Darnell, Ragan Enjoying Life in the Fast Lane CONCORD, NC -- Since Erik Darnell, driver of the No. 99 Ford F-150 and David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 Scotts Miracle-Gro and No. 50 Ford F-150's, joined the Roush Racing stable at the beginning of...
Darnell, Ragan Enjoying Life in the Fast Lane
CONCORD, NC -- Since Erik Darnell, driver of the No. 99 Ford F-150 and David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 Scotts Miracle-Gro and No. 50 Ford F-150's, joined the Roush Racing stable at the beginning of 2006, both have learned the importance and demands of running a full-time NASCAR schedule. While both have competed in various racing divisions over the last several years, the jump to the "big leagues" with one of the top teams in motorsports has given them more hectic schedules, but afforded them opportunities above and beyond their initial expectations.
"I've got to say, the past few months have been a lot of fun," said Darnell. "This is the first time I've had to spend time really working with sponsors and going to appearances. Sure, we had people who helped us out along the way with the ARCA cars and late models and all, but this is a much bigger deal now. Coming in, I really had a different attitude, because I didn't fully understand what I'd be getting into. I guess I just thought that things would be so different than they are. Maybe it was going into the unknown that had me feeling a little nervous or tense. Over the last few weeks, I've hung out with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, flown to various appearances on chartered planes, driven some pretty cool Roush Mustangs, and traveled to places I've never been before. I've really enjoyed these opportunities, and I've had a great time meeting the fans and the people that support these deals. It's really been a lot of fun, and I'm glad I'm in a position to be able to participate in these kind of things."
For Ragan, getting thrown into the spotlight as Mark Martin's teammate and co-driver of the No. 6 Scotts Miracle-Gro Ford was hard to prepare for. Coming off a successful season in ARCA competition, Ragan was selected by Martin to balance out the schedule where NEXTEL Cup conflicts would keep Martin from competing. When Roush Racing announced it would run the No. 50 F-150 full-time, Ragan would compete in the schedule's remaining 23 races.
"Obviously this year has been huge for me," said Ragan. "I'm in a position I think anyone would be envious of. To have someone like Mark Martin offer you the opportunity that I was given, it's just unreal. I've learned so much from him, and these are things that will help me tremendously in my career. Mark's such a respected guy, and I have made it a point to follow in his footsteps because when I'm at the point in my career where he is now, I want to be viewed in the same light."
While the 2006 season is only six races old, Darnell and Ragan head to Mansfield, OH this weekend quickly learning and understanding the schedules and demands of their veteran counterparts. Competing this Saturday just hours away from the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company corporate headquarters in Marysville, OH, both drivers will be busy making appearances at and away from the track. "It adds some pressure for sure," said Ragan. "This is the closest we race to the Scotts headquarters so there will be lots of our team members there from corporate headquarters cheering on not just the No. 6 Ford, but the No. 99 Ford as well. I'm looking forward to it though, it's great to know you have so many people behind you supporting the effort that you've been working your whole life to achieve."
Spoken like someone who is quickly catching on.