CONCORD, N.C. -- Two of the Roush Fenway Racing Craftsman Truck Series teams spent two days testing at the newly repaved Darlington Raceway on April 8-9. Erik Darnell was fastest for Roush Fenway in his No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150, while Travis Kvapil and Bobby East split driving time in the No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150.
“I believe our test went really well,” Darnell said. “We took a brand new truck that we plan on racing at Lowe’s and Dover next month, and we spent a lot of our time comparing it to what we have been racing. We learned a lot in two full days of testing and I really liked the new truck. Darlington is such a cool track, especially with the new pavement. I hope we get to race there again some day soon.”
Darnell’s crew chief, Matt Puccia, echoed his driver’s opinion. “The new pavement at Darlington is really fast and has a lot of grip. Instead of the tires falling off after two laps like they used to there, we ran our fastest lap of the day on 100-lap tires. The things we learned there will benefit us at many of the fast, banked tracks like Lowe’s.”
Kvapil tested the Zaxby’s Ford F-150 on Tuesday before he left for the Sprint Cup race in Phoenix, and East took the wheel late Tuesday and all day Wednesday to prepare for his upcoming race at Kansas Speedway. Kvapil tested a brand new truck that he will race at Lowe’s next month, while East tested chassis RK-33, the same truck Kvapil raced at Atlanta last month.
“The biggest things for me were that we were able to work on some of the set-up changes I like in a truck, and Chad (Norris, crew chief) and I were able to work on our communication,” said East. “That Zaxby’s truck was probably the best stock car/truck I’ve ever driven. I made about 200 laps between the two days so it was good to get the laps in and get familiar with Chad and the truck before Kansas. The truck I tested will be my backup at Kansas since my primary wasn’t quite ready to go.
“I had never been to Darlington before Tuesday,” East continued. “I had only seen it on television and that place is amazing. There is so much history, and the new pavement was a lot of fun to test on. I didn’t get a stripe since I was trying to be a little cautious with the truck, but I’d love to go back and race there.”
“I’m really pleased with how our test went with both Travis and Bobby,” Norris said. “Travis was fast in his new truck, and Bobby did a great job too. He ran very competitive times compared to Travis, and he’d never been there before. I’m looking forward to Kansas in a few weeks and the things we learned in Darlington will play a big role in our success there.”
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to action on Saturday, April 26 at Kansas Speedway. Darnell, the defending race winner, hopes to repeat last year’s performance while his Roush Fenway teammates East and Colin Braun hope to become first-time winners themselves.
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, Kvapil, Bobby East and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.