Las Vegas: Darnell - Saturday media visit

Erik Darnell, driver of the No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150, was second fastest in Saturday's first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series practice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Darnell clocked around the mile-and-a-half oval in 31.746 seconds...

Erik Darnell, driver of the No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150, was second fastest in Saturday's first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series practice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Darnell clocked around the mile-and-a-half oval in 31.746 seconds at 170.1 miles per hour. He talks about racing in Las Vegas and seeks to improve on his fifth place finish from the 2007 race.

ON BEING SECOND FASTEST IN THE FIRST PRACTICE SESSION. "Our Northern Tool + Equipment Ford is pretty good right now. The tires are really hard and we're just kind of skating around out there until we got a couple of laps on them. But, once we got to that point, we were able to make some changes on the truck and get it turning pretty good. Matt Puccia [crew chief] and all the guys are doing a good job. We were second quick, but I think there's definitely room for improvement and you're going to see that in the second practice."

YOU HAVE A NEW LOOK TO YOUR TRUCK THIS WEEKEND. "Yes we do, we've got a new paint scheme on board this week. Northern Tool + Equipment had a Paint My Ride promotion where they had a contest on their website where fans submitted paint schemes for truck. Then the one they liked the best won the grand prize. Northern Tool + Equipment flew Tracy Hutchens out here for the weekend and he gets to come to the track and come hang out in the pits for the race tonight and stay in Las Vegas and have a good time. It's a pretty cool deal to see his paint scheme on the truck."

SEVERAL OF THE LAS VEGAS RACES HAVE BEEN WON FROM THE POLE. YOUR TEAMMATE, TRAVIS KVAPIL, DID IT LAST YEAR. HAVE YOU TALKED TO HIM ABOUT WINNING HERE? "I haven't talked to Travis too much about it. This is a different tire than we ran last year and this year we have the tapered spacer to, so it's a completely different deal than what we did last year. We had a really good run last year too. We qualified fifth and finished fifth. Both of us had pretty quick trucks. I might give Travis a call after practice and see what he says."

THE FORECAST CALLS FOR HEAVY WIND. HOW MUCH WILL THAT AFFECT THE TRUCK? "I don't feel any kind of wind at all. I was out here testing the Nationwide Series car earlier this year when they had the open test out here. You can kind of feel the wind a little bit when we were here then, but I didn't notice anything out there today."

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THE TRACK? "It's a fast track. This place is pretty cool now that they've repaved it just because you can run pretty much wherever you want out there on the track. I remember last year the top of the track really came in and if you weren't good on the bottom, you can definitely move up to the top and I did a lot of my passing up there. It's just a fun place to race. It's real quick, real fast and there's a lot of room to move around."

-credit: ford racing

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Erik Darnell