Talladega: Darnell post qualifying interview

Erik Darnell, driver of the No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150, qualified third for tomorrow's Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. He spoke about his run and other issues in the infield media center. ERIK DARNELL -- No. 99 ...

Erik Darnell, driver of the No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150, qualified third for tomorrow's Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. He spoke about his run and other issues in the infield media center.

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

"I think we knew from practice yesterday that we were gonna have a pretty decent run in qualifying. We focused primarily on getting the truck to run well in the draft yesterday, which I think we accomplished. I really thought we'd run a little bit faster today than what we did based on what we did yesterday in practice, but it's still a pretty good lap and we'll be starting up toward the front and, hopefully, will be able to stay up there for the whole race."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON JACQUES VILLENEUVE AND THE OTHER ROOKIES IN THIS RACE TOMORROW?

"Just like a lot of those drivers who haven't competed here before, they did get to compete at Daytona, so they've got an idea of how the draft works and how these trucks work in the draft. I know there are some of the guys out there that haven't, but going off practice yesterday, a lot of those guys got a feel for it. It'll be a little more intense in the race. It's gonna be pretty wild out there, I think, but going off of practice and what these got to run earlier this year, I think they'll be alright."

DO YOU EXPECT MORE PROBLEMS AT A TRACK LIKE THIS?

"I definitely think you can expect more, I guess you could say, problems on the track. You've got to really be focused out there and be on your toes just because things happen in a hurry. On some of these mile-and-a-half tracks and these other places we go to, you get kind of strung out and you kind of get to race the race track, whereas here you've always got 35 other guys around you. You definitely have to stay focused and keep with it, so you do come into the races with a little different mindset than you would at one of those other places. At the same time, we're all out there to try to win that race and I think when it gets down to the last lap, like we saw last year, those guys are gonna go for it."

IF YOU WERE MAKING YOUR FIRST CUP START, WOULD YOU PREFER TO DO IT ON A SHORT TRACK, INTERMEDIATE TRACK OR SUPERSPEEDWAY LIKE THIS?

"I'd probably do a short track, especially for someone like myself who comes from a short-track racing background doing late models. It would just be something I'd be a lot more comfortable with. Not having a feel for those cars, not knowing what they're gonna do -- the horsepower and all that -- I'd rather go to a short-track before I came to some place like this. Even after the short-track, I'd probably rather go to a mile track or an intermediate before I had to come here. This is a totally different type of thing. My second truck series start ever was at Daytona and I ended up finishing sixth. It was a good run for us, but I definitely would like to have some more experience on the short tracks before I jumped in to do this kind of thing."

-credit: ford racing

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Erik Darnell