BUSCH: Roush Fenway Racing Darlington/Kentucky preview

Roush Fenway Racing Darlington Raceway, May 11-12 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: Dodge Avenger 500 Saturday May 12 7:00 PM Eastern on FOX/MRN NASCAR Busch Series: Diamond Hill Plywood 200 Friday May 11 8:00 PM Eastern on ESPN2/MRN ARCA REMAX ...

Roush Fenway Racing
Darlington Raceway, May 11-12

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: Dodge Avenger 500
Saturday May 12
7:00 PM Eastern on FOX/MRN

NASCAR Busch Series: Diamond Hill Plywood 200
Friday May 11
8:00 PM Eastern on ESPN2/MRN

ARCA REMAX Series: Buckle-Up Kentucky 150
Saturday May 12
8:00 PM Eastern -- no broadcast

Roush Fenway Racing Fast Facts

* David Ragan spent some time at Darlington Raceway as part of the 2005 "Roush Racing: Driver X" show in a Craftsman Truck.

* This will be Ragan's first NASCAR-sanctioned race at Darlington Raceway.

* Ragan is currently 25th in the Nextel Cup Championship point standings.

* Ragan is currently second in the Nextel Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year race. Juan Pablo Montoya has a three-point lead over Ragan after the completion of Richmond's Jim Stewart 400.

* Darlington will be the fifth Car of Tomorrow race of 2007. Ragan finished 26th, 15th, 41st and 20th in the previous four COT races at Bristol, Martinsville, Phoenix and Richmond respectively.

***

* Greg Biffle has an average running position of 2.519 at Darlington, best of any driver. He also has the fastest green flag speed of any driver at Darlington.

* Biffle has one win and five top-five Busch Series finishes at Darlington Raceway.

* Biffle finished 19th last week at Richmond and currently sits 15th in the point standings, 654 points out of the lead and 81 points out of the top 12.

* This weekend Biffle will run the black and gold Ameriquest paint scheme.

***

* Matt Kenseth's average finish in NEXTEL Cup this season is 8.7, second only to Jeff Gordon.

* Kenseth's average finish in the Car of Tomorrow in four races is 9.0, good enough for fifth best among Cup drivers.

* Kenseth has completed every lap so far in 2007, one of only two drivers to do so (Jeff Gordon).

* Kenseth's third-place finish last year at Darlington Raceway was his first top-five finish at the track in 13 attempts.

* Kenseth's Busch Series record at Darlington is brilliant. In 12 starts he has recorded two victories, eight top fives, 11 top 10s, never finished worse than 12th, and has completed every lap in all 12 races (1764 of 1764).

* Kenseth's average finish at Darlington in the NBS is 4.4, tops among all drivers in the NBS with five or more starts at the 1.366-mile oval, and ranks second among Kenseth's NBS career behind only Pikes Peak (4.0 in two starts).

* Kenseth is ranked fifth in the NBS point standings heading into Darlington despite having started only eight of the series 11 events. Remarkably, Kenseth is ahead of 12 drivers who have started in all 11 NBS races this season.

***

* Jamie McMurray averages a 16.0 starting position and a 16.5 finishing position at Darlington Raceway -- 10th best average finishing position among active drivers with more than six starts.

* In six starts at the 1.366-mile speedway, McMurray has three top-10 finishes; two of those finishes in the top five.

* Pair of Four's -- McMurray's best finishes at Darlington came in Aug. 2003 and Nov. 2004 where he finished fourth.

* Currently, McMurray is 13th in the NEXTEL Cup point standings.

* In 10 starts this season, McMurray has five top-10 finishes and two top fives.

***

* Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Office Depot team moved up to 11th place in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings with 1131 points. 560 points behind the leader, Jeff Gordon

* Crew chief Bob Osborne made his debut atop the pit box at Darlington in the spring of 2004. Since then, Osborne has led Edwards to four wins and nearly 40 top-10 finishes

* In three NNCS starts at Darlington Edwards has two top-10 finishes

* Edwards' best finish at Darlington came in November of 2004 when he finished seventh in the final running of the Southern 500

* The No. 99 Office Depot team will be unloading car RK-474, a brand new Car of Tomorrow

* Office Depot store No. 467 from Lombard, Ill. is the weekly sales winner and will ride along with Edwards this week at Darlington

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series:

David Ragan
Team: No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig
Chassis: Primary: RK-455 Previously ran at Martinsville 2007, finished 15th
    Back-up: RK-449 Previously ran at Bristol 2007, finished 26th

Ragan on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"I spent some time at Darlington in 2005 when I was involved in the Roush Racing Gong Show, but I've never raced there. I've heard it is a pretty wild place so that should make for an exciting night, especially under the lights. I am not too worried about this weekend. I think that our COT program is improving and we have some good cars. The Roush cars always seem to run pretty decent at the track and my teammates have a lot of experience there so I will be turning to them for some input. My goal is to beat our best COT finish of 15th so we'll see how well I do at making that happen."

Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"David had a good run last weekend in Richmond. We have a similar deal coming up this weekend with a COT race at a track that David is not too familiar with. We are taking the car that we raced at Martinsville so it should be pretty decent right off the truck. David is quickly learning how to handle racing for 400 or 500 miles in traffic with some very aggressive competitors around him. He has done a good job of missing a lot of the messes and bringing his car home in one piece. We just have to keep it up and keep moving up in the points."

Greg Biffle
Team: No. 16 Ameriquest Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Pat Tryson
Chassis: RK-452 New car

Biffle on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"I obviously enjoy racing at Darlington. I've had some success there in both the Busch Series and the Cup Series and I hope to continue that this weekend. It will be a whole new challenge this weekend with the Car of Tomorrow but I'm pretty excited about figuring it out. We had the opportunity to participate in the Goodyear tire test at Darlington and I felt really good about the way we were able to get the COT car to perform that day. We're still learning a lot about the new cars but I think that the fact that Darlington is unique and one of the more difficult tracks on the circuit will help level the playing field a little this weekend."

Crew Chief Pat Tryson on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"We're taking a brand new car that we tested at Bristol and Richmond. We were pretty happy with the results at both tests and decided to save this car for the Darlington race. Greg obviously knows how to get around Darlington so it will just be up to us to get the new car's handling to his liking. We have a few things to learn still about the Car of Tomorrow but I think we're making headway every week."

Matt Kenseth
Team: No. 17 DEWALT Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Robbie Reiser
Chassis: RK-473 Brand new, never tested
     RK-457 Last ran Martinsville, Apr. 1 -- finished 10th

Kenseth on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"Darlington is a really cool racetrack. It's unique and challenging and, to me, that makes it a lot of fun to drive. Tire wear is so important there and you're really sliding around more and more as a run goes on, so it's extremely important to get your car to handle there.

"Now, with that being said, it's going to be interesting with the 'COT' there because we really haven't had much luck with the handling on these cars yet. We've been struggling with getting the car to turn through the center without getting it too loose on exit. So, couple that with a place like Darlington and it should be interesting to say the least.

"We're bringing a brand new car this weekend and I honestly don't know what we'll have. But, hopefully we'll continue to improve and make these cars better to where we can start competing for wins again."

Crew Chief Robbie Reiser on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"Darlington should be fun. It's going to be challenging like it always is, but this time there's going to be a certain level of uncertainty going in. But, it's pretty much the same for everybody.

"The bottom line is we've got to get our stuff running better. On race day, our guys have done as good as job as anybody out there, and I think that shows if you watch the race. We really haven't had top-10 cars in the COT races, but we've had excellent pit stops and we're able to make the right adjustments and Matt has done an excellent job to where we've snuck out a few top 10s. That's the good news. The other side to that is our cars aren't performing good enough to consistently run in the top 10 and challenge for wins right now, and that has to change going forward if we're going to contend for the championship this year."

Jamie McMurray
Team: No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Larry Carter
Chassis: RK-471 -- Brand New Chassis
     RK-462 -- Last raced at Martinsville -- April 2007 -- Finished ninth

McMurray on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"I always look forward to racing at Darlington. It's one of the tracks that always comes to mind when people ask what my favorite track is on the circuit. Darlington is a track that you race side-by-side all night long. I think Darlington is a favorite among all the drivers -- it's just one of those tracks were the racing is always good, you go through tires quickly and the history at the track goes back a long way. I won at Darlington a couple years ago in the Busch Series when I was running for Rusty (Wallace) and know how tough the track can be. It's going to be interesting to see how these new cars run at Darlington. The COT's are really tough to turn and now we are throwing in the slick track -- it will be an interesting night, that's for sure.

"After last weekend's misfortune, I know all the guys are looking forward to a good run in Darlington. Hopefully, last week is behind us and we can go out there and run well in our No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion."

Crew Chief Larry Carter on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"The Crown Royal team is taking a brand new car to Darlington this weekend. Our adventure with the 'Car of Tomorrow' has been an up and down run. One week, we think we have a good hold of the car and the following weekend we can't get it to turn. This is the largest track that we have raced the new car and Darlington is known for being a tough track to set up for, however, I think we have a good idea of what we need to make the car handle well for Jamie. I hate that we had a problem last week in Richmond, but I'm proud of the guys on the team. They all rallied together and made the best out of the afternoon. I know how much Jamie enjoys Darlington, so hopefully we can give him a good car to run well with this weekend."

Carl Edwards
Team: No.99 Office Depot Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne
Chassis: RK-474, a brand new car

Edwards on racing at the Darlington Raceway:
"I can't wait to run Darlington this weekend. It is hands down my favorite track on the circuit. The track has a million different characteristics that make it a very cool track to run. The shape of the track is unique -- one end is different than the other, so you have to set the car up for almost two different types of corners. Tire management is also important, you have to set yourself up for the last run of the night. I really can't say enough about racing at Darlington. The Office Depot team has been improving so much over the last few weeks and Bob and the guys are really making a lot of gains with the Car of Tomorrow. I'm really optimistic heading into Darlington."

Crew Chief Bob Osborne on racing at the Darlington Raceway:
"Darlington this weekend is going to be a lot of fun. I know it is track that Carl really enjoys running, so that helps us out a lot. Darlington is a tough track and not only for the driver. You have to be really careful with the set up of the race car. It is such a unique track that getting the handling just right is a tough balance. I am really proud of the guys and the improvements they've made over the last few weeks. Our pit stops have been great and things are starting to come together. We have had consistent points races and I just hope we can come out of Darlington with another solid finish. Right now our goal is to get and keep the Office Depot team the top 10."

NASCAR Busch Series:

David Ragan
Team: No. 6 Discount Tire Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Mike Kelley
Chassis: RK-356 ran at Bristol this year

Ragan on racing in the Busch Series at Darlington Raceway:
"I am anxious to get to Darlington. It is a tough race track that you must be prepared to deal with. If you have good equipment and a solid pit strategy it can be very rewarding.

"I have never competed in a NASCAR sanctioned event at Darlington but my crew chief Mike Kelley has had success their in the past. The Discount Tire team will be focused and prepared for whatever comes our way Friday night. We believe in each other and trust each other to make the right moves during the race". We are 8th in points right now but we need a solid finish to continue to climb in the standings".

Crew Chief Mike Kelley on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"I have a real bad taste in my mouth from last weekend. We were in position for a top-10 finish, maybe a top-five but I gambled at the end of the race and it did not payoff. I had a few goals when I got to Roush Fenway Racing. I wanted to win the Daytona 500, the Bristol night race and Darlington. We lost the closest race in NASCAR history at Darlington in 2003. That place owes me one. We have a great car and a darn good race car driver that craves a win. I think that is a great combination that might lead to something special this weekend. We will try our best to tame that track and come away with a win".

Todd Kluever
Team: No. 16 3M Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Eddie Pardue
Chassis: RK-349 -- last ran at Atlanta where it was damaged and rebuilt

Kluever on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"Darlington is such a cool track. I am so excited that I get the chance to race there again. My first time at Darlington was in 2004 when I was competing in Roush's 'Race for the Ride,' or as most people know it -- the gong show. I won my ride with Roush at Darlington so it's always been one of my favorite tracks and I finally got to race there last year in the Busch Series. It's a very demanding track because it is so fast, so hard on your tires, and there is such a fine line between running the best line up against the wall and actually hitting the wall. I got caught up in someone else's accident last year which ruined our night with a few laps to go, so hopefully this year will be better."

Crew Chief Eddie Pardue on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"Todd really loves Darlington so hopefully we'll have another good run after Greg's (Biffle) top-10 finish in Richmond last week. We're taking the same car we raced at Atlanta, but rebuilt the front end after the accident there. It's one of Todd's cars from last year, but we've done a lot of work to it and it should be a pretty sporty piece."

Matt Kenseth
Team: No.17 Dish Network Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Drew Blickensderfer
Chassis: RK- 346 last ran Atlanta -- finished ninth

Kenseth on racing in the Busch Series at Darlington Raceway:
"Darlington is one of my favorite tracks. I like it because it is a unique track. You really have to have your car handling well to be competitive, especially on old tires. This track tends to wear out tires very fast, so the better your car handles on old tires the better you will be at the end. Drew (Blickensderfer) and the guys have been giving me some great cars lately. Our last three runs together have resulted in a win and two second place finishes. Plus last year we finished second here, so hopefully we can get the car setup right to be there at the end and earn a solid finish."

Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"Darlington always makes for a great race and this Friday night should be no exception. Matt (Kenseth) has a great record here, but just came up short of a win last year--just like last weekend. We are taking chassis 346 to Darlington which is the same car we took to Atlanta. We didn't get the finish we would have liked in Atlanta, but hopefully we can turn that around and get a good finish Friday night."

Carl Edwards
Team: No. 60 Scotts Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Pierre Kuettel (P.K.) Chassis Number: RK- 377 Ran last at Bristol; finished 1st

Edwards on racing in the Busch Series at Darlington Raceway:
"Darlington is by far my favorite track. The 'Lady in Black' has so much history and mystique. Its unique shape always provide for an exciting race. It's just awesome! We took a slight hit in the point standings last week at Richmond, but our Scotts team is a championship caliber team and will stay focused on the big picture. Our goal is to come out of Darlington with a top five, but I am really focused on a win."

Crew Chief Pierre Kuettel (P.K.) on racing at Darlington Raceway:
"We are excited about taking the Scotts Ford Fusion to Darlington Raceway. We had the start of a great qualifying run last year, but didn't quite pull it off. We had the second fastest qualifying lap, but Carl brushed the wall on his second qualifying lap causing some damage. We didn't want to risk starting the race with the damage, so we fixed it and had to start at the back. We worked our way through the field for a very solid eight-place finish. We can't wait to get back there this year and continue on our good qualifying runs and bring home a top five or a victory."

ARCA REMAX Series:

Erik Darnell
Team: No. 99 Simply Wow Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Jeff Campey
Chassis: RK-237, last raced at Kansas where Darnell started 41st and finished second.

Darnell on racing at Kentucky Speedway:
"Last time out in the ARCA car, we nearly pulled off the win. It would be great if we could pick up our first win here at Kentucky this week. This is one of my favorite tracks. I've raced here a bunch in the AutoZone Elite Division and made a truck start here last year. It's a unique racetrack that allows for some great racing. Hopefully our No. 99 Simply Wow Ford can be in contention at the end of the night."

Crew Chief Jeff Campey on racing at Kentucky Speedway:
"Kentucky should be a good track for us. We tested here last week and ran consistently fast times. Erik really likes racing here, and we think we've got a chance to pull off the win this week. We had a little miscue with being late for the tech line and were forced to start from the rear in Kansas, so we put the driver in a hole from the start. We've got the same car this week that we had there, hopefully the result will be one position better."

-credit: rfr

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About this article
Series ARCA , NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Roush Fenway Racing