Erik Darnell Finishes Second at Memphis

Crawford and East Post Top-10 Finishes

Erik Darnell, driver of the No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150 was the top finishing Ford during Saturday night’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Memphis Motorsports Park. Rick Crawford and Bobby East both finished in the top-10.

ERIK DARNELL – No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150 – (finished 2nd, qualified 4th) – 

“Overall, it was a real good night for our Northern Tool + Equipment Ford.  Second is nothing to frown about. I was really hoping to pick up the win tonight.  But Matt Puccia and all the guys on pit road did a great job with adjustments tonight. My buddy Jason is riding along with me tonight.  Ron [Hornaday] is a real good friend of mine and if I got to him, I wasn’t going to hit him.  He’s always run me very clean and I think maybe two more laps and we would have been able to get to him.  He was just better on the restart and we were better on the long run.”

YOU SAID SECOND PLACE IS A GOOD NIGHT OVERALL, BUT GETTING SO CLOSE TO THE WIN, DOES THAT HURT TOO? “It’s frustrating.  This is my second second-place finish in three starts here. So, we’ve been really close here before and I’ve always had good runs. We’re getting disappointed with these, fourth place finish last week and second this week.  We’ve got some good momentum behind us and we’ve been running pretty well. Second is frustrating, I would have liked to have got the win, but it was a good night for us.”

WHAT WAS YOUR RUN LIKE TONIGHT? “We did have a really good truck, Matt Puccia and the guys on this Northern Tool + Equipment Ford gave me a really great truck tonight. Matt made the right adjustments on the pit stops and we were able to work our way towards the front. Ron was just a little bit better than we were on the restarts. After five or six laps, I think were about equal and started catching him on the long runs, but he was better on the restarts and that made the difference at the end.  My buddy Jason was riding along with me tonight and I really wanted to pick up the win.  Me and him were both really good friends with Ron, so if we didn’t win it, I’m glad to see him win.  We’ve been running strong. We’re going to get another one of these pretty soon here.”

THE MOMENTUM HAS BEEN STRONG, HAVING TWO WEEKS OFF IS THIS A BAD TIME FOR YOU GUYS? “Yeah, any time you’re out of the truck is a bad time.  I like to stay and race every week, especially with the way we’ve been running strong. We’re bringing the truck that we won with [at Michigan] to Kentucky in a couple weeks.”

ERIK DARNELL PRESS CONFERENCE

ERIK DARNELL – No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150 – (finished 2nd, qualified 4th) –

TELL US HOW YOUR RACE WENT. “Overall, it was a pretty good night for our Northern Tool + Equipment Ford.  Matt Puccia and all the guys did a great job getting the thing good in practice.  We qualified well and for the most part we’re able to keep it up front most of the night.  I think we made the right calls on pit stops and adjustments throughout the night. We just missed it just a little bit there at the end. We were good on the long run but Ron was better than us right after the restart.  He was able to drive away for a couple of laps. After six or seven laps we kind of equalized and I could start running him back down a little bit.  But I knew that green-white-checkered was going to be tough just because Ron had been good on the restarts all night and he got away from us a little bit.  We tried to make it exciting.  I’m real good friends with Ron and if we didn’t get the win, I was glad to see him pick it up.”

DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAD ANYTHING FOR HIM ON THE LAST RESTART OR WERE YOU MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE GUYS BEHIND YOU? “Yeah, Matt [Crafton] was good and Rick [Crawford] had been good too.  I knew Ron was going to be good on the start and I was trying to just get a good enough start to keep those guys behind me.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to get close to Ron, he had been good all night and the last couple of restarts before that. I was just doing all I could do to keep those guys behind me and try to keep him [Hornaday] in my sights.”

ERIK DARNELL (continued) – THIS IS A SOLID RUN FOR YOU AND YOU SAID YOU WERE DISAPPOINTED ON THE RADIO.  HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE OVERALL PERFORMANCE OF YOUR TRUCK? “The trucks have been good all year.  There have been a couple of places where we should have had top-five runs and either got wrecked or blew tires or whatever.  We’ve been strong all year.  We just don’t have all the finishes to show for it. These last couple of weeks though, we’ve really been able to put everything together.  We’ve had some luck on our side and we’ve been able to roll with it.  Matt and all the guys back in the shop and have been working their butts off to get good trucks put together and I think it’s been showing since that win in Michigan. We’ve been on a pretty good roll and we’re looking to keep it up.” 

YOU’RE PUTTING RESULTS TOGETHER, THAT’S GOT TO FEEL GOOD. “It feels great.  Like I said, we’ve had good runs throughout the year, we just don’t have all the finishes to show for it and we just haven’t had any luck on our side. Now that I think we’ve finally got that going, it’s built some confidence in me and in the team. We’ve been able to really get some momentum going here.  Pit stops have been good.  We’ve been catching breaks out on the track, cautions have been falling our way and everything has been going the way we need it to and because of that we’ve been able to put together top-five runs and that’s just what we need to do throughout the rest of the year to be in this championship hunt.”

RICK CRAWFORD – No. 14 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford F-150 – (finished 4th, qualified 7th) – “We’re built Ford tough.  I heard some news over the week that Dan Davis of Ford Motor Company, Ford Racing is not going to be around after August 1st.  I’d just like to let everybody know for the past seven or eight years, Ford Racing wouldn’t be where it is without Dan Davis.  We’re built Ford tough and everybody needs to drive one.  This Ford Power Stroke Diesel performed excellent under the hood with Roush Yates horsepower. My hat is really off to ‘Cowboy’ Starland for the set up that he put in it.  We were having trouble last night in final practice and he told me not to worry about it and I didn’t and it was really nice to get it up into the top five.”

MORE ON THE RACE.  “I think it was a great night for the Circle Bar Race team, Kevin Starland and Ford Power Stroke Diesel F-150. Everybody needs to drive one.  It is a fun truck to drive.  It’s a tough race track.  Congratulations to Ron Hornaday, he had us beat all night long.  We just missed it there towards the end.  We held on to it and come up with a top-five finish for Ford Motor Company.  I’d like to say ‘Hello’ to Dan Davis and everybody here from Ford Motor Company and Ford Power Stroke Diesel.  It think it was a great night for us and I really appreciate it.” 

DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR THE GUYS IN FRONT OF YOU? “There’s a couple of marks on the 88.  We got him down in turn one and turn two.  My truck wanted to run where his was.  He fought for his position and I fought for my position.  It was a good points night for us.  I hate what happened to Johnny [Benson] but it was a good points night for us and that’s what it’s going to take to win the championship and looking out for the big picture.  It was a great competitive night. We raced and finished in the top five and it was a good strong night for the F-150.  It makes you feel real good.”

BOBBY EAST – No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150 – (finished 8th, qualified 2nd) – “The Zaxby’s Ford F-150 was great. We made a couple of key adjustments after the final practice yesterday, which Chad Norris is just great at.  He brings great trucks to the track and we had a good truck. I’m happy for everybody on the team.  Another top-10 finish is good for us.  I would really have liked to have a top-five finish. ”  YOU’RE A SHORT-TRACK RACING DRIVER, IS THIS YOUR TYPE OF TRACK? “A little bit.  These guys in the truck series just came off of racing a short track and this is my first one all year.  I was a little worried about that going into it.  I’ve had a few races here at Memphis. This was the last short track I ran in a stock car.  It was a good night.” YOU WERE RUNNING IN THE TOP FIVE AND GOT PUSHED OUT OF THE WAY. WHAT HAPPENED? “We weren’t as good as the 11 at that point in the race.  I was trying to keep him behind me.  Hopefully his tires would get hot, but it was just hard racing out there.”

COLIN BRAUN – No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150 – (finished 29th, qualified 12th) – YOU HAD A SOLID RUN WITH AT LEAST A TOP-10 FINISH, WHAT HAPPENED? “My crew chief Mike Beam had a really great strategy for us. We fell back early at the start and Con-way Freight Ford F-150 wasn’t driving that good and we really couldn’t get it to turn.  We got caught back in traffic and feel back there a little bit.  We kind of fought brake problems throughout the race there a little bit. Mike had some great strategy there to get us back, kind of back in the front which we didn’t think was going to work out but luckily the cautions fell our way.  Then it worked out when everybody pitted again and we were still up front.  I thought we were going to be okay there.  I thought we were catching the 09 a bit, then I’m not sure what happened with Bobby [East] and the lap-down truck but they both spun in front of me and I tried to check back up and avoid running into them and spun myself.  We got back going after that, came back out and were seventh or eighth.  We were out and Skinner got up underneath of us and came off the corner and slid up.  I guess it was one of those racing deals.  We hit the wall pretty good there and knocked the whole right side in and the guys had to work on it.”

KEVEN WOOD – No. 21 Air Force Ford F-150 – (finished 30th, qualified 31st) – “I saw the 59 truck spinning and went up high, so I went low. Then I saw him come down and then my hood was folded in half with no place to go.  I was in the back in the 15 and had help from the rear and I think he had help in the rear too getting into the back of me.  It was one of those things. We were good at the beginning then I don’t what happened after our first pit stop, but we tried to make adjustments to free it up, but it just got tighter and tighter.  I don’t know if the temperature dropped a little bit more dramatic than we thought, or what, but that’s how it goes.  I’ve got to thank my team, crew chief John Monsam for all the hard work they put into this Air Force Ford F-150.”