NorthStarTM brand equipment, which is fabricated and assembled at the company’s 250,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility. For more information, visit www.northerntool.com.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing operates 13 full-time motorsports teams, five in NASCAR Sprint Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; four in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Travis Kvapil and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.