Daytona: Pole winner interview

Erik Darnell, driver of the No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150 won the Keystone Light Pole Award for Friday night's Chevy Silverado 250 at Daytona International Speedway. This is Darnell's second career pole in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck...

Erik Darnell, driver of the No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150 won the Keystone Light Pole Award for Friday night's Chevy Silverado 250 at Daytona International Speedway. This is Darnell's second career pole in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

ERIK DARNELL - No. 99 Northern Tool +Equipment Ford F-150

TALK ABOUT YOU RUN TONIGHT.

"It was a good lap for our Northern Tool + Equipment Ford. I honestly didn't know if we'd have enough for the pole, there were a couple other guys out there in practice that were pretty quick. But we knew we had a good truck. After being down here for SpeedWeeks and after yesterday and today, we knew our Northern Tool + Equipment Ford was going to be fast, but I didn't know we'd have a shot at the pole. Fortunately for us, we ended up there. I wasn't worried about where we started, but more worried about how the truck was going to race and we've got it handling well in the draft. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow night."

SECOND CAREER POLE FOR YOU, MARK MARTIN CAPTURED THE POLE AT DAYTONA A FEW YEARS AGO. THOSE ARE PRETTY BIG SHOES TO FILL.

"They are, Mark won the pole here and he won the race as well. I know we've got a pretty tough task ahead of us tomorrow night but I'm pretty confident in Matt Puccia [crew chief] and all the guys on the Northern Tool + Equipment team, they put together a really good truck for me and I think that everybody knows that qualifying here has nothing to do with the driver and has everything to do with the vehicle. All the guys back in the shop worked really hard on the truck and put a lot of long hours into it and it really paid off for them tonight. I'm more worried about the race and getting the truck to run well up front in the draft. I think throughout our practice sessions, we were able to accomplish that and hopefully end up in victory lane on Friday night."

ROUSH HAS A LONG HISTORY HERE AT DAYTONA IN THE TRUCK SERIES.

"I definitely like to get the win Friday night and I think we've got a really strong shot at it. If you look at Roush's success over the years at the superspeedway tracks, they've run really well, whether it's here or at Talladega. And Carl [Edwards] won this race and Mark [Martin] won this race, even when we didn't win, we've been running up front. Travis Kvapil almost won this race last year. I know that our team puts some real good trucks underneath me and they've given me the equipment to go out there and win and do my job. It's just kind of up to me to do my job and keep it up front. I think we've really got a shot at the victory."

DID YOU GUYS NEED A SHOT IN THE ARM WITH HOW YOUR SEASON ENDED LAST YEAR? OR WITH THE CUP GUYS AND TODAY?

"Yeah, I don't know if I needed a shot in the arm or not. I think even though they didn't finish where they would have liked in the 125s today, the Roush cars were pretty good through testing on the Cup side and the Busch [Nationwide] cars were bad either and we're always strong with the trucks. I'm just kind of looking forward to putting the end of 2007 behind us, just because we didn't end the year as well as we would have liked. To come out of the box strong here at Daytona it will kick start our 2008 and I'd like to get things started on the right foot."

YOU'VE QUALIFIED WELL HERE IN THE PAST, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE ON THE SUPERSPEEDWAYS AND HOW YOU'VE DEVELOPED AS A DRIVER?

"Everybody at Roush Fenway puts together some good trucks and that just kind of makes my job easier. I've had some good runs over the past two years, whether it was here or Talladega, I just don't have the finishes to show it. I had sixth in my rookie year here. At Talladega we were running third this past year and ended up getting caught in an accident and the same thing kind of, the year before that. We've run very well at these superspeedways and I feel pretty confident in my ability to run in the draft and I think I've gained the respect of some of the veterans like Mike Skinner and Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague and I think that's only going to help me out come race day."

THIS IS YOUR THIRD RACE AT DAYTONA. GIVE US YOUR IMPRESSION ON THE DEPTH OF THE FIELD AND EQUIPMENT.

"The racing and the competition in the truck series is tough and it always has been. I think the field is as strong as it has ever been. Especially with Jack Sprague going over to Kevin Harvick and teaming up with Ron Hornaday, those guys are definitely going to be tough this year with Hornaday being the returning champion. With Johnny Benson and Todd Bodine and all those guys that are always tough. You've got a couple on new rookies coming in that are going to be real fast and they're in good equipment. It's just going to make for a tough season. But we're just going to have to stay on top of our game and I'm confident in our team and our abilities. My crew chief, Matt Puccia, I think we've got everything figured out to get the trucks where I need them to be and those guys are going to give me good pieces week in and week out. Hopefully, we'll be contending for this championship."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague , Erik Darnell