Kansas: Erik Darnell preview

* ERIK DARNELL returns to pilot the No. 96 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford Fusion this weekend at the Kansas Speedway for the Price Chopper 400. The start will mark Darnell's third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. * DARNELL AT KANSAS... Darnell...

* ERIK DARNELL returns to pilot the No. 96 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford Fusion this weekend at the Kansas Speedway for the Price Chopper 400. The start will mark Darnell's third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

* DARNELL AT KANSAS... Darnell has made just three starts at Kansas -- all in Truck Series competition. He has one win, one top-five and one top-10 finish at the 1.5-mile track.

* KANSAS WIN... Darnell captured his career-first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Kansas Speedway on April 28, 2007. He beat second place Rick Crawford by a margin of 10.44 seconds.

* LAPS... Darnell has completed 88.2% (442 of 501) of the laps he attempted in Truck Series competition at Kansas and has led 92 laps.

* ON THE TRACK...The No. 96 will sport the colors of Northern Tool + Equipment this weekend at Kansas. This will be the final time NT+E will be the primary sponsor of the No. 96 this season.

* SEVEN RACES IN 2009... Darnell has two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts in 2009 -- Atlanta (started 42nd, finished 30th) and Loudon (started 37th, finished 30th). Kansas will mark the 26-year-old rookie's third career-Cup start. His next race will be Talladega in November where he will sport the colors of Academy Sports + Outdoors.

* DOUBLE DUTY... Darnell will also pilot the No. 6 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kansas on Saturday.

* IMPRESSIVE IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES... In the Nationwide Series, Darnell has 12 starts in 2009, with two top-five and five top-10 finishes -- he has led 20 laps.

Erik Darnell on racing at Kansas Speedway:

"A lot of people assume that all 1.5-mile tracks are the same, but Kansas is a little bit different than a Charlotte or a Texas and definitely different than Atlanta because it's a lot flatter. There seems to be quite a bit of racing room though and that makes it fun as a driver because you have some room to move around with your car. That being said, I am expecting a whole new ballgame in the Cup car. Since the Cup cars handle so different from the Nationwide cars and the trucks, I'm really not sure what to expect. Obviously our setup will be key, if we can get the car to turn well in the center and get back to the gas we should have a solid run."

Crew chief Ben Leslie on racing at Kansas Speedway:

"I'm looking forward to working with Erik again. Considering the small amount of seat time, he has really done a great job in the COT cars. We have been testing and working on a lot of new concepts and look to have a very competitive Northern Tool + Equipment Ford for Erik to drive this weekend at Kansas."

-credit: yr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rick Crawford , Erik Darnell